Friday, March 27, 2015

Staying true.

It has been a crazy week between launching TN Blue Limited Edition as well as new collection of mt masking tapes between all the operational tasks I have had on my ongoing to-do list. I am so glad that we now have Nerine working 2/week helping us with processing online orders, shipment and being in charge of making the bk leather charms and Frido taking a big responsibility in hands-on sample making for the studio. But then... I sometimes forget that I still wear almost all the hats for Baum-kuchen. On one day I can juggle between being a book keeper, inventory manager, creative director for online contents, a manager (and the only one) behind our customer service, a social media correspondent as well as fulfilling online orders and helping in-store customers. Oh and I have a huge desire to be there for my girls... and with my family. 

Wednesday afternoon I felt the peak... and I knew that I needed to change the pace of the way I was working. Thursday is usually one of my 2 weekdays at home with Satchi and Coco. I felt the urgency and need for being inspired from my life as I head home on Wednesday. I had all kind of ideas how to fill the Thursday with the girls... but I knew in my heart that I needed to find inspiration from our own home with them instead of looking for the external stimuli. We did head out to our local favorite Lincoln Pasadena for breakfast... but spent the rest of day organizing the house, giving some love to our closet (and trying out some pink dresses), spending a lot of time in the backyard, making frozen yogurt, having tea with Satchi, picking wild flowers from the garden... and resting. It felt very much like I was airing the house but also my soul in a really positive way. I also had sometime to browse the Kinfolk magazine Entrepreneurship issue between Coco's nap. I was surprised to read that so much of the issue was dedicated to the idea of "slow work"... which happened to be exactly what I needed to read. 

The subtitle for the issue is,
"Success is defined not only by the work we do but also by the people we help, the communities we build and the healthy balance we strike between work and leisure." 

By the end of the night, I felt better and had a clear idea about what are my priorities coming in the studio today... one of which was to write this post before I dive into the back-end support for Baum-kuchen... while the feeling was still fresh. 

I have put my personal wellness aside for a few years while girls were younger. It really was my choice to devote all of me to them for the first few years of their lives. But now that they are little older and more independent and also Baum-kuchen has gone through the infant stage of a business, I am hoping that I will slowly re-calibrate to find little more time to take care of myself. Because I truly believe that helping others and building communities all takes healthy mindset and lifestyle of my own. 

So now that writing this post is ending..., my 2nd priority of the day is to respond to my emails with love and care. So don't be surprised to receive an email from me if there has been a pending correspondence between me and you:)

Things might take longer to process when I try to run Baum-kuchen in more human way... but my personal goal always has been to grow the business that is proportional to our life so I think I will stay true to that. 

Happy Friday to you!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Getting ready for Inspiration Lab with Eunice (@thedailyroe)

I can't quite recall exactly when I "met" Eunice (@thedailyroe) via Instagram. It feels like I have followed her for a very very long time... Her updates have always filled my fancy and love for analogue. So I was thrilled to hear back from Eunice when I contacted her reg. doing a little interview about her Traveler's Notebook. While I was going back and fourth with Eunice about her Traveler's Notebook, I had a mini epiphany that I absolutely needed to share her artistic sense of journaling and creative approach in documenting her life with more people who were also passionate about what we loved. 

I sent a very lengthy email love letter to her asking if she might possibly consider working with us fully knowing how busy she already was with her everyday. When I heard back from her how excited she was to host the workshop with us, I was over the moon. It has been almost 2 weeks since we rolled the ball. We have been exchanging crazy amount of emails brainstorming on the workshop contents as well as ideas for specially curated Eunice's analogue box that will be shared with each guest. Now that we are getting closer to the workshop day, everything is coming together so beautifully. 

We want our guests to be immersed in the analogue process for the 3 hours we will be sharing at our studio... and head home feeling rejuvenated and inspired to open their planner/journal. 

Here are some snapshots from my Instagram feed... sharing our process for crafting Inspiration Lab. I will be updating more as we get closer so you can join our journey! Eunice is also sharing her updates on her Instagram feed so check back often:) 

And if you love documenting a trace of your life in analogue format, are looking for a unique inspiration and love being surrounded by fellow analogue enthusiasts, join us at our Inspiration Lab (link here) on April 5th! 

Inspiration Lab: 
Date: Sunday, April 5th
Time: 1pm-4pm
Location: Baum-kuchen studio / shop
Address: 3423 Verdugo Road Los Angeles, CA 90065

The power of collaboration / seeing things differently

I love ordering a new collection of mt tape each season. The best part of the process is to hunt for "the" tape that fits our Baum-kuchen out of all the tapes mt offers... So when we received a box full of tapes last week, my heart jumped! It happened to be my friend Susan was visiting our studio the day, so we got to work and sprinkled the studio/shop with new tapes. Susan also owns a very nice camera and an awesome eye for details so I totally recruited her as a photographer of the day:) 

Here are some selected pics from the photo shoot Susan did in the studio. I whole heartedly believe in the power of collaboration and I was so thrilled to see how Susan saw these tapes in her fresh perspectives. The images were not only wonderful but different from the way I have captured the tapes before (but still very Bam-kuchen because she knows us well:). 

