One Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and having a cup of tea when something caught my eye, enough for me to tweet a reply to. A whole conversation then ensued, as relayed below:
MASATO JONES: There are many bank holiday sales this weekend please try the independents online or in store and allow talent to breathe
ME: Bravo. Well said!
MASATO JONES: so many close each week it’s heartbreaking we cannot match prices that the big retail offer however ethical & hand crafted
ME: I know & so frustrating for designers as I believe creativity isn’t a choice it’s the only way some of us know how to live!
MASATO JONES: that’s true and sometimes it’s a choice do we continue to skip meals & wait until interest gains again or pack up sometimes the
MASATO JONES: latter as to be the option rarely talked about as many have this idea you bring negativity
ME: For me, I manage by never overspending having a small part time job & never giving up hope that hard work will pay off….
MASATO JONES: similar to us we ghost design for well known brands & Mike has a day job (the tweeter) funds the label in dry periods
ME: I think there is always a way to continue doing what one loves & the desire to succeed is healthy and keeps the creativity alive
MASATO JONES: would be an honour to meet you Holly
ME: And vice versa! I’m based not far from London…we should make that happen! Would be happy to come and visit you.
MASATO JONES: we are based in Paddington
ME: No problemo. Lets meet up. I feel a creative brainstorm coming on. DM me your email and we’ll sort something out.
And so, after a few more tweets back and forth, we had set a time and a place to meet: Friday the 9th of May, 6pm, Cafe Nero Spring Street, Paddington.
Despite the fact that Masato Jones has over 130, 000 followers on Twitter the company isn’t faceless, far from it! I found it interesting that such a direct exchange could take place over social media and then be extended to the “face to face” real world. It’s often so hard to get a reply to an email from a successful designer, let alone an arrangement to meet up for a drink! I didn’t have any particular agenda in mind when I set off to meet Mike and Masato, I just wanted to have a chat and find out a bit more about them as they had already sparked my interest by being so upfront about the highs and lows of working in the creative industry.
The main reason for my being in London on Friday night was to meet up with my artist pal Ben Mellor en route to France. I already had a fairly large bag packed and didn’t want to lug loads of work related items too, so I put a couple of my scarves and some greeting cards in my bag and scurried off to Paddington.
Thoughtfully, Mike tweeted me to let me know he’d be wearing the Silver Bunni Masato t-shirt (you can buy one here ) so I would recognise him when he arrived. We settled down with cups of tea and had a great natter about fashion, hotels, the role of social media, mural painting, day jobs and various other subjects. We were so immersed in conversation we didn’t notice the cafe emptying and eventually we were ushered outside as the cafe closed. It was now getting late and I had to think about dashing over to the other side of London to meet my friend. Masato hadn’t yet turned up as he had been working that day designing for Giles Deacon but he phoned Mike and asked if I could hold on for a couple of minutes as he was literally running down the street to meet me.
I was really rather touched when I saw Masato running across the road in a jumper and orange coat looking slightly hot and bothered (it was a warm evening) just to get there before I had to leave. Mike asked me to get my scarves out to show Masato and we had a giggle as I said I felt a bit like a street hawker unzipping my bag on the pavement to get out the goods. Masato recognised straight away that I had drawn the designs by hand and asked me what I used. I pulled out one of my faithful Papermate pens and a look of recognition spread across his face “Ah, I know these pens, I have these pens too.”
We chatted for a few more minutes and there was brief talk about selling my scarves on the Masato Jones website, which I would be honoured to do! I was gutted that the evening didn’t allow time for me to visit their studio, which they had kindly invited me to see, but time was ticking on. Masato and Mike walked me across the road to the bus stop and we hugged goodbye, as we had done upon meeting (which is unusual for me, I’m not a natural “hugger”) but with Mike and Masato it came naturally as I felt I had truly just met two lovely human beings, two people I hope to meet with and talk to again in the future!
Find out more about Masato Jones and his beautiful designs here