Our Japonisme Story

Kawaii in Manila 2 is proudly produced by Japonisme International.

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We are a dynamic team based in Japan and the Philippines. We have produced Japan Lover Me and Kawaii Philippines (and all of the succeeding projects). We support each other’s gigs & areas of expertise! From Rainbowholic, Mimiclaire Sweets, Chisa Andrea, OMGilbert, Little Miss Paintbrush, The Craft of Anne Kate Pinero, Dolly Kaye ( Kawaii D.I.Y.), and so forth..

I would just like to commend my family and team’s efforts. At first, the thought of “producing” a convention in Manila just seemed like a dream. Even if my brother is my brother (whut, haha), I have to “prove” to him that our projects are worthwhile and we won’t go bankrupt, hehe (Lord no pls ahaha). It’s been a year or so since we have started and honestly, we get shocked everyday about the positive response we get from our projects (KIM2, JLM, more)…

I’ll tell you a trivia about our team / company just so you can have a background…

My brother Eric went to Japan 10+ years ago and chased his dreams on his own, without financial support from my family (as we are big-sized). He was quite a rebel, haha. Whenever he would go home to Manila (very rare, since being a working student is tough), he would give me all these (2nd hand and sometimes new) Japanese fashion magazines and other omiyage / souvenir from Japan. At that time, I was only in highschool and Japan felt like a far-fetched dream of mine (you can read the story @ www.story.rainbowholic.me haha). When I went to college / in a private university, it was getting tough and tough in our family. The only means I could help was to stop for a while (half a year), and trust in my brother’s gameplan that I would help him with his website / webshop / etcetera. I have always been a self-taught webdesigner so I took the challenge… at 16/17, I began to make e-commerce websites. I also made a blog for my Dad, and he got some clients after that. I didn’t realize that my pasttime when I was younger would bring food to our table, hehe. I had to help out with whatever means I had.. or else we would sink together..

After that, I went back to univ and my brother started to help me to finance my tuition fees and the like, while he was building his own company in Japan. I was very active in an organization back then.. and I take leadership quite seriously hehe. I would sacrifice and save up my own allowance since my org would demand money for our mini projects (and honestly when you’re the leader of the pack, you should be the one who is most willing to shell out money). I was able to graduate from school, with the help of Kuya (brother) and my parents.

After being blessed with opportunities, it felt like I have to “pass this on” to someone. My younger cousin Gilbert is like a brother to me.. so when I was in Japan and studying Nihongo while juggling work, my brother and I now would help him so that he could finish his studies. And he did. And now, he is in Japan and helping everyone out too. And then my brother finally met Claire nee-chan, who has always been supportive of our projects since then. Her ultimate dream was to study in Le Cordon Bleu Tokyo.. and now, she is one of the most remarkable students And we are all happy for one another.

While all of these were happening, I met ChiChi and discovered her kawaii art on tumblr. From that moment, I knew that this girl, that kind of talent… I thought that the “WORLD” should see more of her art. And so we collaborated, I would commission her.. and later on, because we clicked so much, she agreed to work with me to build JapanLover.me, with another teammate, Mishie. Now, her art is being shared by many pages and she continues to inspire other illustrators and artists. Sometimes her kiddie supporters would cry whenever they get a chance to meet ChiChi #truestory :))

And then ChiChi introduced me to Kaye, who is overflowing with so much talent too. I taught her some basic social media tactics and the rest, she just did everything she could. She updates all JLM / Kawaii.PH accounts (tumblr/instagram/twitter etc.) and sends me a daily & weekly report. When I gave Kaye my sewing machine because hers got broken, she started to sew all these crazy cute dresses, accessories and much more. Now, she helps me with www.kawaii-diy.com and she’s preparing for her first collection in our fashion show in Kawaii in Manila 2. I feel like a proud momma.

I would always mention here that I’m with Anne Kate, haha. I actually became friends with her because of the internet, hehe! She used to be one of my very few readers when I started Rainbowholic blog 3 years ago. I just met her once during a vacation and after that, we would talk to each other in line, and share our dreams together (and we both thought that “wouldn’t it be great to have a kawaii convention in the Philippines??“). Months later, she was so excited about our “Kawaii lifestyle workshop” (together with Reese, ChiChi) that she would juggle the kawaii in manila 1 duties with her used-to office work.. this girl is so persistent and her drive inspires me to do the same! Her expertise is actually industrial design, but she can do almost everything from branding, graphic design, web, illustration and photography. Her ultimate dream is to become a photographer (hi kawaii photographer haha) and we all believe in her she can make it.

Excuse the long narration but I just wanna share our background.. and the “ripple effect” (got this term from Hanna, a sweet reader).

Honestly, we are all different (my brother and I are same and poles apart in many ways) but you could say that in our team, we all have the same vision… and that is, we want to share.

Japonisme started with just a one-man team. Now, there is no “I” in the team.


<3, Kaila


One thought on “Our Japonisme Story

  1. Thank you for sharing your story! It’s great to read that your common interest in Japan connected you and got you all where you are today. It’s great that you got to support your family in return. And that you can bring kawaii to everyone, I think we can all use a little cuteness in our lives :heart:

    P.S. Kaila, thank you very much for linking my emoticons. :yay: I didn’t create all of them though (the wider ones aren’t mine).


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