Sashiko Concept | Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya

Our Sashiko Concept

The concept of “Sashi.Co” is quite simple. We enjoy Sashiko, and we would like to introduce the Sashiko we enjoy; first in Japan, then to the world.

We (Keiko and Atsushi) used to be a part of Sashiko family in Japan. After the unfortunate decease of Yuichi Futatsuya (Husband of Keiko), we had to give up all about Sashiko. Atsushi moved to the USA, but Keiko couldn’t just give up and forget Sashiko.

Then, we decided to launch “Sashi.Co” Project as Keiko shared her honest feeling with Atsushi. She calmly said  to him in a regular “mother and son” conversation.

“I just would like to continue what I love, that is Sashiko.”

Keiko continued.

“As a result of my Sashiko work, I would like to let people know what Sashiko can do.”

In Japan around the time of the 19th century, Sashiko was a work for women over winter. It is now known as (folk) art because of its beautiful characteristics such as  “all hand made” and “unique traditional design patterns”, but Sashiko was merely a wisdom in daily life.

I asked her what her goal is if we launch the project. She answered with clear voice.

“Creating the authentic (enjoyable) Sashiko pieces is my goal. As a result of that, I hope, Sashiko will be passed down to the next generation. I do not think I am the type of leader to make it happen. However, I would like to contribute to the Sashiko culture. More importantly, I simply wants to continue enjoying Sashiko.”

It was as simple as this. The “Sashi.Co” concept is just Keiko’s dream.

Our Sashiko Concept is

Sashi.Co provide the authentic Sashiko pieces with high standards.

There are themes (sub-concepts) of Sashi.Co project. Atsushi interprets the conversations between Keiko and Atsushi, and put in to the sentences.

1. We re-create the jackets and accessories based on the Japanese culture in the late 19th and early 20th century, and modernize them to create “Sashiko version 20xx” for our generation. 

2. We introduce the beauty of “Hand-Made / One-of-a-Kind” pieces, rather than “Mass-produced” merchandizes.

3. We respect the artisans and their incredible skills.

Atsushi’s Note about Sashiko Concept by Keiko

(Wrote in 2014: Edited in 2019)

To be honest with you, it might be challenging for me to manage someone like Keiko. She has been the designer, and the artist of Sashiko for more than 30 years. She is not a business person who can focus on financial statement and business strategy. 

I believe I can support her. In fact, I made up my mind to help her no matter what. Although I do not know how much I can devote myself into this project (because of new environment I choose), supporting a dream of my own mother is very precious thing. 

One concept I have from my experience;
【I focus on Keiko’s concept rather than the financial situation.】

It sounds idiotic when it comes to the business. I understand that. However I just do not want to repeat the same mistake again. I hope, and even believe, that there is a way to manage the project with Keiko’s concept(s).

Sashi.Co will be her life-telling-story, starting at the age of the retirement for most of the people. 
I am sincerely happy to support her for this project, as her son as well as a passionate fan to Sashiko.

Sashiko Opportunities

In Sashi.Co project, we plan to create several opportunities to meet the customer’s satisfaction. We believe that it is important to involve Sashiko Passionate fans to Sashi.Co culture. Sharing Sashiko culture to actual Sashiko practitioner is also our passion.

One of the biggest, yet necessary challenge is to create the high quality materials. Sashiko Materials (Supplies) with Supreme quality such as Sashiko threads, Natural Dyed fabric and yarns, and needles / thimbles are very necessary. One of our first goals is to prepare the materials and equipments that will meet our standard. After we examine them enough, it is our goal to have enough inventories to provide in the market. At last, making a shopping cart on this website so we can start handling the orders. (*We successfully open a web-store. Please follow the link here.)

We once have created great materials (Hida Sashiko Threads – Sashiko family business bran)

We cannot sell the great materials we once had because we had accomplished the production on behalf of the “organization.” Simply, we do not have the authorization to produce and sell what I was marketing all over the world. It is unfortunate, but we do never give up. We start from scratch. And we will meet our standard, “the best”. We no longer have stakeholders to please or employer to apple polish.

Look what we have achieved in last 4 years.

– Webshop for Sashiko threads is Available Now!! 

Atsushi’s Note on behalf of Keiko’s dream

Although what I write below is not what Keiko mentioned over our conversation, this is what I dream of making it happen with Keiko. It is wonderful to meet, to talk, to listen to, and to enjoy Sashiko together with Sashiko fans all over the world.

In order to achieve this goal, what I am planning is

  1. A Sashiko & Textile Tours to Japan with Atsushi.
  2. Sashiko Workshop to share the Sashiko techniques and culture
  3. Online Information Database
  4. … hopefully, book publication

Keiko will be in charge of production. 
Atsushi will be in charge of Sashi.Co experience and story telling.  Sashi.Co is as simple as this.

Please let us know if you have any ideas to make your Sashiko life more enjoyable. Your feedback is very helpful to establish our Sashi.Co culture.\

Supports Us

We may take a path to register us as a Non-Profit Organization in future. We need to consider this process very carefully before we make this big decision. No matter how we decide our business type, there are key concepts to pursuit. I come to the idea that what Sashi.Co is trying to do could be a form of “Social entrepreneurship.”

I have experienced how difficult business management could be when you have to make a profit. Well… of course it is difficult because most of the business need to make profits to survive. However, the sense of profit had created many problems to avert from our goals in previous company.

Sometime we had to compromise or given up our concepts because of its BEP (break-even point). It was necessary to meet the satisfaction of the stakeholders. There was no doubt that I was doing right thing as a manager in a company pursuing profit. However, I couldn’t stop feeling ashamed by providing the “commodities” regardless some (small) compromise I had to make.

Keiko and I simply do not want to compromise on anything, and anymore. No matter how costly it would be in labor or materials, we would like to pursue the best, the very best piece in the world.

We also understand that the idea of  “not caring profit much” is kind of crazy dream. After all, we have to sustain our life somehow. Atsushi has a great partner who understands his goal and supports his life financially and mentally. Keiko now receives “unemployment benefit” from the Japanese government.
Therefore, I am not saying that we do not make a profit. My point is simple. Our pride comes first. Profit comes in second. Your help and understanding to this dignity are greatly appreciated.

*as of 2015, unemployment benefit ended and she will start a business besides this Sashi.Co. She had made up her mind. She is so determined!
*Non-Profit Organization means that we will not have stakeholders or someone who can control us by using monetary authorities. We still try to make it profitable.

As I mentioned above, there are no rules that Non-profit organization cannot make profit. No matter what kind of organization we will become, we will try out best to pursue what we value. Our goal is to influence this world with Sashiko, even a little bit.

At the same time, when we finalize the idea of establishing the Non-Profit Organization, We might ask public for donations to sustain Sashiko culture with us, with Sashi.Co Story. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. Even before that, we will be happy to receive your feedbacks, opinions, and contributions.