My meeting with aeru shop manager was special. First, because it was to set the tone of my time in Tokyo, being the first interview I carried out in the capital city after a three-month stay in remote Ogatsu, Miyagi-ken. Second, because it opened the research to “retailers” stakeholders, who have strong relationships with artisans – both commercially and as a corporate culture – and also can provide a marketing and customer-oriented point of view. This was a very refreshing talk, and like every time, thanks to the talents sharing bits and pieces of their personal stories – very moving, too.
About aeru meguro
The store itself contains an iconic item from Japanese culture: the Kaidan-Dansu. It is used to exhibit the products and it also enables modular spaces in the room, when events or workshops are held. “It’s a traditional thing in Japan, because in Japan there is not so much space, we have to use the space inside of the stairs, too”, Erika says. Smart, efficient and aesthetic use of the space: this is design! “The adult can go under the stairs too! It is so high”, Erika adds. So, the promise is about fun for everyone, children and parents, too. Actually, aeru meguro has won a silver prize for its space design in Design For Asia Award.
Loyalty to craftsmanship
aeru carefully selects artisans in order to initiate and maintain partnerships in the long run. Moreover, aeru team members are truly passionate about the objects crafted by the artisans. They understand the value of craftwork and make it their mission to communicate about it to “everyone”. “[Craft works] would enrich my life! So, that’s why I was in love with these traditional things.” And the love story also makes room for… History. “I loved History, and, when I understand about these things, I connected with the past and.. I had more fun!”. Connecting past, present and future for all generations can be fun! It is also the key to support artisans: “if we can buy these objects, the artisans can make a living thanks to their talent”.
The journalism spirit
“During my private time, I go to lots of places to meet artisans”. After these visits, Erika Mori always feels the need to let the world know about the beautiful things she has seen and talented people she has met: “Oh, I want to tell these things to the people”. At aeru, every team member does their job as if they were journalists. “Our knowledge is increasing… and then, we can, well, understand a lot, very deep, so that’s how we can be a journalist!”
This sounds like an oxymoron, but aeru made it come true. One example of that is how aeru team members can teach children about Japanese manners during workshops for instance. “Everyone will tell you that you say “Itadakimasu” to thank the rice and vegetables, as well as the people who made it… and we [at aeru] thought that we didn’t say thank you to the artisans and also to the tableware, so we wanted to add that when saying “Itadakimasu” !”
Many thanks, Erika Mori!
3 Chome-10-50 Kamiosaki, Shinagawa, Tokyo