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Kaomoji’s 5-year anniversary: interview with James & Leticia

Kaomoji’s 5-year anniversary: interview with James & Leticia

やった! It’s kaomoji’s 5-year anniversary! It’s amazing to see how much kaomoji has grown and we’re really happy to have reached this point. Not only did we just launch our anniversary collection (which you should definitely check out here), we (James & Leticia) were also interviewed. We were asked questions about our favorite kaomoji moments, our wishes for the future and our experiences. Ready to find out what we answered?

“What inspired you to create kaomoji?”

James: In 2015 I started making anime t-shirts just for me. Soon after, friends of ours asked us if we ever considered selling them. We figured we could indeed start selling them, so that’s how kaomoji started. The name “kaomoji” was created with the idea that you dress the way you feel; you want to show who you are. kaomoji is also an homage to Porter Robinson’s Worlds album. He used a kaomoji for his album cover and since we love his music, it inspired us to pick the name kaomoji.

“What was your vision for kaomoji when you started? And has that vision changed in the past couple years?”

James & Leticia: Since the very beginning we only had one goal in mind: designing fashion that you can express yourself with, without being afraid of showing who you are. You can’t control what other people think of you and how they judge you, but what you can control is how you deal with it. You decide what you wear and how you feel. If you wear something that makes you happy, we are happy too. This vision never changed.

“What is the inspiration behind your designs?”

James: My inspiration comes from multiple sources. I check out different trends in Japanese streetwear, I watch anime, listen to Japanese music and play Japanese games. Often my designs are just intuitive. Whenever I design something, I ask myself if I would wear it myself.

“What is your favorite memory of the past couple of years?”

James: I think the journey itself is my favorite memory. The best part is that kaomoji brought us a lot of good friendships.
Leticia: My favorite memory is the first time we went to a convention in 2015. Another good memory is the friends we made along the way. Most of them are still very good friends of ours.

“What is your proudest accomplishment?”

James & Leticia: All the collaborations we have done so far. Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined that happening when we started five years ago.

“What did you learn the past five years? What was the most valuable lesson?”

James: Just do it. We started kaomoji without any entrepreneurship experiences. We just started because we liked doing it (and we still do!). Sure, you’ll make a lot of mistakes but that’s part of the deal. You’ll get through it and along the way you’ll figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. At least that’s what happened to us.

Leticia: Trial and error. I’ve learned to solve problems and stand up for yourself without caring about what other people think. I’ve learned to always do what feels good for me and for kaomoji. We do things for our experience, not for the result of the end goal. Because when you reach the end goal then there’s always another goal on the horizon. It’s never going to stop and it won’t ever be perfect. The journey itself is more important and we’re proud of our journey so far.

“Do you wear your own clothing a lot? If yes, which piece of apparel do you wear most often?”

James: Yup! I wear the studio kaomoji t-shirt and the Worlds hoodie a lot. Recently I’ve also been wearing our new socks a lot.

Leticia: Honestly? Not really. Only at conventions, but not in daily life. I like minimalism and keep my style very simple and clean.

“What’s your best-selling piece?”

James: At the moment it’s the facemask, which is no surprise considering we’re in a pandemic..
Leticia: Another best-selling item is the WORLDS hoodie and the Tsundere hoodie.

“What is your favorite anime and would you make merch for it? If yes, what would you like to see on a t-shirt?”

James: My favorite anime is Made in Abyss. The world building, characters and the storyline are amazing. It’s not the “cute” anime what it appears to be. I don’t think I would make merch for it, but I do think it would be amazing to collaborate with a Japanese animation studio! Who knows..

Leticia: My favourite anime is Naruto. I used to be a giant Naruto freak. I have seen every episode and never skipped one, not even the fillers! In my youth I spent so many hours (and tears) on this, I was living for this series. Not sure if I would want merch for it, though. Like I said, my style is simple.

“Important question: subs or dubs?”

James & Leticia: SUBS!

“Which anime character is most like you?”

James: Is Avatar the Last Airbender considered an anime? No clue, but I do think I’m similar to Aang. We even have the same personality type: ENFP! Aang is an air nomad and air nomads adjust themselves to their situation. I also always try to adapt and stay afloat, despite any roadblocks I encounter in life. I have a positive outlook on things and I’m very determined ?

Leticia:  I think I’m most like Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke. I’m also a bit shy, introverted and not great at communicating. But as soon as I get to know people better I open up and I can be myself. My personality type is INFJ-T. But since Avatar was mentioned.. I think I’m most like Zuko, because I definitely fit the fire element, without a doubt haha! I have a strong temperament and sometimes I struggle controlling my emotions, just like Zuko.

“Who or what would you like to collab with in the future?”

James: I think it would be amazing to collaborate with a vtuber! We already collaborated with Hatsune Miku twice.

Leticia: I would like a collab with our favorite music artist: Porter Robinson.

“Are there any new projects planned?”

James: Maybe there will be something coming this year? Who knows..

“Where do you see kaomoji in another five years?”

James & Leticia: Pff.. no idea. We do have a couple goals for kaomoji, such as opening a physical store at some point. We’d also like to have a small and consistent team of employees and in five years from now we still want to be running kaomoji with the same passion and drive we have at the moment.
If things don’t exactly meet our expectations that’s fine too, because to us it’s the journey that matters. That’s definitely something to look forward to!
We want to thank all our customers and fans for supporting our business. Without you we wouldn’t be where we are now. We hope to continue seeing you around!

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