You can find currently available mt Masking Tape here! I hope you enjoy:)

Thank yo Susan for your incredibly kind contribution!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mark your pages... especially the pages that inspire you:)

We are thrilled to share some new Book Darts available at our shop! "pin your dreams" and "track your journey".  When I design the message on Book Darts, I try to imagine the reason why these little beauties might be used in someone's life. Would he mark his dream vacation on a travel magazine? Would she leave a Book Dart on the recipe page that she is inspired by? Would he insert few Book Darts on the journaled pages he wants to remember and go back to? It's such a fun process!
For us we started marking the pages of California Camping book with campsites that we reserved for this summer. Yes. We have a plan to be camping a lot between June through August with Satchi and Coco. And I love the way the closed book looks when you see the marked pages (see the last pic!). Each dart representing special memories to be made. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

We connect dots with the real artifacts in hands... and the biggest THANK YOU to all:)

Yesterday I spent a day with my little ones. As we were getting ready... putting shoes on and grabbing my bags for a pool day, Satchi and Coco were running around the front yard... picking wild flowers that were just blooming. They each gave me one yellow flower and I tucked them in my notebook right away. Today I opened my Traveler's Notebook and the page still had the smell of sunshine and fresh cut flowers from yesterday. Instantly brought me the biggest smile. It's this tangibleness... that I know deep in my heart that any digital tools will not bring. It's the reason why we celebrate analogue process so much. I am hoping that these flowers will slowly press in my Traveler's Notebook and I will remember the moment for a very long time. 

I also wanted to share my biggest gratitude for all the encouraging comments and emails I received after I shared my thoughts about Amazon sellers. Sometimes it feel isolating to be operating an online store because so much of what happens is virtual... yet getting to know each one of our customer through his or her stories always helps me feel more grounded and connected to the realness of what we do. So thank you so much for sharing the journey with us. I am hoping that we can always be very open and honest about how we make decisions at Baum-kuchen... and be able to stand behind them with 100% of our soul and heart. 

Have a great weekend:)


p.s. Over the weekend, please stay tuned for some VERY exciting BK love letter as well as a brand new workshop we will be hosting in early April. I am channeling all the love and support from you into creative projects:)  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sharing thoughts about Traveler's Notebook sold on Amazon

I was recently inquired by our customer Ben about Traveler's Notebook sold at Amazon for much cheaper price. I thought about the answer for a quite while before responding to him... so I thought I would share my response here as well in case you are wondering the same thing as Ben.

On the email, Ben asked, "Hello,The same notebook is available from Amazon at $45.99." after placing an order with us for his Traveler's Notebook. 

and here was my response,
"Thank you so much for your order! Yes. We sometimes see Amazon sellers who offer Traveler’s Notebook and accessories for much cheaper price. I asked our MIDORI contacts about it and they told me that amazon sellers are probably not getting their merchandise through our official distributor. Most likely they have bought these items in bulk personally in Japan and selling them. They shouldn’t be any different from what we have in our MIDORI inventory. We have hard time matching the price to the Amazon price while sustaining our business since MIDORI has official wholesale price. We are aware that some customers prefer buying them from Amazon for less price and we totally understand the situation. We are hoping to contribute to our customers through our commitment to stock the entire TN collection at all times as well as the personal touch we are able to offer. -wakako"

I am so glad he asked! If you have any questions reg. how we run Baum-kuchen and thoughts that go behind it, please feel free to send me an email ( I am always happy to share because I believe we are in this together:)


Monday, March 9, 2015


She is 21 months + week.
She talks a lot... she especially love repeating after her sister.
She has the strongest mind of 1 year old that I have seen... yet she is very shy around other people.
She finds her own game as long as she feels safe nearby us.
She loves her sister...

She picks her own sets of clothes everyday and would much rather wear her sister's clothes over hers. Most often she is happy wearing multiple patters on her clothes.
She loves her pockets on her dress.

She collects flowers for me while I am away at work.
She sleeps through the night in her crib and wakes up to call us saying "I am ready to get out of the crib now". We are so excited to pick her out of the crib every morning and give her the first hug of the day.
Sometimes she simply loves falling sleep in my arm.

She loves to hold us but she does not care much for giving hugs and kisses. In fact she avoids those by any cost.
She is heavy for being carried around but we accommodate it when she asks for it.
She is obsessed in buckling her own seatbelt.

