Encyclopedia of niime

niime History Chapter 6

Evaluate, then Create a Workflow.

2019 . 05 . 15

As the tamaki niime brand moves forward, launching promotional events; it seems that much like the art of creation there is a carefully designed workflow based on keen judgement and mechanisms that surprise recipients.

Now, in discovering the uniqueness of tamaki niime, the teams have been having discussions on newer creations, and “niime-isms” are beginning to be passed down.

Facing the consumer’s needs and imagining how they wear them and use them in their hand. Then drawing the use scenario of her creation. Ms Tamaki talks about her unique creating style and distribution process.

Not Spending Time and Effort Wastefully.

When I was in elementary school, I was really into puzzles and decided to stop spending time on meaningless things. When I started doing puzzles, my parents selected for me anime or cute styles. I liked to assemble them, and it was enjoyable. However, I didn’t want to hang them in my room because they didn’t suit it. So, since I didn’t use them for decoration, I restarted all the puzzles, but it got boring quickly. They ended up in the trash. But if I did it anyway, I thought it would be nice to try a photo to decorate, like a black and white Marilyn Monroe? It was challenging to put together without colour, (laugh) but I thought it would have more value that way. It would have value, and wouldn’t be trashed. I used to dive into anything. Later, I realized I’d jumped in without thinking, and it would have been better to not do in the first place.

Prioritizing TODOs

One of the things I learned a lot about, which is useful in work is figuring out what to prioritize. As I observed the staff working, I saw them working harder, and then some working even harder for more extended periods. However, they didn’t seem to get the dynamics. Many of them don’t prioritize their work. That’s not something that I should point out, but I think they should be aware of it by themselves.

I think there must be a limit to the amount of work that one person can do in a day. Don’t you think? When I started our brand, just with the three of us, there were a lot of things I wanted to do. It was like, “I want to do this, and I want to do that, too.” But to survive, I analyzed which ones were a high priority and eliminated any inefficient tasks to get the best results. First, we focused on shawls and introduced power looms to differentiate from other companies. We then ensured that we would put our focus on one thing at a time. Then, we decided to gradually introduce other products at the right time. I wanted pants as one of our brand products, and I wanted to design and create a well-made shirt. By screening my want-to-do list, we scrutinized the time, what we could do, and so we have the current tamaki niime. I always try to keep in mind whether we are being efficient or wasteful.

First, create scenarios. Then make moves.

When I see a cluttered desk, I feel sick. It is because it takes way too long to find anything. Because I think that is such a time-waster, I want things to be kept organized. That way I know where the scissors or pencils are. At work, tasks should be organized and prioritized. If we have 100 tasks, to get the best possible result, I think is to plan where to start, which is the key to successful completion. Rather than just working at random, it is imperative to plan a ‘mental simulation’. I feel that not many of our staff do that well. Each one of them works hard, but how do you say, they don’t utilize their time efficiently.

How to complete most tasks. In what order is necessary to achieve the best outcome. When to start. When is the right moment, which could increase production two to three times the expected result. By assisting this customer at the right moment with the specific phrases, it should help the customer in creating the best shopping experience. All of these are possible scenarios. We must draw the scenarios before making a move. Doing the same old things is wasteful if it does have a positive meaning behind it.

Possibility of creation by team

Currently, tamaki niime has more staff than ever, with various teams. Each team considers the brand direction. Proactive discussions lead to creations based on each team contributions. Even I am unable to predict where our brand is going, and I still give advice or heavily complain (laugh) on things I disagree with. I point that out only because our newer staff do not understand tamaki niime brand history. I simply try to eliminate things that are “it-must-be-like-this”.

Because of our growth into such a large team, I hope each of us will be able to demonstrate our strengths and complement each other. Therefore, I feel the need to gathering a diverse staff with various characteristics. For example, suppose some people are particular about sales and people who are particular about creating. In that case, they can have open discussions with each other, we do not have to ask for everything to be perfect. However, it is essential to have an understanding of each other’s tasks, for example, for interns, we give them opportunities to experience sales, and so on.

Creators also go to interact with our customers.

Our male staff from the “Weave team” are on a business trip to a department store in Nagoya right now. I used to help sales and customer care on sight when I started my brand. So I know that even if you are a creator, it must be hard to keep motivated unless you experience both the joy of being told that you are good and the sadness of being told that you are not acceptable by real customers. Of course, that can make anyone discouraged. There were times when I was also confused because there was too much information from the customer. However, various different people wear them, not just yourself. Listening to what they really feel when wearing them and having an honest understanding of their needs is an education. It all begins from there. After all, the value of our brand comes from the purchaser using and wearing it for a long time. The story doesn’t end at the time of purchase. I want them to be valued and used even after it becomes tattered and torn… The history of a product starts from the point of a customer’s purchase, so I think it must be a fantastic experience for creators to be there at that moment when its history starts. So, I encourage our creative department staff to go on site.

It’s obvious. Experiencing the store sales operation enables them to realize the differences. Between imagination and real voices, or between information that is reported and the information you hear directly from the end-user. Because with real voices, there is emotion in it. It will bring you more joy or more sadness. (laugh) I am hoping the experience will encourage their creative passions, motivating them to try harder. They will know for sure that they need newer, softer things of better quality.

From last year’s rookies to this year’s rookies

Since we have so much more staff and the number of “minds” increases, I am excited to see more variety in exciting ideas coming forth.

More diverse talents have joined our team. There are quite a few team meetings that I do not participate in, but I feel that there is no problem because they seem to be having relatively heated discussions, even without me.

The executive committee of the 3rd-anniversary event “Mittsu-kai” this summer has already been set up. I feel like, “Oh, great! It seems that things are going well without my supervision.” Last time, we let the newbies do a newcomer project, and the representative of the previous year will be oriented to this year’s newcomer team. It was interesting to see that they advised newcomers, “Last year we did something like this. Do your best too.” That has shown that they can “delegate” the task to subordinates. That is wonderful. I observe and feel our work somehow acts as a learning environment, much like a school. Well, I guess life is a never-ending learning journey.

Original Japanese text by Seiji Koshikawa.
English translation by Adam & Michiko Whipple.