We had the good fortune of connecting with Yuki Katayama and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yuki, what do you attribute your success to?
People. As a small business, I feel that it is essential to nurture and cultivate human relationships, not just with clients and staff but in my case with papermakers, craftspeople, vendors, and shipping carriers that make sure that all aspects of the business run smoothly and with (relatively) no hiccups. We are fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive network of people that we have built close working relationships with over the years – a network that has been a helpful support system in navigating through the global pandemic.
What should our readers know about your business?
Hiromi Paper is the go-to for quality handmade and machine-made papers from Japan and around the world. We pride ourselves in building personal relationships with the papermakers and craftspeople that we work with, which I believe helps to maintain the high level of quality that we offer. Hiromi started the company in 1988 with a background in art and Japanese papermaking. At the time, she had a dear art conservator friend that helped develop connections with other conservators and conservation studios around the country. The connections helped, but it was not an easy task to develop the company to the successful one that it is now, especially in such a digital age that we live in. I’m sure Hiromi herself encountered numerous challenges since she founded the company, but by far the biggest challenge we have faced is having to close down the retail part of the business during the COVID pandemic. Although we were still fulfilling phone and online orders during that time, we lost the personable shopping experience that comes with shopping at a retail location. Now, our retail showroom has opened up and anyone is able to walk in for in-store shopping. Hiromi Paper also hosts various types of paper related workshops such as bookbinding, kite making, printmaking, etc.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Depends on the friend, but if they want a classic Los Angeles experience, I would probably take them to Musso & Frank to eat at some point. I personally remember being taken there when I first moved here, and immediately fell in love with the Old Hollywood ambiance. Another essential stop in Los Angeles is the beach. I surf regularly, so I am not sure where the best beach to lounge at is, but maybe a stop at Santa Monica/Venice Beach to do some people watching and walk along the boardwalks.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There wouldn’t be a Hiromi Paper without Hiromi, the person that started it all. Her background in art and papermaking is what kicked off Hiromi Paper as a mecca for high quality Japanese papers for fine art and art restoration purposes.