By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern
On May 11, we welcomed three creative women to our monthly meeting: Henna Veitch, a jewelry designer; Betty Sayn-Wittgenstein, a chocolatier; and Natale Adgnot, a visual artist. They joined us to discuss creativity and share their stories of following their dreams to become creators.
Henna Veitch saw her opportunity to change her path and launch her jewelry business when she moved to Tokyo 18 months ago. She originally started a corporate job in the science field by “accident,” since there were no textile jobs in her native UK. But she knew that job wasn’t what she was truly passionate about. The support from her family and another “accident” upon arriving in Japan — breaking her ankle and forcing her into isolation at home — fed her creativity, leading her to begin Design by Henna.
Betty Sayn-Wittgenstein also found herself at a turning point when the bank she was working at went bankrupt and was acquired by another company. She decided to get away from the laptops, cellphones, and desk work, and instead found herself applying for an internship at a chocolate atelier. She immersed herself in life at the atelier, discovering a new world and a newfound sense of freedom through her chocolate creations. What she didn’t know was that her 6 week ‘just for fun’ internship would turn into 7 years, a passion, and a new career. She is now gearing up to open a storefront for Passion Chocolat in Tokyo.
Natale Adgnot had been creative from her childhood, and the feedback she got when she was young fueled her passion. She faced a minor setback when it came to entering the college of her dreams, but she managed to convince her parents and majored in graphic design, studying samples that her grandmother, an interior designer, had left behind. A chance meeting on an airplane led her to internships in Washington, D.C., allowing her to meet people from around the world and kick-start her life as an artist. Natale now exhibits her artworks in galleries throughout Tokyo.
Upon being asked if the process of creativity was solitary and how it felt, all three women had different answers. Henna said that because there are so many different mediums of expressing creativity, not all of it is solitary. For her, the process is exhilarating and a sort of high. Betty added that the process of creating is in fact a social one as she gets to meet inspiring people in her field. She also mentioned that seeing her clients smiling after buying her chocolate makes her happy and motivated. Natale agreed that you need to be introspective to find your authentic self, but rather than a high, the process of creativity was a moment of peace for her, allowing herself to tune everything out and focus on her art.
While parting with their own pieces can be difficult, all three women agreed that parting with their creations legitimizes their work. Natale explained that she enjoys imparting happiness to other people, rather than keeping the works of art to herself. Betty agreed that she always tries to make a recipe better every single time for her clients’ enjoyment. Henna also enjoys making custom pieces that incorporate the stories of her clients. Each woman expresses a part of herself by sharing her work. As Natale said, sometimes you need to plant seeds and hope that they will grow, even if you won’t be there to see the fruit. You have to hope that somehow you are making a difference with your actions, work, and creativity.
Creativity is a phenomenon where something new and valuable is created. We are all capable of it. Curiosity is what leads to creativity, allowing you to discover something in yourself that you didn’t know was in you.
We are excited to see where Henna, Betty, and Natale’s paths will take them next and hope that they will continue to inspire and share their creativity and beautiful work.
Stay curious, stay creative.
June 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: Mentorship and Networking
The FEW Women’s Start-up Club wrapped up the year on June 29, with a timely presentation on mentoring and motivation for entrepreneurs by Patricia Bader Johnston. Patricia’s career in Japan has spanned the public sector, including the Canadian Embassy, and the private sector, including positions at Goldman Sachs and Japan Tabaco, corporate decision-making as a […]Published on 1st August 2017
Event Recap: Few & Mirai no Mori Concert For a Cause
What a night! On behalf of all of us at FEW, a great, big thank you for joining us for Concert For a Cause! On a balmy, summer night, FEW members, friends and performers got together at British pub 2nd Half in Takadanobaba for a night of music to raise funds for Mirai No Mori, an NPO providing […]Published on 14th July 2017
How I Got Here: Joanna Sato
I look through the windows of my Japanese home at the cityscape of Tokyo and I see how my life has been a series of navigating varied landscapes. The landscape I inhabit now is very different from the one of my hometown in the south of Poland, where my journey began. I first left home […]Published on 30th June 2017
July Strategic Partner News
Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and […]Published on 29th June 2017
Q&A with tailor Melanie Uematsu
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘One Size Doesn’t Fit All,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with our speaker, tailor Melanie Uematsu. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Hear about women’s love-hate relationship with the fashion industry, why one style doesn’t fit all, and how […]Published on 28th June 2017
SAVE THE DATE - September Monthly Meeting
Join us September 14th as we kick of the 2017-2018 FEW Year with our first monthly meeting. A great chance to learn, connect and be inspired!
SAVE THE DATE - September Women's Start-Up Club
Do you run your own business or are you thinking of starting one? Join the first FEW Women's Start-Up Club of 2017-2018 to share your projects and passions and connect with other like-minded when who may be able to help you in your entrepreneurial journey.