Would you please say "Hello" to south korean young entrepreneurs and your feelings about korea?
Hello, Korean readers.
My feeling toward Korea is only one memory when I visit Soul when I was just 5 years old.
But honestly I don’t remember much.
However, I have met lot of Korean customers in our shops in Japan and some time I met Korean students in my lecture in university. Everyone having my book “naked life” (Korean version) cheered me a lot and said whether we can have shop in Korean very soon or not!
So my image about Korean is always warm and close.
What is your background story before running a company? Any career path? Major?
I graduated Keio University, my major was policy management which I mainly studied international studies and cooperation. When I was senior at University, I was selected as intern in international organization in Washington D.C. During internship I decided to go to Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh, I enrolled BRAC University where my major (Master)was international economics. Since my course was night, I was working in Mitsui Co & Ltd’s Dhaka office which is quite global Japanese trading company where I go to know the real picture of business in Bangladesh.
And When you first started the business, were you expecting that it would become not only your full-time occupation, but a growing company?
No. Not at all. I didn’t imagine at all like opening shop, having lot of staff, doing export and import every month, and establish own factory. These things were beyond my imagination. But I just thought I want to keep continuing my business even it is small scale. And I have been believing keep doing is the only way to create something.
I got impressed about your personality after reading your books published in korea. what makes you powerful, keep motivated and energetic all the time?
I never think I am strong. I never think I am passionate or superwoman. I am just surprised to hear that kind of word from lot of people. I am just doing what I want to do.
Q4. What do you think is the main reason and main point that you could achieve that goals and you could "Getting into real action" not just staying on as a thought?
I never think I did achieve something. Not at all. It is just process and now started.
But if you focus on the things which is existing now like shops, number of customer and growing point, Main reason,,, is people around me helping me always.
My staff, my factory people, my customer, friends etc..
Nothing can be achieved by me. And please note that it is not just humble word, I really do not think that I did something. I really cannot find the reason.
Many young entrepreneurs want to get revenue as soon as they start their business. But in reality it's difficult to generate revenue for the first time and except that, there must be many obstacles stopping your startup business. When was you toughest time in running business in Bangladesh and Japan.
How did you overcome that kind of circumstances? And What stops you from throwing in the towel and giving up during those frustrating days of running your business?
well,, business is just the road to overcome small or big obstacles which is happening every day and every moment. Toughest time is the time when I was forced to leave the factory by landowner and I made factory people feel anxiety about their work and future so much. That’s true because we had to leave the place within 7 days without having 2nd place to work. I was feeling like I was totally disqualified person as CEO.
about the design of your Motherhouse bags, It has been developed and advanced. ㅠI know that in Japan there are so many unique bags and great designers. What makes your bags distinguished from your competitors? and why do you focus on that?
Originality is coming from every point. First point is material. We make original process on the material with experienced Japanese fabric engineer and leather is also made by our own taste.
Second point is design. Nowadays there are lot of copied product which doesn’t have any “Face”. But we do sample making from making pattern. I myself make pattern and immediately make rough sample by myself which is truly strong point which we have.
And finally we focus on the things which can be made in developing country. There are lot of things which developed country has and developing country doesn’t have however there are also things which only developing country can do. For example we are using coconuts button as decoration that was thrown away on the street of Bangladesh.
When you first launch your brand in Japan. It must be hard to PR your company and generate revenue. What has been your most effective marketing strategy? and why do you think like that?
I didn’t study anything about marketing. That’s why I did every trial. I make phone call every where and I visit most of publishing/media companies even though I was made irrelevant always.
But somehow I feel I am at right age. Motherhouse business model itself is totally new to Japanese market and my personal history clicked media people somehow. So I don’t think we could do aggressive PR but request of media interview is tireless.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur? and What is it like to be an young entrepreneur? It may look fascinating. but there must be so many obstacles to overcome, What's the real life as an entrepreneur?
wel… difficult question to me. Because I don’t have any experience of working as office lady or working under somebody so I can’t distinguish how my life is different from others….
But talking about my life, it is just exciting. Change is happening every day and change can be happen by our effort directly.
What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?ㅠ and What advise do you give to people who have a conflict mind whether to get a job or challenge for starting their own business?
Major difference is, entrepreneurs are devoting their life 100% into their own business.
There became no difference between life and work. At least to me.
Advice to those who are wondering about their future, I just can say if you have conflict mind 1%, better not to start.
Would you please advice to korean students(highschool & university) how to spend the time in youth and university life?
Having boy friend/ girl friend is the most important thing maybe! Have a good romantic experience!
Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
I want to expand business more globally. Marketing place shouldn’t be within Japan. We want to have shop in most of developed countries and at same time we want to have production site in not only Bangladesh or Nepal, but also Middle east, Africa and so on in future.
And would you please say the things that you want to say to korean readers especially to future entrepreneurs, which I haven't thought of as questions?
Your questions are excellent! Thank you so much for trying to understanding me and Motherhouse and you really got good points.