Good morning! Or evening! Hello!
Welcome to the first ever Shodai blog post. We launched this little brand in October 2016, after what felt like an eternity of product development, design work, packaging testing, etc. Our tiny team was involved in every step, and since launch, have been busy fulfilling orders, answering questions on Instagram, and generally wearing many hats. Along the way, we’ve learned a few things. Well, five actually. Here they are:
1) People are really nice
Deep thoughts, I know. But we’ve had a few e-mails from customers just to tell us they like our product. I didn’t know that was a thing. But it is! And it absolutely, 100% makes my day every time.
2) The printed word is powerful
Contrary to popular belief, magazines and newspapers you hold in your hand still have amazing power. Since launching our face wash & moisturizer, we’ve been honored to have been featured in a variety of blogs and online magazines, from Acquire to Men’s Journal. However, when the Los Angeles Times ran a feature about Shodai in their Sunday print edition, our server almost blew up, thanks to all the people who visited us. Turns out, newspapers are great.
3) Japan is far away
Deep thoughts, part deux. The point here is that at the moment we only ship to the USA, so that’s where our customers are. But we’re here in Japan. So – the time difference means that we sometimes answer e-mails in the middle of the night in our pajamas. Thankfully they’re pretty comfortable pajamas. What was I talking about again? Moving on.
4) No one knows what Hiba Oil is
I don’t regret launching a brand that contains hiba oil as a key ingredient – it smells incredible and is a known stress reliever. And it’s rare, so we’re lucky to be able to include it in our products…but because it’s rare, no one knows what it is. Hmm. If we were a big cosmetics company we would have done extensive market research, figured that out before launch, and changed to another ingredient. But here’s the thing – I’m so glad we didn’t do any of that. Imagine falling asleep in a forest of cedar trees, and waking up and smelling the dawn. Hiba oil smells like that. Sort of. Seriously though, it’s got a deep, clear, natural woody scent, and it’s worth a serious sniff.
5) The Japanese & American postal services are brilliant
I know, you may be rolling your eyes. But hear me out. We ship all our products via Japan Post, who hand them off to the USPS upon arrival in the States. How many packages have they lost? Zero. How many issues have we had? Zero. Ten points to you, post offices! OK, to be fair, there has been one problem. Someone ran over a package of face wash with a CAR. Apparently the box was sitting there in the driveway? I don’t know. It makes me feel sad and weird, so let’s not talk about it. Still though, I blame the driver not the post office. Maybe I should add learning #6: our shipping boxes are strong, but not that strong.
Thanks for your support over these past few months – we’re just getting started!
Wash your face,
Justin (Team Shodai)