Making my “first big sale” : The Genesis of Kyoto Prints

June 13th, 2020BlogNo Comments »

Making my “first big sale” : The Genesis of Kyoto Prints

By 1978 we had started selling our Japanese wood block prints (Ukiyo-e) at a big new Sunday Market in the heart of Melbourne.

Finally we had a “product” that was relatively easy to produce as well as appealing to a lot of people.

It worked like this. I invested $40 into materials, made as many pieces as I could, doubled our investment and kept the original seed money and invested the balance back into our fledgling business.

Victoria Market Melbourne Kyoto prints Ukiyo-e prints

The time finally came to try to sell our wares to other retail outlets. Gift shops, homewares etc. 

I think it was a Saturday morning and a new business called The Reject Shop had opened on the corner of Chapel St and Toorak Rd. This was well before it was sold and became the trashy business model that it is today. Back then it was full of interesting nik naks. I sheepishly approached the owner whose name was Ron. Ron had come from wholesale buying in Myer, a big Melbourne Department store and was as tough as nails.

He stood behind his counter like a prince and I stuttered and stammered about the wonderful hand finished Japanese Wood Blocks that I had for sale. I had taken a box full of samples into the shop and I showed him a couple.

His immediate response was ” 100 pieces! What’s your best price? You’ve got 30 seconds to give me the correct answer!”

Capitol bakery on corner of Chapel St and Toorak Rd opposite Reject Shop where I made my first Ukiyo-e Print Sale

We got the sale. I got damn excited and our “wholesale business” called Kyoto Prints was born.

I couldn’t find a picture of the Reject Shop but it was opposite the Capitol Bakeries pictured above.

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