Michail Co., Ltd.
Representative Director Michail Gkinis / Producer Yuko Aoyama Gkinis
Pigskins from Tokyo that expanded the possibilities of designing.
Encountering this material led to Buy TOKYO Promotion Project.
Mr. Mikhail Michail Gkinis is a designer from Greece. He immigrated to Tokyo after studying fashion in London, attracted to Japanese textiles. He participated in the Tokyo Collection in 2008. He has built the brand together with the producer, Ms. Yuko Aoyama Gkinis. He is currently continuing his creative work, focusing on the “Wearable ART Shawl PLAIN CORNICE.”
High-tech textiles made in Japan, fabrics born from artisanal techniques, and pigskins from Tokyo are used to make the Wearable ART Shawl.
“Pigskin is lighter and softer than cowhide. It is an ideal material for shawls. It is an attractive material since you can express original qualities by performing various processes, such as punching.
The two who encountered this material conveyed their desires to the leather factory that “We want to share the possibilities of pigskin tanned in Tokyo to many people.” They were taught about several support systems from a Tokyo Metropolitan staff in charge of the leather industry. The Buy TOKYO Promotion Project was listed among the suggestions.
“I decided to apply for the Buy TOKYO Promotion Project from the point that I could focus on a unique material called pig leather and brand PR, and could work on initiatives with overseas advancement in mind.”
Conveying the world view is crucial for a brand.
Produced high quality visuals utilizing the expenditure subsidies.
Once the support started, Ms. Aoyama utilized the expenditure subsidies and worked on photo shooting brand images and model images, creating brochures and gift boxes.
“Creating visuals is crucial for a brand. Until now, we had been managing our limited budget. This time, using the expenditure subsidies, we asked professionals with advanced techniques in various fields. We also made a video introducing our brand for YouTube. We could express Michail’s world view without making any compromises.”
The brand also utilized the expenditure subsidies for initiatives to help many people know about the “Wearable Shawl,” a new category between clothes and shawls. It also exhibited at Pop-Up stores at department stores, worked on PR activities, and exhibited in exhibitions in Paris to raise awareness of the brand to the world.
MICHAIL GKINIS AOYAMA has actually been interviewed twice on television in the past two years.
The contents were about the exhibition in Paris and the Wearable ART Shawl. These contents especially received great responses.
Renewing the brand’s website and launching sales on Amazon after an exhibition.
Expenditure subsidies could be effectively utilized because of the hands-on support.
It is almost the end of the support period of Buy TOKYO Promotion Project for MICHAIL GKINIS AOYAMA. Reflecting on the past two years, the brand feels that “The greatest characteristic of the project was the hands-on support.”
“The Buy TOKYO Promotion Project supports you through not only the expenditure subsidies, but also through a professional advising you during the hands-on support. This was the greatest benefit we received.”
Before being involved in MICHAIL GKINIS AOYAMA, Ms. Aoyama was working on a job related to the web. She had always understood the importance of a brand's website. During the hands-on support, she asked for advice mainly about the website, utilizing social media, and PR activities.
“Based on the advice of our adviser, we changed the system of the website and commerce website when we renewed it. The problem we had of being hard to browse was fixed, making the display faster, easier to read and more complete than before. The new website uses a lot of special visuals created using the expenditure subsidies, which is another difference from the previous website. Sharing information from the new website also led to a TV program production staff discovering the brand.
When asked about what they would be focusing on now that the website has been renewed, Ms. Aoyama shared, “Now that we have exhibited in an exhibition in Paris, we would like to increase overseas sales through Amazon.”
“If we had just received expenditure subsidies, we may have not done anything after exhibiting in an exhibition. I believe that we can effectively utilize the expenditure subsidies for post-exhibition measures and continued initiatives thanks to the hands-on support.
Finding the direction the brand should advance was the benefit from the past two years.
The fashion industry is now experiencing significant changes. Ms. Aoyama, who personally feels this fact shared her thoughts with us.
“The strength of MICHAIL GKINIS AOYAMA is the fusion of Michail’s artistic design and my knowledge of the web. We will continue to advance the brand in original ways that differ from the conventional ways of the fashion industry.”
When asked about her future goals, she shared with us her heart. “We will continue to value offering services and experiences that make our customers happy above all else. Although we sell clothes and shawls, they are just tools. The goal is to draw the attractiveness of the person wearing it, so that they become positive, bringing happiness to them with a smile. Nothing makes me happier than to hear from our customers that they were ‘praised’ or their ‘work was successful’ when they wore our Wearable ART Shawl. I want to spread this joy to the world with the Wearable ART Shawl. And we hope to convey the splendor of Japanese textiles to each and every one of them, succeeding Japanese textiles technology.
I believe that we could find the direction the brand should advance in the past two years.