Finally sitting down to write this post at the end of 2017, marking 6 months of Ichiko Bento boxes, it’s the perfect time to review and take stock of this crazy year! Ichiko Bento was in the planning stage since this time last year, and it is amazing to see this idea, this dream, come to life. Of course, then life gets in the way. In June this year, due to family commitments, I had to up roots and go to China with my family, just a month before the launch box. Everyone was so excited about the box and there was a real buzz. Everyone seemed to ‘get’ it!
The July box was then delayed and we had major issues with the fulfilment centre I used to pack and send those first boxes - not the ideal start by a long shot. But on the whole, we were thrilled with the response. From the beginning I wanted to bring a mix of Asian beauty products and lifestyle goods in one cute package, like a present from a faraway friend, an experience that would make you smile and feel your best self. In a way, Ichiko Bento was born through the love of travel and Asia, and it was through missing that - the country, friends, food, experiences - that I thought of a way to experience it when back home in the UK. (The business nerd in me was also intrigued/obsessed with the subscription box model).
We’ve had some great boxes and great products, from Korean beauty Holy Grails to little-known Japanese brands, not forgetting the cute Korean stationery. Halloween was a bit - weird - when we went with some deluxe miniatures and scarily themed and cultural goods like the Japanese lucky cats and owls. Unfortunately the shipping was all over the place. I hold my hands up for that. With two young kids I only get an hour or so in the day to work on the business, sometimes not even that. Then I work till about 1am. I’ve never has sleepless nights before this box. With loooong shipping times, customs and super-tight margins, it was never going to be easy but we muddled through, and learnt a million business lessons in the process. Not least the importance of a good VPN while in China (can you operate a business without email, Google, Instgram, Facebook or Twitter? No). Also, being on top of customer service. You have given us some great feedback, made us smile and cry. And of course it’s all for you.
In 2018 we wish you the most amazing year. The best skin, of course, and the most happy, healthiest you can be! We will continue to improve our bentos - the next year will see some improved packaging changes, improved customer service and engagement on social media, and a revamped website. We’ll be getting our products spot on: the most wanted brands and products, new discoveries, more Japanese products, and more emphasis on our own selection of lifestyle accessories.The bentos are just the start - we have big ideas for the future. We can’t wait to see yours! Thank you for your support, it means the world.
All the best,
Joanna and the team at Ichiko Bento.