Writer: Sasha Rajak
Q1. Please tell us about Simply Native Japan.
Simply Native Japan is the Australian branch of the Simply Native company in Japan. It has been using Sydney since 2016 as a base to introduce the local products and crafts of artisans in Japan, such as tableware, construction materials, and interior goods.
Q2. Why did you decide on Australia?
We had lived in Melbourne in the past and knew the area well, which was an important point of consideration, but the ultimate deciding factor was the open atmosphere of Australia when it came to accepting new things. We were also interested in what sort of reaction we would receive if we brought handcrafted products to Australia, which is a country that doesn’t really have the image of producing goods itself.
Q3. What are the differences in the needs of Australia and Japan?
The size of products is one aspect, but there are other areas such as the colour scheme, in which Australians prefer bright, more distinct shades. We gladly welcome the contributions of our Japanese artisans, as there is an overwhelming demand from Australia for original products tailored to their individual personal tastes.
Q4. On top of new ventures and target market planning, what other things do you consider to be important?
That would be having a carefully-planned schedule and conducting proper, clear communication. Also, it isn’t as though our stock is ready-made and available in large quantities, so we never lose our focus when dealing with orders, right up until the products are delivered to the customer. Conveying the warmth of the maker to the customer is also something that we value deeply.
Q5. What was the opportunity that led to your participation in the Matsuri-Japan Festival?
Our interest was piqued after receiving an invitation from the Japan Foundation and other business associates. As we will be holding fixed workshops from next year, we realised that participation in the Matsuri would present a good opportunity to promote our services to a wide audience.
Q6. What does ‘Matsuri’ mean to Simply Native Japan?
To us, it means an event held on a sunny day, once a year – an image of a large number of people coming together in a relaxed atmosphere, which is something we are looking forward to even from now.
Q7. What are your plans to develop new products in Australia in the future?
We are focusing on introducing original Simply Native Japan products to Australia, alongside other goods that haven’t yet been unveiled overseas. A recent release would be the launch of the products of a Kyoto-based shop specialising in incense sticks, by the name of ‘Kaorugyokudo’. These products will also be available for exhibition and sale at the Matsuri itself in December.
Q8. What plans do you have to promote Simply Native Japan at the Matsuri?
We will be holding a workshop to share an activity known as ‘JAPAN BLUE’, which is a form of indigo dyeing and is a symbol of Japanese tradition. We will also be selling plant-dyed and plant-made goods.
Q9. Finally, do you have a message for the staff and attendees of the Matsuri?
As is befitting of a festival, we are intending on having a large, green inflatable pool on the day of the Matsuri, which will be a part of the indigo dyeing workshop, and we would like for everyone to have a go! If you have something you want to dye, please bring it along. We would like to demonstrate our appreciation for the organisers of the Matsuri, as they devote a large amount of their time towards this event. As one of the many stallholders, we will be doing our best to provide an enjoyable experience for everyone on the day, so if you have time, please come and pay us a visit!
Information about the Simply Native Japan Workshops at the Matsuri: