A hand towel served at the bar
The time came suddenly. One day, two years after I came to know about SAPEURS, I was having a drink at the bar I always go to. I was casually picking up a hand towel, folding it and unfolding it repeatedly, as we all often do when we are out of hand.
While I was repeating that, my hand towel happened to be shaped like a bow tie.
And I said to the owner,
"Look. My hand towel bow tie is ready. "
And then I let out a squeal of surprise when I realized something.
“If I could do a process like I'm doing now with a sheet of aluminum, I might be able to make a bow tie!”
The next day, as soon as I arrived at the office, I gathered all the staff together and
spoke to them.
“I think I can make a bow tie out of aluminum, so let's try it!”
Then everyone looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about.
“Our executive director is acting strangely again.”
There was such a strange atmosphere. But first I explained how I came up with the idea of a bow tie from a hand towel, and gave them an idea of how exactly we would process it to complete the project, and then we began to actually make it.
We had just enough free time in our work schedule at that time, so the prototypes went on and on. Before noon, the prototype of the bow tie I had in mind was ready. I was so convinced that I decided to try crowdfunding right away.
The prototypes I made in the early days were much simpler, not in the shape of a butterfly as they are now.
This model is the second prototype. We didn't have a definitive answer to the question of what to do with the surface treatment.
We were testing how much of a gradient we could achieve with two colors of anodizing.
My experience of running a financially strained business led me to dream of self-developed products, and I wanted to give a gift to a fellow married couple that would utilize my skills. With the discovery of SAPEUR, the products we develop are targeted at fashion items, and we end up with a bow tie with a bar hand towel.
That's how Metal Butterfly bow tie was born.
Six months later, we tried crowdfunding on "Makuake" from August to October of 2018. We received warm support from many people, exceeding 170% of our goal, and we were able to successfully reach our goal.
And the next year I went to Congo for the first time with the completed Metal Butterfly to meet SAPEURS.
The first chapter of our story of Metal Butterfly, I was determined to get to meet SAPEUR. When Metal Butterfly was completed, I knew that I had to go to Africa. I felt I had to output in my own way, because I was influenced by SAPEURS.
I don't know why, but with the completion of Metal Butterfly, I thought I could take the steps with them. And I thought that if I was going to take the steps, I should dance thoroughly.
And on April 28, 2019, in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, I was able to brilliantly meet SAPEURS and hand them a Metal Butterfly. It was such an amazing meeting and now they are our business partners.
We don't want to "support" them, we want to start a “business” with them.
What is my father's relationship now? He is a loving family member and a valued business partner to me. I embrace all of his strengths and weaknesses, and I have the utmost respect for his continued passion in a different area than I do. I believe in the potential of myself and my colleagues, and I am passionate about unlocking that potential in our daily work.
I also learned that in order to get along with people, it's important to trust them and change myself, not to wait for them to change or to get them to change.
I have a "role" in my life. Or maybe you could call it a "mission". It was a blessing to find it, and maybe Metal Butterfly bow tie is the embodiment of that.
I believe that SAPEUR's message, "We don't fight because our clothes get dirty," is a fragment of something. For example, it's not that they want world peace or not. The culture of dressing up in style and refining a gentleman's mentality has its essence in the history they have lived through, and that style is there for a reason.
There is nothing magical about a bow tie. But when we put on a bow tie at home and then head out to the party we will attend, we find ourselves in a different place.
A suit that fits your body. The balance of your hats, shoes and watches. The posture and gestures. In that moment, the light is turned on, the camera captures you, and your story begins.
Yes, this is the inner story of each and every one of us. There we don't have to fight with anyone. You are so attractive, you just need to have the best time there, with like-minded friends and wonderful people. We all have that kind of attraction in us.
I know this is a long story, but this is the story of how Metal Butterfly bow tie was born.
Thank you so much for reading it. I'm Shigeyuki Aoki.