Friday, October 20, 2017

Maker's place: Kurashiki Bikan-Chiku

We stayed 2 nights at Onsaka-no-ke, a retrofitted traditional Machiya house in the town of Kurashiki, Okayama. I LOVE staying in this house because it's nestled in the culturally preserved block of Kurashiki city and they did an amazing job in keeping the structure of the old machiya while updating all the essentials like bathroom and kitchen to be ready for modern travelers. Price was also reasonable considering we were able to eat-in our breakfasts and be comfortable staying in the house when we needed to take a break from walking the rainy city. Also, let's not forget it's across the street from the masking tape store:)

Kurashiki Bikan-chiku is incredibly charming with "old" Japan atmosphere. We could stroll through the streets and forget the year we were in. I think if you are only viewing the Bikan-chiku, you will probably only need 2 nights to stay here. If you are exploring outside of the area, it's totally worth spending few more nights. Since Eunice and I were on a tight schedule, we spent a day exploring inside of the Bikan-chiku. Visiting Classiky store (yes... their physical store was just as amazing as their artifacts), researching lifestyle brands and products that were present in the neighborhood and enjoying Japanese hospitality at a coffee and shops. 

One thing I noticed about this area is that they are really promoting the maker-consumer connection. Many of the new retail stores that opened since last July had a 1/2 making space & 1/2 retail space arrangement so we could watch behind the scene while shopping for items. I appreciate that the city is in the process of curating an interesting perspective to tourism instead of simply selling more souvenirs. 

This little town definitely opened up my imagination of what it might have been like to live in a small Japanese town back then...  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Our inspiring day at the Superior Labor

Greetings from back home in Los Angeles! Eunice and I landed back in LA last night and my day was very "normal" at home today. Homeschooling with the girls, cooking, cleaning and visiting our friend. Perfectly normal in an everyday way and I loved it.

I am so excited to share some of our highlights from our BK Inspirational Investment trip. 

Our very first stop was at The Superior Labor headquarter in the mountain of Okayama. It has been a year since Frido and I visited them last time and I LOVE that everything was still timeless this time around just as I remembered. 

I am so thankful that Kawai-san, the owner of TSL, and Yanai-san who closely works with us on our collaboration projects shared pretty much an entire day with us. Our conversation spanned from our upcoming collaboration product launch, our passion for analogue as well as Kawai-san's favorite Korean foods (Eunice was so impressed by his Korean food knowledge). I always really enjoy listening to Kawai-san's authentic perspective in life, his vision for TSL, as well as his unique experience from the past. 

Eunice and I got to see a glimpse of their most updated product samples and took a lot of notes about which items we might carry at BK in the near future. One of my highlights was to see the final sample of the BKxTSL original Jibun Techo cover (!!!). The idea of creating an original planner cover has been on my mind for a while and I am so glad that we can share this with the Jibun Techo enthusiasts around the world... since the well-made cover for Jibun Techo is scarce on the market. If you are interested in getting timely updates reg. this item, please send us an email.

I also LOVED spending a good chunk of time discussing our love for analogue. I got to take a peek into how he organizes his calendar, which tool the TSL team uses to manage their production schedule and listen to Kawai-san's thoughts on film photography. If you are interested in film photography, check out their photo club on IG. I become their member #41 so it looks like I will be shooting some film photography:) 

I think a good relationship (whether it is romantic, personal, or business) inspires and continue to inspire. I feel incredibly lucky to have had a chance to get to know them more and to be able to say that I continue to be so inspired by them. 

We left our day by saying "see you soon in Los Angeles or Okayama" so I have a good feeling that this won't be the last chance to have more conversation with them. 

Thank you Kawai-san and TSL family and team. We will see you soon:) 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Travel & Store Closure Schedule for October

Hello friends! I hope your fall is gliding smoothly.

