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An interview with Studio Haru, a designer of Japanese-inspired stationery, apparel, and gift items

Studio Haru Interview

We conducted an interview with one of our artists, "Studio Haru", who creates Japanese-inspired stationery, apparel, and gift items. She also participated in our Japanese Maker's Market pop-up event on July 9, 2023.

We interviewed ‘Studio Haru,’ who is based in NY artist and she explained her brand and herself to us. She also talked about her experience at our pop-up event on July 9, 2023.You can check the details about the event she attended here

About Studio Haru

Handmade apparel stationary gift items brand

I don’t like showing my face in pictures generally because I am an extremely introverted and shy person, and thinking about it even more, it’s also because I don’t necessarily want to be recognized by the way I look/appear but instead I want to be recognized by my work. I am not looking for fame, that isn’t my cup of tea. All I want to achieve is to put a smile on people’s faces with our products.

Studio Haru’s website

Q/ Your brand deals with a wide range of items including clothing, stationery, accessories, and glassware. First of all, tell us your background story behind the brand name "Studio Haru.

I have worked in the fashion industry for a long time, and the experience made me feel that there can be constraints in the industry that limit an artist’s creativity. I love to freely craft new designs and products based on the inspirations in my head through the “try-and-see” process. But, there is an atmosphere in the industry where rough ideas and the process are not welcomed. I wanted to launch my own brand and give shape to my inspiration without any limitations.

The brand name Studio Haru comes from both my ability to speak Japanese and my favorite season, spring (“haru” in Japanese). However, the brand does not necessarily reflect the image of spring. For instance, Studio Haru’s brand colors are dark blue and earthy orange, instead of bright colors such as pink and yellow which are usually associated with spring. This is also because we value inspiration. We sell various items crafted through our own inspirations, not based on existing frameworks.

Studio Ghibli movies and Japanese food have helped foster my interest in Japanese culture since childhood. I have both Latin American and Chinese heritage and speak five languages: English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. I often attempt to include the essence of some or all of these five cultures in my work because I love all of them! Japanese culture, in particular, symbolizes the warmth of the Japanese community. I believe Japanese culture welcomes and accepts other cultures’ collaboration. As an artist with no background in Japan, I sometimes get worried that my works might “invade” Japanese culture. However, every time I participate in an event celebrating Japanese culture, I can feel that my products are warmly welcomed and my fear is groundless.

Strawberry glass cup
Hoodie designed by Studio Haru

Q/ How did you come to work as an artist in New York?

My grandmother and mother have had significant influences on my career as an artist. During my childhood, I used to watch my seamstress grandmother sewing and my mother making handmade clothes for my siblings and me. These experiences made me interested in creative work. My father, who is an entrepreneur, also inspired me to explore the idea of launching my own brand. Since I was a child, I have enjoyed crafting various handmade products, but making fabric products and outfits is particularly special; it allows me to feel connected to my grandmother and appreciate her. Thus, those products have a special presence in Studio Haru. 


Furthermore, after I started working in the fashion industry, I was able to combine my creative and fashion sides together. The reason why Studio Haru sells both creative items and fashionable clothing is because of this personal growth. Today, I am inspired by various things such as children playing in a local park in New York, dreams that I have at night, movies, music, food, etc. I write down my rough ideas in my journal every day and gradually turn them into designs and products. 

Play Ground loose sweatshirts

Q/ How did you come across “Japanese Artist Pop-up Shop”? What was good about joining the event, and what do you find appealing from an artist’s perspective?

I founded Studio Haru in 2019, but then the pandemic hit us. As a result, we were only able to sell items online for a long time. Last year, we were finally able to set up a physical booth at events and markets. Since then, we have proactively looked for events where we could participate as a seller, but at the same time, we have carefully chosen events based on the location and the participants’ demographics.


Studio Haru’s core customers are young people in their 20s and 30s, who are interested in Japanese and Asian cultures, as well as students who regularly use stationery. There are also many customers who prefer simple outfits. Thus, an ideal event for Studio Haru would be an indoor venue in the New York area, where there are many young people and heavy pedestrian traffic on weekends. Given these points, the Japanese Artist Pop-up Shop was an ideal event for us.


In fact, participating in the event was a huge success. Many people living in New York stopped by our booth and looked at our products. I was also able to receive new inspiration from the works of other artists. In addition to the location and the participants’ demographics at an event, I believe close distance with customers is also a success factor. At the Japanese Artist Pop-up Shop, the indoor setting allowed me to talk to many customers. This also makes me believe that joining the event was a success for us.

image from Japanese artist pop-up shop

Q/ Even though Studio Haru was founded four years ago, the brand has successfully developed many items and sells them domestically and internationally. What is the secret behind the success?

I am grateful to my husband, family, friends, and others who value my inspiration and support our brand. Currently, my husband and I manage Studio Haru. Due to the large number of items we sell, it can be very challenging for the two of us to oversee all of the production processes, event participation, and online transactions. However, my husband always supports me with the belief that “If you have an idea, you should try it!”


Also, my father shares a lot of business know-how with me. His advice backed the successful launch of Studio Haru. During the pandemic, we also asked for help from our friends and their friends to quickly set up our website and start selling items online. We often take photos of the items ourselves to post on the website, but if we need professional support, we ask our friends to introduce us to potential candidates.


With the support of various people, Studio Haru has been able to boost its popularity and trust as a brand. I am very grateful to those who have supported us. It is because of all of you that we have been able to come this far through our try-and-see process.

