Around 10 minutes from the Kichijoji Station in Tokyo, a specialty store has opened up dealing in art made entirely by disabled artists at welfare facilities in Japan. As soon as you enter into this colorful store you are greeted by glass bead earrings, beautiful felt brooches, handmade purses and more. It seems like an eclectic art shop that you might find on the corner of nearly any small block of boutique shops, but this one is special.
The store manager Mitsuhiro Fujimoto stocks over 100 different products from 60 different facilities throughout the country. Although he works primarily as a buyer of the items and ran a successful company in the past, he went into business for himself when he was amazed at the quality of products he was able to buy from welfare facilities.
With the amount of time that each one of these creations takes as well as the designs, his store stocks well made products that are essentially designer quality. When he opened the store in 2011 he simply didn’t know about the high quality products and that they could become a strong selling line.
One of the suppliers for this store is the Mokuba nonprofit organization that creates inventive new designs for items like paintings, glass beads and more. With the inventive creations from this group and others the store is thriving.
According to the director of Mokuba, people working in the facilities are now looking for methods that they can use to sell these products as well as make them. The goal is to eventually honor these independent craftspeople by helping them to release their products their regular distribution channels like full-scale department stores and online retailers.
As people continue buying products through Majerca in Tokyo, they are supporting local craftspeople to get closer to their dream of releasing their products to a larger market through advanced distribution deals.