Shining women suit shining teeth.
I’ve been working for teeth whitening field for about 10 years,
and had my patients teeth shine and brighter as a dentist.
Recently I realized that I’d love to know people’s life more.
Normal life never exists.
Each woman has her own story.
These are super shining women that I’ve met all over the world.
I hope their words will help you to inspire your life.
Remi Kitabayashi DDS
Marie is a freelance illustrator and designer,
also the product designer of the bag brand C.MARIE.
Here is her story to share.
What is your profession?
I am a freelance illustrator and designer. I am also the product designer of the bag brand C.MARIE since February 2018.
I've heard that you were born in France, and now you live in Saga, Japan! Why did you come to Japan? Please tell us about your career path and your journey. What kind of education did you take after high school? Your products are made by special cloth. Did you study chemistry in university?
I went to university in Lyon, France, and studied foreign languages and international business there. During the internships I did, I had the chance to go to the Japanese firm of a French company that manufactures textiles for architecture. For the internship of my Master's degree I stayed in the field of textile architecture and got recommended to a company that is located in Saga, that is how I got there in the first place. At that time I had no special plan for when I would be back to France and the company offered me to stay and to work with them so I accepted ! I loved being in Saga and I was very happy to live here for some more years.
After a year and a half I decided to quit my job to start my own bag brand, still in Saga, with my husband, and that is how C.MARIE was born.
What is the best sales point of C.MARIE products?
The strong cloth? Water proof? Design?
I would say the textile of course. It is developed and made in France, a small city near Lyon. It is strong enough to last years and has a lot of qualities such as waterproofness, the color does not fade away with time, and it is really light weight. It is a vegan product, not made from animal materials, which is a very important point for us.
It is used as a substitute for leather. The usual use of this textile is benches and chairs in high end restaurants, hotels, pool sides, airports... It can also be used for the seats of yachts.
The textile company has importers worldwide and also in Japan. They know that we use their textile for our bags, we had the chance to meet with the CEO and to show him the products! They also provide us with advice such as how to sew it to have better results.
The bags are made by a craftsman based in Saga. I am very happy to deliver Saga's amazing craft skills to other places in Japan, and all over the world.
When is the best moment in your business?
When your customers purchase your product?
When you see someone is carrying C.MARIE bag in the city?
Those are two very good examples of the joys of this business ! I have another one : a lot of our customers send us letters, emails, and phone us to talk about how our bags changed something in their life and it is amazing to have this relationship with them. We only sell through our website and being able to build a human relationship with letters or conversations over the phone was something unexpected and really fulfilling right now. It is not just about shipping the product and byebye.
One of our male customers said he bought a bag as a present to his wife, and that his wife was so touched and happy she cried, it almost made me cry too after I heard it!
What do you like about Japan? What do you dislike about Japan?
(except there are many signals instead of round point!lol I agree with you.)
I like how a lot of things are easy compared to France. Paperwork can be tough sometimes but goes generally smooth, and sometimes so quickly ! I think I would miss this so much if I had to go back to France one day.
I don't have things I really dislike here, I think I am used to Japan now and accepted the country as it is... Maybe I'd like to have more vegetarian options in restaurants for example (it is still rare in the countryside haha).
In Japan, there is still kind of a pressure like "women should get married by 30years old". But in France, there are many couples without marriage and have kids. Do you think Japanese women have less freedom compare to French women? Where does the difference come from? Culture difference?
You are married to Japanese man. Do you feel any difference between Japanese men and French men? (For example, Japanese men tend to focus on work. But French men tend to help housework more, or something.)
One of the big differences is maybe that in France there is no tradition of "dekikon" (marrying after having a child by accident). My parents were not married until I was like 4, since I remember their marriage party lol. I think this tradition brings less freedom to both men and women here. Without the pressure of society, I think less people would be married by 30 haha.
I feel very lucky concerning my husband (and that is why I chose to marry him lol). We lived together before marriage, and for him helping housework, taking some time off, cooking... without being asked was normal and still is. When I met him he had a strong will to be his own boss, to manage his time as he wants and to build his own life and work styles. I knew we would agree on a lot of points ! And I think he is very happy that I don't yell at him when he wants to take time with his friends haha.
We respect and support each other's choices and will as equals, and that is what is the most important for me in a relationship.
You literally connect France and Japan, the cloth is from France, and Japanese craftsmen make your product by the cloth. That's wonderful idea.
What is your future goal? What is your dream? Having your own shop in Omotesando or Champs Elysees? Online shop is great, but some customers would like to hand in and touch your products before purchase. What do you think of the both digital and analog ideas?
We strongly consider the possibility of having a shop in the future.
But rather than places like Tokyo or Paris, we would like to have it in the town that welcomed us three years ago, Tosu (in Saga prefecture). We would really like to make it a place, not only for our bags themselves, but also for experiencing craftsmanship and Saga's artistry. Big challenge, a lot of planning and thinking, but I really hope this project becomes real one day !
Please give your message to Japanese women who want to find what they want to do and be independent! How we can find what we want to do like you? Any advice?
I would say that there is no ONE path to follow to have a dream life, which means that any woman can build the path that will lead her to the life she dreams of.
I studied sciences in high school, then business and language and now I am working as an illustrator and a designer. That was my dream when I was a child, and at that time I did not think it would become my daily life one day... Now it is !
Everything seems to be so difficult at first, it is sometimes, but living doing what I love for myself makes me forget the difficulties.
Just focus on what you like, whether it is your family, your job, an artistic hobby, a sport, and the rest will follow !
Thank you so much, Marie!
Her words are strong and smart.
It's true that there is no one path to follow your dreams.
We should be flexible and open-minded to our dream.
And we have to believe that one day it will come true.
Thank you for joining us, Marie!
Her product is amazing quality.
If you want to get more information,
please check her website.
〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前4-19-8 アロープラザ原宿122