January 29, 2019
It's been two weeks since we returned from our trip to Tokyo, and our hearts are still brimming with gratitude and excitement. This trip, made possible by generous grants from the Small Business Administration and the Maine International Trade Center, was a large step for us as our growth into international markets continues to accelerate. As we look forward we can't help but look back and appreciate how far we've come. You don't go from operating out of your basement on Peaks Island to driving the iconic L.L.Bean Bootmobile through the streets of Tokyo without feeling pride and immense gratitude for all those who have helped and supported you this far.
The goals of our trip were simple: meet with our distributors and retailers, collaborate with local designers, and immerse ourselves in Japan's market and culture. On a high level we wanted to increase our motivation and direction for Flowfold's potential presence in international spaces. What we found was much more profound: knowledge that it's possible.
It's possible to be a small Maine company and become an international brand. It's possible to grow your vision and community, if you take some risks, jump outside your comfort zone, and stay genuine to your values. It doesn't matter how you started, where you're based, or how many employees you have. If you stay diligent, utilize what you have, and find support from your community, it's possible get where you want to be.
That's what we did—that's what we do everyday—and we just wanted to share that with you.
Once more, hello from Tokyo!
We can't believe it's already our last day in this wonderful city. We began with the usual lineup of meetings, and then hit the streets to learn about the culture of Tokyo and to do some in-depth sight seeing. Really, we went full on tourist mode. Our partner and good friend "Chico" took us to his favorite places and taught us all about the local culture. The day culminated in a visit to the MORI Digital Art Museum, which has got to be the most magical and trippy place we've ever been in. It was an electrifying and inspiring experience, and motivated much of the video below. Today was all about immersing ourselves in the art and culture fo Tokyo, and soaking up the creative vibe of this city to bring back to Maine with us. John's video strongly reflects that, and it's well worth the watch.
We're sad to leave but excited to return home with new ideas, collaborations to pursue, and much to share with the rest of our team. During our time here we turned business partnerships into collaborative friendships, were inspired over and over again, and reminded ourselves that we create so much more than just durable wallets and ultralight packs. Flowfold is a small community of creatives and dreamers, who (through hard work and support) connect with other communities like ours to design and craft better things for a better planet. Our partners in Japan and beyond share our desire to bring only good, lasting things into this world, through which we connect with places and people, and live a little bit more intentionally. Thanks to all who help us achieve these goals, and thanks to you for supporting us and being a fan!
Ok, monologue over. Enjoy the video, and we'll see you stateside!
It's almost 2:00am here in Japan, and we've just come back from our last meeting of the day. We hit the streets of Tokyo with a local DJ who will be collaborating with us on an upcoming project (that we're SO excited about). Today was insanely busy, so it's pretty fitting that we visited one of the busiest intersections in the world, Shibuya Crossing (upwards of 3000 people at peak times 😳).
Today we met with two of our big retail partners in Japan, Oshman's sporting Goods and A-1 Clothing. More delicious food was consumed, much exploration was done, and we're stoked to share with you another short video of our time here. We've felt so welcomed here and can't wait to continue collaborating with all these amazing people we've met.
Greetings from Tokyo,
Day Two was even busier than Day One. We spent all day with our awesome partners at L.L.Bean Japan, who took us on a tour of Tokyo in the Bean Boot! Today's meals included endless sushi (we tried every kind 🍣) and giant rainbow cotton candy. We continue to be blown away by the warmth with which we've been welcomed.
We've also learned all about the history of L.L.Bean and the outdoor industry in Tokyo. Turns out, there are a lot of similarities to the story of Flowfold. Like L.L.Bean, our expansion into this market was not intentional as much as it was inevitable. In the last century, Japan has seen tremendous growth in our industry, and with a customer base that truly embraces minimalism and waste reduction, it's no surprise that Flowfold feels so at home here.
It's midnight here and we're getting ready for another full day of meetings. We have another video of more behind the scenes footage of our Tokyo adventures! Check it out, and good night!
Hi Flowfold Family,
As most of you know, thanks to the Small Business Administration, we're in Tokyo!
It's been one day and we're already in love with this city. Everyone we have met is incredibly friendly, the atmosphere is lively and breathtaking (especially at night), and the food is amazing. Our first day was full of meetings, discussions about future collabs, more meetings (over ramen 🍜) and explorations around Tokyo. Despite being on our feet all day, we decided to forgo an early bedtime and head back out into the neon lit streets to shoot some more footage and do some more exploring.
But hey, why write about it when we can simply show you? Check out the first video in our Tokyo installment. And stay tuned for more to come!
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