Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariko Sato.
Hi Mariko, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I came to the United States in 1993 and wanted to become a makeup artist. I was so fortunate to be introduced to Tomomi Horikiri (the current owner of Kyoto Chidoriya Corp) by my neighbor in Tokyo, who was a good friend of Tomomi back in the day. Tomomi was already a very successful makeup artist in New York and I begged her (lol) that I would do anything and started to assist with some of her projects such as fashion shoots and music videos, etc. As years went by, my focus gradually shifted to skincare as I experienced severe skin allergies to chemicals while working as a hair assistant at a hair salon in New York City. So when Tomomi offered me to join her when she was ready to establish an original organic/natural skincare brand “Chidoriya corp.” in New York, of course, I said YES! without knowing what to expect! I have been with Chidoriya since 1999; after all, it was the best decision I have made.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Oh, No Way (lol)! When we first started Chidoriya corp. in New York in 1999, started importing really unique and traditional products such as Nightingale Droppings, Azuki Red Bean Exfoliant, Komenuka Rice Bran Wash, Pure Tsubaki Camellia Japonica Oil, Blotting Face Paper and more.
Most of our products are made with food ingredients from Japan. The philosophy of Chidoriya is “we are what we eat.” and skincare should be made of natural ingredients because your skin can absolve much more than water.
American people had no idea about what they are and how to use them or how they work on the skin. There were no training manuals for either of us for Tomomi and I…we had to train ourselves first in order to market the brand! Tomomi and I are like sisters or married couples almost. We lived and worked together, laughed a lot, and sometimes we argued as well. But we always maintained the great business and friendship between us. I am so grateful of that.
They say, “You and Your Partner Should Never Go to Bed Angry,” valid for business partners.
Ultimately, the rich history of Kyoto Chidoriya, originally established by Osamu Horikiri (Tomomi’s father) helped intrigue the audience, and we have had great success at our very first Ex-tract show in New York in 2000. Now our US office is relocated in Chicago (since 2016) and I love it.
When the pandemic lockdown started in March 2020, I did not know what to expect for our business. However, our online sales increased dramatically and we could survive and thrive. I was so grateful of our customers who believe in us and kept our company going. We would like to take this opportunity to say THANKS SO MUCH to our customers and our manufacturers/suppliers who continued to support us. Now that most businesses started opening up, we plan to go back to our retailer like Merz Apothecary in Chicago on some Saturdays to promote and assist customers with our brand. We missed people!
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am the director of sales and marketing for Chidoriya corp. in Chicago. Being the window for wholesale and retail clients in the US and oversea (except in Japan and other Asian countries) gives me fantastic opportunities to interact with people who love or are interested in our brand.
We have a few very talented people working with us here in the Chicago office to take orders and packing/shipping orders.
Most of our products need hand wrapping and extra packaging before going out.
I also love writing hand-written notes to each client for our online store “chidoriyaworld.com.” So we are pretty busy and productive all the time. It is all good!
I am also in charge of sourcing the best ingredients for majority of our skincare products.
Lastly, I am a licensed Esthetician in the IL State. I sometimes offer chidoriya facial treatments to a handful of customers at home in Chicago.
What was your favorite childhood memory?
I enjoyed fireworks or flying a kite with my father in the Summer of Hiroshima. I must have been around 5~6 years old. Around 13 years old, I really enjoyed watching music videos by Culture Club and mesmerized by their beauty and art.
When I was about 14-year-old, my friend and I would go back to her place after school and make fresh brew black coffee, open a box of snacks, and dance like crazy to music (like footloose!).
- Original Pure Camellia Japonica Seed Oil 50ml $38
- Hydrating Facial Soap – Pure Silk + Rice Bran 2oz. $14
- Peach Moon Herbal Water Spray 4oz. $39
- Imperial Rose Oil 1oz. $32
- Imperial Rose Serum 1oz. $39
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.chidoriyaworld.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chidoriyaworld/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chidoriyaworld-131075360252936/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/chidoriyaworld
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK-dRtJKOb4
Joshua Tammaro @ allaboutyoumedia.com – Studio photos
Alan Ruffin @ alanruffin.com – Chicago City photos
Chidoriya corp @chidoriyaworld – At Merz Apothecary
Merz Apothecary – Imperial Rose Skincare photo
Rikumo – Selected Skincare Collection by Chidoriya