The time has come for another interview with an amazing team member. This week I spoke to Kaoru, who has recently joined the Design team at Tala Studios. We had a chat in the Tala van on our way to an early morning appointment of painting in our new retail space he's been designing in Heals. It was very early, and we were both enjoying our flat whites to try and wake us up!
Kaoru, that's such a cool name, what part of the world are you from?
I'm from Japan.
Japan, now that's a place I still need to visit! Where abouts?
Yokohama. It's a massive city south of Tokyo but I'm from a very leafy peaceful suburb town with wild monkeys and racoons.
How long have you lived in London?
Almost 9 years ago I moved to London to study marketing. I struggled to find a marketing job without any actual experience, so I decided to get some skills that I can physically show to impress potential employers, and so took an intensive graphic design course.
I practised and improved my design skills for about a year then got very lucky when I was offered an internship at a global magazine brand, followed by a multi-disciplinary designer position.
You’re one of the newer team members at Tala Studios, what's your role?
Visual Merchandiser, so I'm in charge of everything related to displays.
…and how are you finding it?
One word - FUN. It can be hard at times but nothing is more satisfying than working on each project with a bunch of such creative people and make something beautiful and stunning.
Have you always been a Visual Merchandiser?
To be very honest, no! I had done visual merchandising before but not as my main responsibility.
I have done a lot of things in life so far. From fruit picking, tree planting and coffee making to interior design, product design and shop fitting.
I strongly believe that there is no experience that is a waste of time. Whatever you do, there is always a way to learn and utilise it.
I have no degree in design and started my career much later than most people but I am very proud of what I have done and glad I chose to try them all because I get inspiration from past experiences and they are all very unique.
So I think everyone should just give anything a try and see what they can make out of it. You don't have to like everything, at least then you can say 'I tried and didn't like it'.
Photos: Left - a smaller display in the Bentall Centre. Right - Kaoru's trusty ladder!
What's been you’re biggest success so far in your first month at Tala?
I designed and installed a big display at Heal's on Tottenham Court Road. This was a big deal for me as Heal's has been a supporter of the brand since the very beginning.
Out of our three key drivers at Tala - sustainability, design and technology - which one do you hold close to your heart?
As a creative guy I should be choosing the obvious but I'm going to be greedy here— ALL of them.
To me it is all about the balance amongst these values that improves quality of our lives, any one of them is missing then it won't work.
And if I may, I'll add practicality too.
I love your last answer about finding balance to improve quality.. Couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you for your time and telling us about your amazing and creative journey so far.
If you're on Tottenham Court Road or near Soho, don't forget to find Heals and see Kaoru's hard work in the flesh. Our Voronoi III cluster is magnificent!