She is my Coco and always will be.
I love her so much.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sending you bright sunshine from Cupcake ATM machine:)

Yesterday Frido and I stepped out of the house for a few hours. One of the stop we made was a cupcake vending machine by Sprinkles At Americana at Brand! 

Seriously... we love anything with vending machine and there was something very magical about a boxed cupcake appearing out of nowhere. It definitely kicked off our early evening date night in the right mood. And no... the cupcake did not come out half eaten as the last picture shows. I couldn't wait to try it out.... so I start munching on it in the car while on our way to dinner. 

Something never change..., my friend.
I hope your kick-off to the weekend is lovely and I am sending lots of warmth towards your way:) 


p.s. I love the Superior Labor Paint Small Shoulder Bag. It not only fits my Traveler's Notebook, camera and my phone... but also could step up to carry a diaper, a wipe and Coco's little stuffed animal for an occasion. (Although I enjoyed carrying it w/o an extra set of diaper last night:) 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Road trip to San Francisco

Last weekend we took the very first road trip to San Francisco as a family of 4. To be honest I almost bailed out because it seemed like such a long time to keep the girls in confined car seats throughout the drive... but now that I am back from the trip I am so glad we actually did it. 

Here are some highlights and thoughts for future travel with little ones.

The road trip must: strategic pit stops! 
We stopped at Voyageur du temps, Japanese/French bakery on our way to our airbnb location since my sister worked nearby the bakery. You know I love good pastries... especially Japanese kinds. This bakery was owned by a Japanese person and all the bakers were Japanese. The cafe was located in an old train station and their French name translates to "time traveler". What not to love, right?  The lady at the counter explained to me that it's like a Japanese bakery meets French flavor. After being on the road for so long... it was much needed breather for everyone and coffee for grown-ups. Of course I bought extra pastries for next morning!

Place to stay: airbnb a place with a backyard! 
After looking around hotel options in S.F. city and Bay Area..., we decided to book a place through airbnb in Belmont. My sister lives in Redwood City and we figured that the we probably won't go into the city with the girls... so it worked out perfectly. It was definitely cheaper to stay outside of the city and we had 2 bedrooms, kitchen, a plenty of living room space... AND a backyard with a play structure. The extra space was premium. Satchi and Coco had enough space to run around and get their wiggles out... and I spread my journals and made myself home:) They also brought a handful of books, puzzles and analogue games that they played during the downtimes. After they went to sleep, Frido and I were able to hang out with my sister and her boyfriend over a glass of wine. Couldn't really do that in a small hotel room. Also I found it so helpful not to have to eat out every meal when we are traveling. The girls can do the dining out here and there with descent consideration and manner but I much prefer letting them "be". It's so much more relaxing for everyone. 

Things we did with little ones
We kept our days there rather simple. I had all the plans to take them to a big zoo, a special amusement park and museum... but I realized that I don't even do that in Los Angeles, why do I all the sudden change myself and take them to super stimulating places while on the road? My sister asked her colleague and found out that there was a tiny zoo in Palo Alto where we can get in for free! So that was totally what we did. Although girls at the end of the day preferred a simple park and and an open space that was next to the zoo. We also checked out a cute Lunar New Year celebration in Redwood City on Saturday. 

By the way Frido and I squeezed a couple hours on Saturday night to ourselves in order to attend an event that was hosted for Art Center alumni while my sister and her boyfriend stayed with Satchi and Coco at home. I do love being very grounded and spending time with little ones... but nothing like being able to change into outing clothes and step away just by grown-ups for a few hours to catch up with old friends. Really. 

On our way home: another strategic pit stop at San Luis Reservoir 
This was an unexpected highlight for everyone. On our way back from S.F., we knew we needed to stop somewhere and it needed to be some place where Satchi and Coco could run around. We kind of stumbled upon this state park along the freeway and it was perfect. The weather was mild and we picnicked by the lake and a little beach. I love carrying my own table clothes in case we need to use a picnic table. The colorful tablecloth makes the moment so much more special and an outdoor cafe like, right? We had a loaf of bread and deli meats in our cooler so we did simple sandwich and whatever fruits that were still left in our basket. The girls quickly found out that there are some seashells on the beach so they got busy collecting treasures... then soon splashing water. Frido and I sat and watched them... and it was simply lovely to be there. After they played for an hour or so, we settled in our car again for the 2nd stretch of the drive... Coco sang herself to sleep in her car seat as soon as we started driving and Satchi was making up stories by herself... so happy. It was a great reminder that they are kids and need to be kids. And if we don't fight against their need to be kids, they are happy. 

//So now we feel totally ready to do mini weekend family trips this summer:) 


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