We had the good fortune of connecting with Lillian Hanako Rowlatt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lillian Hanako, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Being consistent in the core values and message of our company and what we’re striving to achieve. Our mission has always been to share high-quality, artisanal products from Japan while supporting our local farmers, producers and their communities. We want our company to reflect the authenticity, integrity and traditions that go into our products and try to carry this into every aspect of what we do. When we first founded our company 2.5 years ago, we explored different marketing options, but quickly realized that if something wasn’t authentic then it wasn’t a good fit for our company and our long term goals. Being honest and authentic has been such an important factor in building our loyal community and strong brand.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Kokoro (written as 心 in kanji) represents the “heart,” “spirit” and “soul” in Japanese, and is the foundation of each of our hand-crafted Kokoro Care Packages.
Kokoro Care Packages delivers premium-quality, artisanal Japanese food straight from Japan to customers around the world. We work closely with local Japanese farmers and producers to support their communities, while sharing their stories and traditions. Each of our hand-crafted Care Package is full of authentic flavors of Japan and help people to learn about Japanese food and their philosophies around eating and wellness. We are proud of the community we’ve created, from the people living abroad who want to connect to Japan and the local farmers and producers who can now share their craftsmanship and specialty products with people from around the world. As we grow, we hope to be able to give back more to these local communities, especially in a country that’s facing a declining and aging population and is at risk of losing their centuries old traditions.
Being able to deliver these products to 35+ countries worldwide has at times presented numerous hurdles, particularly during the pandemic when shipping internationally became extremely difficult. But just as our local producers have managed to survive through generations of challenges, we have always remained focused on the bigger picture and the community we’re creating. Each Care Package we share represents the passion, hard work and commitment of our local producers, and we strive to deliver this quality and experience in every aspect of our business.
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?
Los Angeles is the best city to combine two of my favorite activities – eating healthy food and being active outdoors. I would take visitors to all the local farmers’ markets (Brentwood being at the top of my list and Tanaka Farms for a more hands on experience), on an eating spree through local neighborhoods (we could easily spend a day on Abbot Kinney, in Koreatown and Little Tokyo, and at Smorgasburg) and then on hikes outside the city with some time at the beach!
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?
I’ve always been so humbled and honored by the support I’ve received, and continue to receive, along my journey. In our original crowdfunding campaign, we were able to raise more than four times our initial target through the support of our family and friends (who continue to provide invaluable advice and feedback, and tirelessly share in our successes and struggles). In the early stages, other, more established members of our niche community were willing to share our story with their audience in order to support our vision. Our team is made up of hard-working, thoughtful individuals who proactively reached out to be a part of the work we do. Our network has grown through personal introductions and referrals, while word-of-mouth has been a key driver to our growth and success. We believe in the spirit of community and have always been thankful for the community that surrounds and supports us!
Linkedin: Lillian Hanako Rowlatt