Q/ What is your outlook for the future?

Our short-term goal is to open a physical store. As for its location, we would like it to be in a lively place, like the East Village in Manhattan, with many young people and students. I opened a pop-up store in the East Village area in April 2023 and it made a good impression. It solidified the image of our future store.


In addition, we would like to expand our recently launched sub-brand “Grumpy Shiba,” which is embodied by a Shiba Inu character, and “Haru Penpal,” a project to match people who are interested in having pen pals. Grumpy Shiba is a characterization of my favorite dog breed, the Shiba Inu, and is a new initiative for Studio Haru. Although e-mails, online chats, and texts have become the mainstream methods of communication, Haru Penpal is looking for participants in the hope of facilitating cultural exchanges through warm, handwritten letters.


We don’t have any particular long-term goals as we are expanding the brand based on my inspiration. We plan to focus on opening our physical store in the near future. After that, I will keep working to get more people to know Studio Haru through further try-and-see process.

Studio Haru shelf
grumpy shiba

We sell Studio Haru's items on our Japanese handmade online store platform "niji"

Please check out our online store to find her creative items for sale!

Also many other Japanese handmade artists sell their items on our platform.

niji online store

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雑貨、アパレル、文房具のハンドメイドアーティストStudio Haruさんのインタビュー記事

Studio Haru Interview

2023年7月9日にニューヨークのブルックリンで開催された日本のハンドメイドPOP-UPイベントに参加された、Studio Haruさんへインタビューを行いました。

ニューヨークを拠点に活動されているハンドメイドブランドのStudio Haruさんへインタビューを行い、ご自身のブランド作品について語って頂きました。



Studio Haruの代表紹介

Handmade apparel stationary gift items brand


Studio Haruのオフィシャルウェブサイト

Q/洋服から文房具、アクセサリー、ガラス製品まで幅広く取り扱っていらっしゃいますが、ブランド名「Studio Haru」に込めた思いを教えてください



Studio Haruというブランド名は、元々私が日本語を話すことができ、また自分が一番好きな季節が「春」だったことに由来します。ただし、必ずしも春のイメージを先行させてブランドを作っているわけではなく、ブランドのイメージカラーは(ピンクや黄色といった春を連想させる鮮やかな色ではなく)、濃い目のブルーとナチュラルなオレンジ色にしています。これもインスピレーションを大切にしているためです。インスピレーションの赴くまま、いろいろなアイテムを作成・販売しています。



Strawberry glass cup
Hoodie designed by Studio Haru




また、ファッション業界で仕事を始めたことで、自分の中でクリエイティブな要素とファッションの要素が統合されて形になっていきました。Studio Haruでクリエイティブなアイテムと、ファッショナブルな洋服の両方を取り扱っているのも、こういった自分の中での成長が背景にあります。昨今では、ニューヨーク地元の公園で遊ぶ子供達や偶然見た夢、映画、音楽、食べ物など、様々なものからインスピレーションを受けており、思いついたことは日記に毎日書き留め、徐々に作品化しています。

Play Ground loose sweatshirts

Q/「Japanese Artist Pop-up Shop」との出会いは?出店してよかったこと、作家の立場として感じる魅力を教えてください

Studio Haruを創設したのは2019年のことでしたが、その後すぐにパンデミックとなってしまったため、長らくオンラインでのみ販売をしていました。イベントやマーケットで物理的に出店できるようになったのは、昨年のことです。このため、出店できるイベントを積極的に探していましたが、同時にイベントの開催場所や参加者層に注目し、出店するかどうかは慎重に見極めていました。


Studio Haruの主な顧客層は、日本やアジア文化に関心のある20〜30代の若者や、文房具を多用する学生です。シンプルな服装を好む顧客も多い印象です。こういったことから、理想的なイベントの開催場所は、地元のニューヨーク周辺で、若者が多く、週末でも人通りが激しく、作品を手に取ってじっくり選びやすい屋内の会場になります。こういった点を踏まえると、Japanese Artist Pop-up Shopは理想的なイベントだったと言えます。



image from Japanese artist pop-up shop


私の溢れ出るインスピレーションを受け入れ、ビジネスとしてサポートしてくれる、夫や家族、友人、知人の存在につきます。Studio Haruは現在、夫と二人三脚で運営しているような状況で、作品数が多いため、二人で制作や出店、オンライン販売の全てを切り盛りするのは大変なこともあります。しかし、夫はいつでも「アイディアがあるなら、やってみた方が良いよ!」というようなスタンスで、応援してくれます。








また、最近立ち上げた、柴犬のキャラクターをモチーフにしたサブブランド「Grumpy Shiba」や、文通に興味のある人々同士をマッチングするプロジェクト「Haru Penpal」を拡張したいと考えています。Grumpy Shibaは、私が大好きな犬種である柴犬をキャラクター化したもので、Studio Haruの中でも新しい取り組みになります。またHaru Penpalは、電子メールやチャット、テキストメッセージが連絡手段の主流となっている現代において、手書きの良さをあらためて実感してもらい、より心のこもった文化交流を醸成したいと考え、参加者を募っています。


インスピレーションの赴くままブランドを拡張しているため、長期的な目標は特に立てていません。目下の目標である店舗の整備に全力を尽くし、その後はまた試行錯誤を繰り返しながら、より多くの皆さんにStudio Haruを知っていただきたいと考えています。

Studio Haru shelf
grumpy shiba

Studio Haruの作品は弊社のオンラインショップで販売しています 。



niji online store