Ever try to get away from the city and find yourself in a little place called LITTLE TOKYO? Before you realize it, you walk into these stores that sell things from the latest Pokemon, to some really unique characters that we may be a bit unfamiliar with – but that is not the case for everyone. It’s exciting to know that for a brief moment, you can get away from your reality and soon enough begin to build this itch to obtain more imported goods. This is why we LOVE the internet.
A few years ago, Audrey Lamsam ran a blog that helped to translate interviews and press from Japan for the masses. This was before the hit of social media mayhem, but she had a solid following that would send requests and she would deliver. One day, she got a request that was not like the rest; she was asked to assist sorting a specific item and she did. This sparked a light. Audrey figured if one of her fans wanted this item there could be others out there, so she placed a pre-order. This SOLD OUT. It was exciting, so she decided to try it once more, and the results were the same…then the thought of maybe there was more to this began.
Soon after, an account on STORE ENVY was opened and the occassional “kuji” (lottery) was loaded for purchase. The demand increased to the point that a decision needed to be made. The difference here was that Audrey actually liked her job as an Online Marketer. Traditionally, people hate their job and leave to build a dream, instead she had to make the decision to leave a job she liked, for something that was a risk – but felt right.
That year, AITAI KUJI was born. Aitaikimochi was her pen-name from her blog, which translates to “I want to see you,” and “Kuji” was used as the first products that were made available on her site, which are commonly known as KUJI items in Tokyo. However, now their selection has since expanded from KUJI items to all sorts of different anime products you can think of! They have also created their own custom e-commerce website to sell their products on and went from one employee to a team of currently 8 people, which was a huge step in moving forward.
But what is really available on this site? Anything really. You can find items from Forks and Spoons, to Clothing and Collector Items. Our favorite? A whale plush that was handed out at an LAFM Magazine Press Party! But this is not what makes the store special. It’s that the items available are exclusive in Japan and all considered limited edition, this is why majority of the items need to be ordered through a preorder that are 4 months out. The perfect gift for anyone that needs something unique.
So while you might sneak away to little Tokyo form time to time, it’s always nice to know you can visit Japan at a click of a button thanks to Audrey…but not to worry. She shared with us that while they are heavily active on social media, they are in talks of opening a flagship store in the future. Where you may ask? Little Tokyo, Los Angeles of course!