Josie Bicknelle - May 12 2023

We're going to Japan!

Hello lovely reader! We wanted to give you guys a little life update so as not to completely blindside you when it comes around in June.

We’re going to Japan!

This has been a trip that Rob and I have been planning pretty much since we got together almost three years ago. You may be thinking, ‘why japan?’, or, ‘what does this mean for the business?’. I am here to answer all questions and quash all concerns.

As many of you may or not be aware of, Rob is half japanese. His mum, Aki, is Japanese, and his dad, Phil, was born and raised in the south of England.

Following their divorce, when Rob was just a teenager, his mum moved back to her first home; Tokyo. Although this may have been a little difficult to deal with, Rob was committed to either travelling to see her in Japan every few years, or for her to come and visit in the UK.

Rob’s been travelling to and from Tokyo his whole life - first to visit the one half of his family who live over there, and now to visit his mum and grandma who live together in the capital city. The most recent visit he made was in the summer of 2018, in which he spent six weeks there, enjoying Tokyo and time with his family.

His next visit afterwards that he had planned was going to be in the summer of 2020 with a bunch of his mates. I’m sure you can all probably see where this is going.

He and his friends had their flights booked, and their itineraries planned. It was going to be an epic, eventful ‘lads holiday’ to see the sights, reunite with Rob’s mum and have one last big holiday before moving into their twenties.

Fatefully, of course, just a few weeks after they had booked their tickets, Covid and lockdown hit like a wildfire, burning down any and all future plans that they’d had.

Ironically, in hindsight, both Rob and I are now actually quite grateful for this trip being cancelled. If it had gone ahead as planned, we would have possibly never met each other. Rob could be living an alternate life somewhere else, with a girl he’d had an adorable meet-cute with in Tokyo, and growing a candle company with somebody else.

The downside, of course, to this trip being cancelled is that Rob now hasn't seen his mum, his grandmother or any of his extended family in a long, long time - around 5 years, to be precise.

All he’s been doing in his downtime in the past six months is watching YouTube videos of people vlogging their trips to Tokyo; watching them eat their ramen in Osaka, or basking in the glorious Japanese countryside. He clearly misses it dearly.

So much so that I remember a moment, around a year ago when Rob came to me, tears forming in his eyes, pleading for me to save any money I had to put towards going to Japan.

We’d been planning to go for a while, but the idea had seemed so daunting - to go for a long amount of time, away from work, and not knowing what the future of the business even looked like.

I could tell how much this meant to him, and how desperate he was to reconnect with the Japanese culture that lives inside him. So, in December 2022 - with a lot of very kind financial support from my amazing Dad - we had a phone call with Rob’s mum discussing dates, and finally booked our flights!

We’ll be away for three weeks at the end of June, going into the first week of July. We’re so, so ridiculously excited - for Rob to reunite with the country and people he misses so much, and for me to eat as many authentic Japanese gyoza as I can possibly stomach. And to meet Rob’s mum for the first time, of course.

The next point I wanted to touch on, though, is, ‘what does this mean for the business?’.

When you own a small business, run by just two people, walking away from it for three weeks sounds like an absolute nightmare. Everything in this business - the marketing, the production, the shipments - relies solely on the two of us. It’s a really scary thought that we’re going to spend three weeks not working, not sending out orders, not marketing nearly as much.

We need some sort of plan whilst we’re away just to keep the company afloat, and though we’re still in the process of fine-tuning it, this is what we have in mind so far:

From the 9th of June till the 12th of July, all of the products on our website will be available for pre-order.

Any orders that we receive before June 9th will be made, boxed up and shipped out before we leave for our trip, and any pre-orders that are made whilst we are away will be made, boxed up and shipped out as soon as we get back to the UK.

We’re still going to be replying to as many of your emails and DM’s as we can whilst we’re away, and we’ll be posting updates and videos as frequently as we can to keep you all in the loop.

It’s really, really scary to fly to the other side of the world and leave our business to sit and collect dust for almost a month, but honestly, I think we deserve it.

I know that a lot of fellow small business owners will relate to this statement - we haven’t really had a break from working for almost two years now.

Rob hasn’t been on a holiday since 2018, and I haven’t since 2019. It’s about damn time that we stop letting guilt and anxiety rule our lives, dig our passports out from the back of the cupboard, and go and escape for a little while.

I hope that all of you can sympathise and understand our decision to head off for a bit! Please, please, please don’t forget about us while we’re away. We have a lot of fun and exciting new ideas planned for the next few months, so you might want to stick around.

Again, thank you all for supporting our small business and journey so far - it’s what keeps us going and means the world to us both!

Some more blog posts you might like...

It's time for a change

Jun 06, 2023 Josie Bicknelle

Summertime self-hatred

May 24, 2023 Josie Bicknelle

We're going to Japan!

May 12, 2023 Josie Bicknelle


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