We had the good fortune of connecting with KAZUYO TAKEDA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi KAZUYO, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started G.K.P. with the aim to create kitchen products that are environmentally mindful and have a one-of-a-kind design quality. We’re a woman-owned business based in Santa Barbara and we design sustainable, practical and beautiful kitchen products that can inspire our daily kitchen experience.
I originally worked as a designer for women’s clothing brands. When I had children,I took a break from work and became a full-time mom. I naturally spent a lot of my time in the kitchen cooking and baking. I realized certain essential kitchen items were missing–they didn’t exist on the market. One of those items was compostable trash bags. Every time I used plastic bags in my trash bins, I didn’t feel good about it – knowing that they don’t magically biodegrade in the landfill, that they end up in oceans, that they are generally harmful to the environment and ultimately to us as well. There were some ecological bags already available in stores, but they weren’t necessarily exciting in terms of their aesthetic qualities and very few of them were backyard-compostable. That’s when I decided to take things in my own hands and create the sustainable and inspiring kitchen products that were lacking. It took a few years putting everything together in order to create a trash bag – I needed start-up funds of course. Relying on my previous experience in the fashion industry, I started making aprons and selling them to friends and neighbors. Things gradually progressed from there: I opened an online store and was able to reach a wider range of customers. The aprons were a hit and thanks to the support of so many people, we are now proud to finally launch our compostable trash bags. They will be available this spring in a retail store for the first time at Erewhon Market in Los Angeles!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
n/naka, a modern Kaiseki-California inspired Japanese restaurant owned and curated by chef Niki Nakayama
Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, chi SPACCA – beloved Italian restaurants presided over by chef Nancy Silverton
Erewhon Market, a beautiful organic supermarket in 7 locations. They have everything that’s good for you!
Funk Zone, for wine tasting, great food and much morePublic Market, locally sourced food & drink
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, I appreciate each and everyone of our customers who have purchased our products and enjoy them! I am also very grateful for those incredible chefs who have inspired G.K.P. in one way or another: Nancy Silverton, Grant Achatz, Dan Barber, and Dominique Crenn. Christy Goldsby, the founder of Honey Mama’s has also given us a lot of positivity and inspiration. I’m also thankful to Elizabeth Graves, the editor in chief of Martha Stewart Living Magazine, who featured our aprons in the magazine last year. Lastly, I’m so grateful to my family who is always there for me.