How This Japanese Female Entrepreneur Succeeded in Designing Her Own Career Path

An Interview with Designer Sachie Suzuki of a Women's Boutique in Tokyo

Right after Sachie Suzuki's eldest child turned 1 in 1991, she launched her boutique in Tokyo. From full-time housewife to launching her own brand, Sachie made a dramatic change.

The reason, you may ask? Well, she was honestly a bit bored as a full-time housewife, sought to be financially independent, and she deeply desired to design unique items.

How Sachie Got Started

Gorgeous Knitting Machine.jpg

To get her business up and running, Sachie received funding from her family. With her family's investment contribution, she opened a small boutique.

However, her early days were thoroughly exhausting and exacerbating. After all, she had a young child, a household to take care of, and now, a brand new business. And since there were no daycares of family members nearby, Sachie had to do everything herself — she could only rely on herself. Often working until the wee hours of the night, she was able to create a sustainable business.

But she knew that she had a knack at finding high-quality yarn and other raw materials for low prices. Most importantly, Sachie wanted to create products that people loved!

Pursuing Her Passion & Skill-Set

And this type of work was well suited to her skill-set and passion. Born and raised in Tokyo, she'd always had a keen interest in raw materials, particularly yarn. By creating things that she loved and items that consumers enjoyed, Sachie created a viable business with two employees. Over the years, she's sold a variety of items, but now, Sachie is selling unique and handmade hats, sweaters, bags, and even necklaces.

Although Sachie didn't have any experience working in society at a typical Japanese company, she absolutely loved the following about establishing her own business:

  • Making her own designs,
  • Developing her own flexible working schedule, and
  • Creating her own unique designs!

After all, you can craft your own schedule as an entrepreneur.

Besides the inevitable lack of work-life balance in the beginning, it sounds like an opportunity that any determined woman can replicate for herself.

Closet of Yarn & Goods.jpg

Astute Advice

I. Find Steadfast Supporters

One of the most important factors for establishing a sustainable business and not succumbing to negativity caused by the changing tides of running a business, Sachie advised future female entrepreneurs to find loyal supporters who never fail to stand by your side when things get tough.

After all, if there is someone who believes in your ability to overcome all obstacles that come your way, and empathizes with you during the good and bad times, then they inherently provide you with a sense of relief and peace of mind! When someone truly understands you, listens to you, and supports you, you are wealthy in the realm of good friends.

II. Don't Give up!

Even if someone opposes, criticizes, or otherwise, tries to stop you from pursuing something that you are passionate about, Sachie recommended not to give up! Instead, she said that women should pursue their dreams with all of their might.

In fact, even if women lose money, Sachie advised women to figure out ways to improve the product and keep on going. Specifically, she said, “改善 or Kaizen” which is the Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement. By continually improving the product, adjusting the business plan, realigning the strategy to match changing consumer demands, etc., anyone can create a sustainable business.

In sum, by working really hard and figuring out a way to make everyone say yes, you can make the impossible, possible. And both Yukiko Yamamoto and Arnaud Bonzom would agree.

With both devoted supporters and a never-give-up attitude, anyone in Japan can create a sustainable business.

Thank you very much for reading this article!


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