Our BK team will be visiting Japan once again in October (BK on the Road travel post herehere, here, here, and one more from last year!). This time our agenda includes visiting The Superior Labor making space in the mountain of Okayama, soaking up traditional Japanese aesthetics and elements from our stay in Kurashiki and finding life inspiration through the art island Naoshima. I am so thankful that Nerine and Eunice's family let me take them away from their home for so many days... as I totally know how it feels like to be when our significant partners in life are out of town.

In order to accommodate our entire team to be away from the studio for this trip, we will be closing our brick & mortar store in Glassell Park from 10/10 (Tuesday) to 10/21 (Saturday).

Our online store will be open to accepting orders; however, the orders received after 10/6 (Friday) will be shipped after 10/21.

If you are in need of analogue supplies, please please PLEASE place your order before 10/6 to ensure the timely shipment.

Personally "traveling" is so important to me and I feel incredibly lucky that I can stand behind my lifelong belief to support our team to continue traveling. It's our "Inspirational Investment" and will always be.

Once 10/13 arrives, I will be filling my IG feed with our travel updates so please stay tuned!!!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Story behind the BK Travel: OKINAWA Stickers/Postcards

By now, you probably know that travel inspires Baum-kuchen immensely. It always has and it continues to bring so much to life. I still vividly remember the time when Frido and I were brainstorming how to keep and share the lessons, insights and wonder we encounter while we are on the road. We thought it would be so neat if we could create tangible artifacts that can be incorporated into our BK community's analogue adventure. Frido has been so longing to spend more hands-on time making things so we thought that these artifacts can be like a glimpse into his sketchbook. And so the BK Travel Stickers & Postcards were born! We enjoyed sharing our thoughts about Hawaii via Hawaii stickers and postcards and now we are so glad to have our Okinawa stickers and postcards done!

The process Frido goes through each time to create these stickers and postcards is 90% analogue. He gets inspired by travel and captures the initial idea/sketch while he is still traveling. (We travel with portable watercolor kit and brush:) When he gets home from travel, he paints the main elements over and over until he finds the "one" that feels right to him. Then he scans the drawings and put all the elements together for production. It's labor intensive and I LOVE watching him get lost in this analogue process.

I especially enjoyed seeing how "OKAY" sticker came together for Okinawa. "OKA" is airport code for Naha airport in Okinawa and Frido thought it was neat that it was almost like "Okay". And "everything will be okay" is the kind of attitude we got from people and atmosphere in and around the Okinawa island. Frido wanted to get the effect of worn out rusted metal sign which we saw all over Okinawa. The beautiful wabi-sabi look and feel. It took him for a while to figure out how to actually get the effect in the most authentic way. I heard his happy dance when he figured out that he could paint "OKAY" graphics on an enamel container surface using gouache paint then gently sand off the paint to get the weathered look. Yep. Process.

I hope you enjoy these little gems as much as we do. And stay tuned for the update for the future destinations. Let's keep traveling:)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

TSL 2-way Backpacker in action!

We took the TSL 2-way Backpacker to the big adventure this summer. It's one thing to look pretty on the store display and curated product photoshoot but it's totally another thing for an artifact to live the real life... especially during the high demand travel with little ones. 

I carried the TSL 2-way Backpacker through the airport (carrying Coco who was totally jet lagged and heavy sleeping) and it was so great to have my hands free. It was my carry-on bag for the flight. It held all our important documents, my 13" laptop and travel sketchbooks for all of us. I loved that it opened wide on the top so I was able to access everything I needed in the tiny airplane seat without worrying all the contents spilling out. Frido and I took the bag to the day trip in Hamburg city... on my back while we fast walked through the beautiful city. Backpack held our precious stationery treasures we found in the city. We took the backpacker to the beach adventure in South of France. The inside of the backpack got totally sandy but I shook the bag off upside down and it was ready to go for another day. Then we dragged the backpack to the Italian beach so we can collect beautiful pebbles in the outside leather pocket.

