Beloved readership! PingMag just had its three-year anniversary. Already?! We still feel so fresh and bubbly! Over here in our Harajuku headquarters we were preparing to uncork the bottles and cut the giant cake. Yummy! And while we danced merrily around the big white meeting table, holding hands — being careful with the origami animals that are standing around — Tom Vincent, our honcho, was giving a little speech about our new baby, the shopPingMag. Please listen:
“Japan is a treasure trove of wonderful things: ancient skills, cutting-edge technology, smart and sharp modern designs and super-cute craziness — and so much more.
For three years here at PingMag, and PingMag MAKE, we have had the gracious opportunity to chase down some of those people, and things those people make to tell their stories to the world. Telling stories is great. Letting people know about fantastic things they might not find otherwise, and introducing the creators is the very least that we can do. But we can do more…
For three years, you, beloved reader, have been asking us over and over again: ‘Where can I get one of these?’ ‘Can I buy this online?’ And almost every time we sigh, and the only reply we can give is, ‘Sorry, there’s no online shop for overseas…’
So, we decided to do it ourselves! We built shopPingMag.
shopPingMag is an online shopping site for Japanese individuals, artisans, creators and small-businesses to sell their products overseas. All is available directly from the makers or the specialty shop that handles their wares, and we will be presenting them to you from time to time.
We have only just begun. The system is new, and no doubt there will be hiccups. But over the next months and years even, we will be travelling all across Japan hunting down as many wonderful things as we can, and our hope is that, finally, all the many artisans, designers, individuals and small-businesses across the country will have the opportunity to open a new, direct (online) window to the world. And you, our beloved readers, will finally have a chance to get some of the novelties that Japan has to offer!
We are quite excited to invite you to our new venture, and welcome any feedback and suggestions you may have for shops and products in shopPingMag! Remember, your commitment has been the catalyst that kicked us into action, and has kept us cheerfully going. And your words of encouragement will keep shopPingMag buzzing, alive and Pinging!
Why is shopPingMag special?!
So let’s see what the shop has for you and what the people in it have to say about our idea. Take, for example, Tokyoartbeat known for their exquisite T-shirt editions with Tokyo-based designers. Just to name a few Ping friends whom you might be familiar with by now: Shantell Martin, Dainippon Type Organization, Alexander Gelman, Nobumasa Takahashi or PMKFA. They are delighted to present two new motifs in the shopPingMag: A delicate one by Tada Reiko of girls punk band Lakin’ The Kiiiiiii and an enthralling pink mantra by illustrator KO-ZOU.
Come in and have a look now!
Paul Baron of TAB says: “The shopPingMag is important because beyond TAB and a couple of other sites, it is really hard to read about Japanese creators in English, let alone buy some of their goods in an English interface! Can’t wait to see what kind of funky goods make it to the shopPingMag shelves!”
TAB and Ping “share the same passion, a passion to broadcast Japanese creative talent beyond borders, to make the inaccessible accessible!” Well put, Paul, thanks!
John Di Cesare of Di Cesare Design Inc, the wonderful Parashell parasol and umbrella maker (check out his unique shell-shaped parasols in our shop!) adds, “There is so much interesting and unique design going on here that is rarely seen outside of Japan. The Ping shop changes this! People who are interested in Japanese design finally have a venue to buy goods that up to now have been limited to an ‘only available in Japan’ audience.
giraffe’s funky ties…
… come in a great variety. Mind the bug! Grab them here!
And Norihiro Sunaga of uber-stylish giraffe tie maker thinks the new shopPingMag is the thing because:
“Japanese culture? Art? The fun things? PingMag has been introducing all the ‘good things’ of Japan as we know it today to the world from diverse perspectives. And the shop is a fantastic system that not only broadcasts but allows people to actually lay their hands on it and experience it!”
Yes! Yes! And we want one of your wildly patterned ties so badly! The one with pleats or the other one with pompoms.
A chic men’s handbag! By CLASKA. Over here!
Lastly, Dan Ushikubo of CLASKA, the chic design hotel in Meguro, Tokyo, with its special artisans-from-Japan gallery Do neatly sums it up:
“There is no similar place on the web for Japanese artisans’ works to get introduced to the world.”
It warms our heart to hear this! Especially when we check his goodies in the shop, ranging from artful chopsticks, a wind chime or a fine Yukata to a men’s handbag. We don’t have to tell you that this is so hot over here…
Easy To Use
shopPingMag is one quite special shop. Folks in it tell us why:
“The Ping shop concept is very designer/artisan-friendly. It’s ease of use and simplicity keep me free to work on design instead of having to worry about the complexities of online sales,” says John Di Cesare.
And Katsunori Aoki of butterfly-stroke inc. (BTF) affirms, “The nice thing about it is its easy-to-participate format, I think.
The fact that many creators from across the world are looking at the site perfectly matched our target and that’s why we decided to take part in it.”
ULATRAMAN’s Gander by butterfly-stroke inc…
… and his equally handsome companion called King Bokkuru. By BTF. Want it?
King-Joe Giant size of the ULTRAMAN series by BTF…
And the Mefirasu Seijin, also from ULTRAMAN by BTF. Get them here!
Yes, please! We have been waiting for your ULTRAMAN toys so loong!
OK, OK –: if you want something really sophisticated instead, make sure to roam around the galaxy in a glass cube by Living World, or one of their special hour glasses showing the time the sun’s rays take to reach earth…
We Did It!
And mind how many sleepless hours the Ping team spent on this beloved new shop. Setting it up was quite a task.
Paul Baron knows for sure from his own never-ending TAB work: “Putting a site like this together is an enormous task, and we should all lend a hand where we can to help the shop build a huge audience and also suggest new creators that we think should be on the shelves! Long live the shopPingMag and congrats to the team!”
The Ping Shop is “very significant/suggestive and still in progression,” chuckles Dan Ushikubo of CLASKA. Yes, very true! Lots of more joyous products, toys and gadgets are to come…
The last word at our anniversary and launch party has Norihiro Sunaga of giraffe about shopPingMag:
“ping!! ping!! ping!! ♪”
Folks, any suggestions for Japanese products and stores you’d like to have in shopPingMag are more than welcome!!