Omiyage is one of my favorite online shops for crafty goods from Japan including my favorite notebooks. Not only do they have a wonderful shop but also an inspiring blog with all their new product updates and other crafty ideas that I read weekly. Marisa Edghill and Elias de Souza are the minds behind Omiyage and Marisa was sweet enough to connect with me this week to answer some questions. Enjoy!
How would you describe Omiyage?
Omiyage is full of creative, clever and crafty goods from Japan and beyond! We love crafty products and crafty people, but you don’t have to be crafty to love Omiyage! We carry lots of fun stationery and gorgeous bento boxes too.
What led you both to create Omiyage?
When we moved from Japan to Canada, we found ourselves homesick for our Japanese life. There were (and still are) so many places, experiences and things we missed! “Omiyage” means souvenir in Japanese, and souvenirs are a really big deal in Japan. So, we started Omiyage with the sort of products we would fill our suitcases with to share with loved ones as souvenirs! It’s really hard to share your favourite restaurant or market, but your favourite bento box? Much easier!
What is it about the Japanese culture you love so much?
I love so many things about Japanese culture but I’ll try to narrow it down for you! When you visit Japan, I think you are struck by how modern and yet how traditional it is. Turn the corner in an uber-modern area and you’ll find a 300-year old temple tucked between skyscrapers. On your morning commute you might see women in traditional kimono on the subway. Japan is full of surprises and gifts like that.Another thing I love is the attention to detail. When you purchase something, it isn’t just thrown into a plastic bag but is carefully and lovingly wrapped. Useful products – like a sponge or a notebook – are impeccably designed and there’s sure to be a version to match your style – from sleek and modern to super-kawaii! I think because homes in Japan tend to be small, there is a tendency to want everything you bring into your home – no matter how ordinary the item – to be special!
I already know why I am obsessed with Washi Tape, what is your reason?
I love how easy it is to use and how multi-functional it is. You can tear it or cut it, write on it, stick it on the wall then pick it back up and stick it somewhere else! I love a material which I can use any and everywhere. And I love how all the different colours and patterns combine – it’s always interesting to see the combos other people put together!I not only craft with it (it makes amazing birthday cards!), I also use it to stick things on the wall for impromptu inspiration boards, I wrap gifts with it, and I even use it around the house for silly little things like sealing packages in the kitchen. You open up your kitchen cupboard and these pretty pieces of tape make you smile!
What is your favorite DIY go-to craft to create?
I am a self-described “dabbler”! I go through crafty phases and find it really hard to commit to just one. That being said, I love to create with paper – these Japanese paper dolls are a favourite. I also make a mean apron!
What do you search for in a product?
When we started Omiyage, we filled the shop simply with things we loved or thought were charming. We still do that, to some extent, but more than that we’re looking for things that are special and not readily available in North America. In stationery, I love special details like notebooks with unique layouts, postcards with quirky sayings or greeting cards with glittery details! Because everyone likes a little sparkle, right?
Do you ever feel “artist’s block”, and if so how do you overcome it?
Who doesn’t? Sometimes I find I have to just step back from creating and wait for inspiration to return. Other times I actively seek it. I’ve found Pinterest to be a great visual starting point for me. I’m actually working on a Pinterest inspiration project called “Oh My! Pinspiration” where I use pins as a jumping off point for creative projects.
How would you describe your style?
I’m a bit of a contradiction! I love really modern spaces and things, but I’m also really into vintage items. I like things which are pretty but not too-pretty and cute but not too-cute!As for my personal style? I’m a huge proponent of “one special thing”. A pair of shoes in a fun colour, a great statement necklace, an amazing handcrafted fascinator.
Who are some of your favorite artists and sites?
Oh, it’s so difficult to narrow it down! In terms of blogs, I’m loving plenty of colour – Chloe’s finds take my breath away all the time. I also look forward to the monthly Color Me Pretty posts on Decor8 – so gorgeous and inspirational! On Mondays I do a Monday Morning Eye Candy post on the blog and sometimes feature artists whose work I enjoy. Some recent artists were Simone Downey, Ana Montiel and Matou en Peluche. Really lovely work! I also really enjoy Shinzi Katoh and we’re so delighted to carry some of his products in the shop!
I’m planner obsessed, what is your favorite planner, binder, anything you use daily? (I love notebooks way too much)
I keep track of big dates on my wall calendar (I love calendars – we have some gorgeous new ones from Japan arriving in the shop any day now!) and use one of our DAYS weekly planners for day-to-day planning. I’m not very good at remembering to use a planner, so I do best with one I can write the dates in for myself – it lets me start and stop when I find I need to set a strict weekly schedule.