Hello! Daryl here. I'm the founder of Musubi.
Before we talk about 2019 and 2020, I wanted to first thank each and every one of you for your support so far. When I founded Musubi in late 2016, I genuinely didn't know if any of this would work. I had a clear vision of what I wanted this company to do, and where I wanted it to go. In an era of unending commodification and the pursuit of profit above all else, we were to make a statement about craftsmanship and the worth inherent in a human life.
But, as you can imagine, telling someone they should spend a hundred dollars on a journal in order to make the world a better place is a rather challenging proposition.
The early days of the company were dark; many weeks and months passed without a single sale. I distinctly remember sitting in my bedroom with a stack of utterly gorgeous diaries, cursing my inability and incompetence.
Those dark days are behind us, now, but I still remember what they felt like. They convinced me, more than ever, that the fight for equal opportunity is not a sprint but rather a marathon, one in which we never stop running.
This past November, Musubi turned four. It's been a tumultuous rollercoaster journey every moment along the way — and I regret nothing about it. It's been my honour to have all of you by my side as we fight to give voice to the unvoiced and opportunities to those who lack them.
So what did Musubi get up to this past year?
2019 saw the atelier expanding both its product lineup and its social ambit. The biggest addition, of course, was our vintage kimono diary — an expression of craft, history, and culture at its purest. Clad in genuine gold and silver kimonos from as much as two hundred years ago, our signature diaries won many hearts and destroyed many wallets at each show we visited.
We also launched Musubi Labs, our experimental division aimed at bringing rare and unusual fabrics and papers to the forefront. These art-focused releases, including an out-of-production Japanese bamboo paper and the ultra-thin, cotton-laden Spica Bond, were extremely well-received, and we’ve tremendously enjoyed seeing what all of you have managed to create using these new mediums.
As always, though, our production is a means to an end. Funding created through the atelier’s sales helped power a slate of new social impact projects throughout the year, including support for traditional artisans and villages in Japan and Peru to help them cope with a changing society and the effects of global warming. And, of course, the atelier continues to foster the employment of artisans with disabilities at home in Singapore, ensuring that they receive sustainable opportunities to build a future for themselves and their families.
But our work never stops. So where are we headed in 2020?
Well, this year will finally see the arrival of the atelier’s new flagship Tomo system. This system of refillable covers and everyday notebooks is designed to be your constant companion for work, play, and all of life’s ins and outs.
Yes, we’re finally making refillable covers in 2020. You can stop writing us about these now.
Subscribers have already been able to purchase the first release in this system — our new, affordable folio notebook — a month in advance. I hope those of you who've received your new notebooks are enjoying them. For everyone else the notebook will appear on our website next week, on Jan 10.
What we haven't mentioned on social media so far, though, is how our social impact work is expanding in 2020.
This year, the atelier will expand its One Musubi program for the support of indigenous peoples to even more locations around the world. Joining our current Shipibo-Conibo artisans from Peru is a new village of Amaru artisans from high up in the Peruvian Andes. They bring their knowledge of traditional wool-weaving and hand-dyeing to the atelier in a brand new collaboration pictured below:
On top of this, we have collaborations on the slate with artisans from India — a breezy, classic indigo cotton for the summer — and as far away as Finland and Wales. We'll have more to say about these projects in the coming months, but know that I'm as excited as I can possibly be about both the recognition and the financial benefit we can bring to these communities.
I end this missive with my personal thanks, as always, for helping us light candles in the dark. I'm proud of the work we've done in 2019, and grateful for your support every step of the way. In 2020 and beyond, we’ll continue, together, to make a positive difference in the lives of those who need it the most.
on behalf of everyone here at Musubi