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(international) Retailer Spotlight: And Grails

We are excited to feature one of our first international retailers! We interviewed Kentaro, the owner of And Grails located in Japan, this week and would love to share the conversation that we had with him. When did you open And Grails? I started my own business last September and the store just opened April 1st. What do you love about your store? I love the color of the inside of my store ; Green and Brown. These colors make the store’s image. And one of my favorite things about our store is that the interior decoration isn't too perfect. I especially love the store’s name - ,, anything AND+GRAIL+S What kind of atmosphere surrounds And Grails? My store stands in a rather quiet place. Two rivers flow both side of my city. And it takes 20 minutes from the store to the beach. Residents are making a good community. I also like that my store is not in a business district. What makes your store unique? Handmade, vintage and originality.

When did you start carrying KKi products? I started carrying KKi products in January 2011. Why do you carry them? One day I saw KKi hats in a store when I was in CA. They looked nice and I noticed that they were handmade. So I checked the website after I got back home. I knew KKi's mission and concept and I sympathized with the vision. I then contacted KKi and talked to them about getting their products into my store. What is the response from customers when you tell them the story behind KKi? Most customers are interested in the story. A lot of Japanese people know that we are affluent and are lucky to live a happy life in a good environment. Moreover, the Japanese have feelings that they want to do something to help the underprivileged people in developing countries and the regions. However, a lot of people do not know a better method to contribute to such people. So they are looking to make some contribution to them even indirectly. I think that such people here are interested in KKi. How do they react to the signed tag inside of the hat? They are surprised. And they feel something real from the tag above all. Even though other products can be handmade, there are few commodities that have a hand signed tag inside of the product. What is your favorite KKi product? I like the Bella and the Thomas. I like the T-shirts, too. We all have heard the devastation that has taken place in Japan. How, if at all, were you affected by the earthquakes and tsunamis? How have things changed for you? It was the most enormous tragedy that I have experienced up to now. And it is still progressing. I experienced the power failure by the electricity shortage that was caused by the nuclear power plant disaster. However, it is not serious compared with people in the stricken area. We were spending life in comfortable circumstances until that day. Everyone thought that such life was natural. A lot of people had no thoughts about that. We might have been using ‘consumption’ and ‘waste’ with no distinction. Everyone, however, has thought about energy and the environment now. And people have come to learn how to start saving power and the other various things. The town is still bright enough, although it is much darker than before. I think that we were able to reconfirm how important water, food, electricity, and gas are for us. I cannot stop praying everyday for those who lost their house, lost their employment, and lost the family to be able to recover soon! And we who did not encounter the disaster directly must not forget this catastrophe! More info: Location: 5-20-1 Shonandai Fujisawa-city Kanagawa JAPAN 252-0804 Hours: 11:00 to 19:00 Website:


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