Aside from how awesome the bag looks, my favorite thing about the bag is that it sits upright on the floor and I can access the contents really easily. And it feels sturdy and comfortable on my back when I carry it. (The felt on the shoulder straps help!)

The only downside is that if I carry the bag as a tote in my hand, the shoulder straps tend to drag on the floor. So I would have to lift it pretty high as a tote. It hasn't bothered me because I rarely grab them by the top handle and when I do use the top handle, it's when I need to quickly pick up the bag off the floor because kids are ready to move on to next place and I am picking myself up (and the bag to put it on my shoulder) or I am dragging the bag out of an overhead compartment on the airplane. 

I am excited that we will be carrying very curated color/material combination of the 2-way Backpacker. The Khaki canvas with navy paint fits in so many scenes and we are currently waiting for black canvas with nude leather combination to arrive!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Back on earth...

Every re-landing of the earth after we come back from travel is different. This one for sure feels unusually full. Especially because we are going into our very busy fall season at the shop. And we had some issues with AC unit in the studio which brought unexpected studio shut-down days and adjusted opening hours. I so appreciate all our regular and local customers who stopped by the shop in the morning hours instead of our usual afternoon hours while we weren't able to work in the space in the afternoon due to the heatwave. Thank you, our incredible BK community who is anticipating the 2018 analogue set up! And thank you Nerine and Eunice who held up the BK fort so gracefully while Frido and I were away.

Every morning I write one thing I am thankful for on my Jibun Techo monthly page. Today I am thankful for all that BK inspires in us and in our community and being able to paint one picture at a time in order to get a big mural done.

"Trust the Process"... always.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Time, space and fresh air for childhood: thoughts from Italy

On one of the days, while we were staying in France, we took an adventurous drive from France to the nearest Italian border. Not really for a specific reason but just because.

Okay. maybe I did want to eat fresh pasta and gelato ice cream in Italy. We had no idea how it was going to be and totally got lost in a crowded little Italian town... but eventually found ourselves at a nearly deserted Italian beach resort after their summer holiday.

We were so excited when we finally got to stretch our legs at the beach and girls went straight into rock hunting and swimming. Oh, the pebbles at this beach were amazing. We are frequently so inspired by nature at home and on the road and I am so thankful that I can pass the gratitude towards nature to our girls.

This is our 2nd year of our homeschooling adventure and I am definitely starting to see what it makes our family's learning richer. Preserving a lot of open time, space and fresh air around them definitely come to my mind as one of the few key ingredients wherever we are!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hello from Baum-kuchen! - interview by "Entrepreneurial Voice" with Jan McCarthy

Happy Sunday:)
I am so excited to share that our Baum-kuchen story/interview was featured at "Entrepreneurial Voice" with Jan McCarthy which aired about a month ago.

If you have a moment, I would LOVE you to check it out. I feel that our visual posts on IG, blog and website represent so much of who we are so I am thankful that we had an opportunity to share our story via audio interview.

Thank you for always supporting us and thank you Jan for creating such an inspiring platform where we can learn from like-minded entrepreneurs.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The power of travel... and our pics from Hamburg

It's almost surreal to be away from home for so long. This Thursday... when we finally get back to our home in Los Angeles will mark our 3 weeks time period since we left. Time is a strange thing. It feels like forever since we left. Then it feels like yesterday when we got on the airplane to head to Michigan.

Since our beautiful stay in Michigan with our friends, Susan & Kent, we have traveled to Hamburg, Germany to spend time with Frido's family for a week and now I am writing this in Theoule-sur-Mer in France.

One thing for sure is that travel tends to change our life perspective in the way we have never expected or planned. It has the power to open the flood gate for life. And that's why we believe in traveling... small and big. I know that without travel, Baum-kuchen will not be where we are at today and so as our family.

So we keep traveling.

For now..., here are some highlights from our Hamburg moments. I am glad that we spent a lot of time with our family and Frido and I got to do some product research on the ground while Satchi and Coco spent their special time with their Omi and Opi:)



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