Something from Japan

Something from Japan

When I went to Japan at age 20, I had no idea how it would go on to shape my perspective, my life, and eventually, Graf Lantz. The thing about looking through the lens of a different culture is that you tend to be more curious and notice small things that help you understand nuance. Sometimes they leave an impression so strong it becomes one of the reasons for starting a company.

I had opened a small English tutorial school in Otaru, Hokkaido. We had students of all ages, from 4th graders to retirees, and I quickly became fascinated with the one really cool thing they all had in common- a highly organized system of pouches and cases inside their handbags that would suddenly appear on every desktop as class began. I took notice because it wasn’t just dragging things out of a bag. Rather, like so many things in Japan, it seemed like a ritual. It turns out I wasn’t far off.

The value of preparation is hard-wired into the Japanese culture. One thing you don’t see is a pile of things in the bottom of someone’s bag. Everything has its reason and its place. What struck me was the sense of consistent dependability and that’s the point- it pays off. It’s practical. When we started Graf Lantz we made sure to incorporate that idea as a pillar of our values. We strive to create beautiful, useful things that last long enough to become a part of people’s lives and we owe it all to what my students taught me in a little school in a small port town in northern Japan.

Every year when Autumn rolls around we do our Fall Prep campaign. It’s a small collection of items we actually think of as useful tools for life. This year, from pencil cases to backpacks, leather folios to tech cases, our goal was to design simple yet effective pieces meant to help keep you organized and look good doing it.

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