A few years ago, I started Fresh Ink and, as I got busy with the business part of Ginko, I decided to pull the plug on one of my more favorite parts of why I started this business - the writing and stories behind why I love each little bit of stationery included in our collection.
Somewhere along the way of growing and focusing on the business end of things, I let go of the writing and narration behind what I still find most valuable to what I do. Ginko Papers originated as a wonderful outlet where I've been able to merge my love of Japan, Japanese stationery, and storytelling. Ginko is also a business that works hard to make a profit, sells to retail and wholesale customers, and knows how to navigate the waters of large trade shows.
Ginko started as an only child. There was a short time when it was just the two of us, in a ideal place, taking photos around the house as light rays made perfect backdrops at random times of day. We were a good match of inspiration and hard work, of relaxed artistry and late night data entry. Since then, two children have been born, now five and two, and Ginko has been forced to grow up quickly, take care of itself, and not whine - the human children have seen to that.
It seems I'd just wink at Ginko and she knew what to do. There was no time for chit-chat, rethinking, retooling, and all that stuff. We got into a day-to-day routine of selling, buying, packing, shipping, emailing, and paying the bills. We began to have a nine-to-five relationship. The rest of my time was filled with learning about babies, toddlers, preschool, kindergarden, cooking, clean-up, clean-up related songs, play-dates, parent-and-baby classes, sleepless nights, and all that again when the second child was born. Ginko didn't make me feel guilty very often, but sometimes, when the moment was just silent enough and lingered long enough, I'd look around to see her. She'd ask, "Are you going to blog again or write your product descriptions again or take some new photos? It's getting a bit generic here."
"Yeah," I'd think, "when I have more time."
As I filled up my time, both real and virtual, I didn't see much point in keeping Fresh Ink. I thought it would be more reasonable to shed some undue responsibilities by letting go of the blog. I thought about it as a time guzzler and I didn't think I had much to share anyway. A few regular customers emailed me, letting me know they missed the blog and asking why it had disappeared. "Ginko is taking up a lot of time," I told them, "I had to make room for the kids and other work things." I always got warm and understanding replies in return.
Today, in looking back on that moment, I wonder what has Ginko been without the blog? Wasn't that what all the love, excitement, passion, and start-up gusto was about? Maybe. I'm working on figuring it out and working through the blog towards discovery. Let's hope we connect to that bright-eyed, exuberant feeling together.
Visiting Japan is a stationery fest! Here are some of our favorite things:
New decorative paper tape (yes, we have them in our tape section) and amazing musical birthday cards (coming soon!).
It's been a while since I've given you all an update...but trust me, it's been busy around here! Ginko Papers has been on a roll and I'll share more later. What's more important is, Mina turned TWO!
Our party got rained out. So instead of the park with a bouncer and a playground, we moved it all to the house with people filling every nook and cranny we had to offer. Of course, it's a party, so in the end, it all turned out well!
Here are some photos from the day.
I wanted to share this one with you since you'd seen a similar one when Mina was just born. Here we are, four generations of women in my family.
And here is Mina, having fun in the backyard!
Friday, March 11, 20011, was a long and sad day.
I woke at 6:30am to a few mysterious emails about an earthquake in Japan. I wasn't sure what was happening so I headed to the living room and turned on CNN. Suddenly, I was inundated with images of destruction, devastation, and a horrible reality - Japan had been hit with a huge earthquake and an even more disastrous tsunami.
Since then, we have been in touch with all our friends and business associates and found out that everyone is alive and safe. But all have had some story of personal difficulty. Some have had to stay at work through the week-end, others have had to walk tens of miles to get home while public transportation has been down, and all in Tokyo are experiencing the fresh food shortage.
But one thing everyone has had in common is their resilience and determination to be strong through these times of difficulty. They have all tried to get to work on Monday and been dedicated to their companies and through that, to their country. I have seen a deep strength that is clearer than all the murky mess they are surrounded by.
I have always loved Japan for it's nationalistic pride, organization, and attention to detail. I believe those are the values that will help them rebuild their beautiful country. I believe that the news will soon turn good and we will once again hear stories of happiness and survival.
We are praying for you daily, Japan!
Soon, spring will be blossoming in Japan. I leave you with an image of rebirth and strength.
Ginko Papers will launch our Spring products next week!
There will be new greeting cards, letter sets, postcards, and some special things I've been storing as I've been waiting for the weather to warm.
Kyoto is slowly welcoming Spring as well.
Look at this cherry tree, already full of buds promising a beautiful display of blossoms for April!
Yesterday night we participated in a workshop and demonstration of the Japanese Kadumatsu floral arrangement making.
The event took place at Nibei Foundation and was organized by the Japan Studies Club.
A kadomatsu (literally "gate pine") is a traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year placed in pairs in front of homes to welcome ancestral spirits of the harvest. They are made with bamboo, pine, and seasonal flowers & berries.
Our instructor, Kitajima sensei, of N.K. Nursery, gave us a slide show of his previous work then made three arrangements showing us the traditional and modern ranges of kadomatsu design.
Then it was our turn!
You can see the long table full of supplies for each person to start their own kadomatsu making.
Kitajima sensei was giving tips to all of us and was kind enough to tell us all our arrangements looked great.
Of course, you couldn't go wrong with their perfectly sized flowers and pine branches!
Garo and I each made an arrangement so we have a pair to display on our fireplace mantle.
Here is the final work.
We love Traditional Home magazine!
Not only were we lucky enough to be in the Nov. 201 issue, but we're also just been include din the Feb. 2011 issue. Finally, our favorite product, Japanese Masking Tape, is catching on.
Here is a little demo of masking tape use on the Traditional Home website.
You can see the gift favor boxes in the background are decorated with the orange, green, and candy colored three packs.
It started and we're enjoying every minute.
My sister is here to help me this time - it's nice to have company!
We're done setting up for the first day of the CA Gift Show tomorrow!
Here's a quick look....
Here we are setting up our booth for the Gift Show.
Tomorrow I'll be putting in all the inventory. (Thanks Yasu, Keith and Garo!)