OK so my latest news isn't strictly Japan Crafts but I am sure a lot of you will be interested to hear what has been happening behind the scenes. This fortnight was supposed to be a well-earned break for Man and I, but instead we have embarked on an exciting new project together - we are opening a shop!
As many of you know, I have a rather large collection of vintage and antique kimono (including all the accessories and many other things I've picked up in Japan over the years). I've been wanting to downsize it for a long time but most of it is not suitable for selling online or sending through the post.
Last week we happened to visit a new, very cool indoor venue in Digbeth (Birmingham) called Red Brick Market. It is a former factory which has been converted into lots of units for independent traders and artisans and has been likened to Camden Market in London. The traders themselves don't have to attend - you just pick up your purchases as you go round, and pay at a central desk. We found ourselves buying a few bits and pieces, then later that day the lightbulb started to go on for both of us...why not rent a unit ourselves?!
Within 24 hours we had picked a unit and signed the lease! A fleeting trip up to North Yorkshire to load the van full of my collection and now we are busily preparing for our opening launch on 3rd July.
The beauty of this venue is that we don't have to be there, so we can operate Retro Kimono in our spare time, popping in once or twice a week to restock. Don't worry, Japan Crafts will continue as usual! But since Retro Kimono is completely separate, I'm afraid I can't offer any of the kimono goods for sale online - you will have to come and visit us in person.
Our key concept is 'authentic and affordable', so we will be offering genuine, beautiful pieces from Japan at reasonable prices so that everybody can enjoy these stunning textiles. We also promote the idea that it's ok to repurpose the fabric into something you will use and love, rather than pass up a kimono because you won't wear it. This is done in Japan all the time as people don't wear kimono so much nowadays but they still appreciate the beauty of the fabric and want to give it a new lease of life.
In time we will also be supporting the work of some of our creative friends, and we already have Seedology, Toslisy and Equality Cards lined up to showcase their products in the shop.
We've already got more stock on its way from Japan so there will be new things to look at each time you visit!
The address is
Red Brick Market
119 Floodgate Street,
Monday to Saturday 10-6
We would really appreciate if you could follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we are posting regularly to show new stock and give more information about kimono, Japanese culture etc.
Red Brick Market Birmingham also has social media pages where they show the various traders so you can get a flavour of what else you will find there. It's a real treasure trove! It is right next door to Birmingham Big Bake, and directly opposite the famous Custard Factory where you can find more wonderful independent shops, bars and restaurants. Why not come for a day out?
we are social
I started Japan Crafts in 2006 and have been bringing wonderful fabrics and techniques to people in the UK ever since.