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Adding a Touch of Lightness to Your Lifestyle with Original Apparel by 'Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten'

Enjoying meals using your favorite dishware. Spending your day dressed in clothing you find comfortable and aesthetically appealing. Even such small pleasures can enrich your life when they can be readily enjoyed.
Kurashicom supports each customer in creating their own 'comfortable life' through its lifestyle and culture platform, 'Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten.'
In our interview with Yuko Umai, the company's Public Relations Manager, she shared the story behind the creation of 'Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten,' and how it evolved from selling Nordic vintage dishware to launching its own original apparel brand.
Yuko Umai
Yuko Umai

Public Relations, Kurashicom

Creating a Lifestyle that 'Feels Right' for Yourself

Could you tell us about the creation of 'Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten'?
Our company was started by our CEO, Aoki, and Deputy CEO, Sato (also Aoki's sister), but their first business did not take off as hoped.
While discussing what to do for their 'last company trip,' they decided to visit Nordic countries. There, they witnessed people taking pleasure in everyday rituals - like turning off the lights and lighting candles at their table.
This experience left a profound impression on both of them, leading them to wonder: 'How do these people manage to lead such comfortable lives?' Our mission - 'Let's create a fitting lifestyle' - resonates with the kind of life they encountered in Nordics; a life that is not judged by others' perspectives but felt comfortable from one's own standpoint.
Inspired by their Nordic trip, 'Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten' was launched in 2007.
What type of products did you initially sell?
At first, we sold vintage Nordic dishware collected during our trips to the Nordic countries over the internet. Rising interest in Nordic culture in Japan, along with the popularity of a movie set in Finland's capital, Helsinki, helped our business flourish.
What prompted you to start selling other types of products besides vintage items?
In response to growing demand. The availability of vintage products is naturally limited, making it challenging to scale as demand grows. Consequently, we started stocking contemporary Nordic goods.
As 'Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten' developed its unique worldview, we expanded our product line to include Japanese goods and other items not strictly Nordic.
That being said, we avoid stocking items unlikely to resonate with our customers who love 'Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten.' We've remained committed to contributing to lifestyles that 'fit,' and to a worldview that appeals to our customers.
So, in our effort to help customers create fitting lifestyles, we've continued to expand our lineup of everyday items.
In 2009, you temporarily operated a physical store, didn't you?
Yes, at that time, some brands were unavailable to us as a web-only retailer. We opened a physical store to broaden our product range. As 'Hokuoh Kurashi no Douguten' grew, brands began to trust us, web-only retailer or not, and we closed our physical store in 2014.
Another reason for closing the physical store was that the retail approach markedly differed from that of our online shop. We decided to concentrate our efforts on our web shop, where our strengths could be leveraged more effectively.
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