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Japanese Designers Thrive with Business Support

Man and woman laughing at work table
Man and woman laughing at work table

Like many others during Covid, Hero and Motoko (Modo for short) had to readjust their working world. Originally from Tokyo Japan and now living in Cairns in Far North Queensland, their normal work had suddenly ceased so they found they had a lot more time on their hands.  Being creative people, they started exploring design tools to make Japanese and Australian-nature inspired jewellery and home wares.

Modo said, “My partner and I, Hero, started our business during Covid, and we had an opportunity to learn, using the laser cutter for our designs. Then we were like ‘oh it’s so fun’ and so we kept making. Then we thought maybe we should start a business!”

Since their very beginning, H&M Craft has steadily gained momentum through building awareness and selling at local markets in the region. Their designs are gaining a strong following and include stunning wooden jewellery, intricate Japanese lamps and some fun, quirky gifts.

Modo and Hero decided to seek support through the Self Employment Assistance (SEA) program to enable them to increase their business knowledge, improve sales pipelines and grow their business.

As Modo said, “When I wanted to start, I didn’t know anything. I searched online but it’s so difficult to find all information; so, I just go there and talk with the staff – and they encouraged me to start the program.”

Small Business Coordinator, Hilde, said of Modo and Hero’s journey, “What I love about working with Modo and Hero is their modesty and witnessing how well they’re doing in their business.

“We help people overcome the challenges of starting a business by providing training, mentoring and simple steps to work towards, depending where they are at. The most rewarding part of my job is giving people the confidence to follow their dreams and build a business they love.

“The feedback we get from participants is great. They appreciate the support of having someone on their journey.”

Modo’s encouragement to anyone considering starting their own business is, “If you want, just start! Don’t worry about failure, just do it. There are always people who can help you.”

The Australian Government-funded Self Employment Assistance program, delivered by BUSY At Work in the Wide Bay and North Queensland regions, offers no-cost mentoring support for people who have already started their own business and need some extra support, or people on Centrelink benefits who are interested in starting their own business.

Find out more about the Self Employment Assistance program.

Watch more about Modo and Hero’s journey with the SEA program.

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