2024.06.06 Singapore

[interview①] Three Key Members Discuss "Customer Oriented Craftsmanship" - Part 1 -

In 2024, ith celebrates its 10th anniversary. Starting from a small atelier in Kichijoji in 2014, by the following year, ith opened ateliers in Omotesando and Yokohama. Now, it has grown into a jewellery brand with 10 ateliers domestically and 3 abroad.

We will reflect on ith's decade with Ms. Takahashi, the Founder, Mr. Ishikawa, the workshop manager who coordinates craftsmen and external partners, and Ms. Endo, the chief concierge at the Omotesando atelier.

A custom-made jewellery brand started by a single female craftsman

--Please tell us about your thoughts when you first established ith.


Takahashi: When ith started in 2014, we were already considering building four ateliers with the concept of "cherishing one item more than many." From the beginning, I was prepared to push forward as far as possible, believing that the ith brand could grow and continue for a long time.



--Takahashi-san has been supporting ith for a long time alongside Ishikawa-san and Endo-san. These two are integral to ith's history, but what initially brought them to join ith?


Ishikawa: I joined ith just before the Omotesando atelier opened. At that time, a senior colleague at ith asked for my help. I had been working for a major jewellery brand, but my father, who was a jeweler, advised me before he passed away, "It's better to work in a job where you can see the joy on customers' faces." This advice resonated with me along with ith's customer-focused philosophy, prompting my decision to join.


Endo: I joined the company about a year after it was established. After becoming a working adult, I entered a fine arts college and majored in Japanese painting. I thought the process of painting was similar to craftsmanship. That's when I wanted to be more deeply involved in making things, and I found ith's job posting. Having grown up in Musashino, I felt a kinship with the fact that it started in an atelier in Kichijoji.


"Concierges" as professionals interacting with customers


--At ith, from the start, the customer-facing staff involved in consultations are called "concierge" There might be a common perception among customers that these staff members are the actual creators of the jewelley.


Takahashi: This term is used because we want these staff members to have a professional level of knowledge about the creation of rings, including the techniques and tools used, as well as the origins of the rings' names. To ensure authenticity in their interactions with customers, these concierges undergo practical training in ring-making as part of their education. This approach not only lends credibility to what they discuss with customers but also enhances the clarity and effectiveness of their communication.


Endo: At the beginning, it was really tough for me. After joining, I trained in the workshop, where I learned about the hardships and joys of crafting from Mr. Takahashi and others. This experience has significantly shaped my ability to interact with customers as a concierge.


Ishikawa: ith would have many people like Takahashi-san who can both make rings and handle customer service, but that's quite difficult. Instead, the workshop has desks freely available for concierges and both artisans and concierges can use the workshop's machines outside of working hours to create their own pieces.


Takahashi: Our time spent with customers involves exchanging ideas to create good products and checking each suggestion carefully. This dialogue helps us get closer to the ideal ring design and specifications that the customer envisions.


Endo: Indeed, as a concierge, my role is to share the important lessons I've learned by working hands-on and to collaboratively create the piece that the customer desires.


Takahashi: Were you transferred from the concierge to the production control department, and then come back to the maker, weren't you?


Endo: Yes, I thought it would be more fun to work with different customers and come up with different designs each time. I have helped more than 800 customers make rings, and I can naturally picture the customer's face when I look at the order sheet. That is how close the customer is to the concierge.


Experiencing the growth of the brand through its challenges


--How do you feel about the many things that have happened to the brand over the past 10 years?


Takahashi: There have not been many days when I have not felt anxious, and even now, I do not have the confidence to say, "This is going to work!" However, when I see the number of people who want to work with me has increased and the number of customers increases each time we open a new atelier, I feel relieved that the world is gradually accepting us.


Endo: For me, ten years passed before I even realised it. In the beginning, I was really busy, and it was as if I was running and deciding on various things as I went along.


Takahashi: Yes, haha. Over these ten years, I feel like I've been running along with everyone else, exploring what makes ith special. Along the way, there have been moments of doubt and realization that something was off. It really has been a decade of growth through many trials and errors.


Ishikawa: I thought that the maximum number of ateliers would be about four to maintain the "ith" style. I feared that if the number of ateliers increased beyond that, the concept that ith values might be weakened or the level of quality might drop. Therefore, in order to prevent this from happening, I have felt that it is necessary for the staff who have been with ith for a long time, such as ourselves, to preserve and properly pass on the good qualities of ith.


Endo: The customers who visit our atelier now are the same in some respects as those who came in the beginning, but on the other hand,I feel that the number of customers who come to our atelier without being so particular about custom-made products and who share the good atmosphere of the ith as a brand is increasing.


Takahashi: Indeed, we've been able to connect with so many people over the years. I am very happy that the ith brand is gaining recognition.


...To be continued next time.


Left photo: Mr. Ishikawa (Workshop Manager)
Center photo: Ms. Takahashi (ith Founder)
Right photo: Ms. Endo (Chief of Omotesando Atelier, Concierge)



Ms. Takahashi [ith Founder].

Since its establishment in 2014 at the Kichijoji Atelier, she has been actively involved in both customer service and ring creation. Currently, the founder still personally handles customer interactions at the atelier, leading ith at the forefront. The philosophy that "the wearer is the protagonist" has remained unchanged from the beginning, emphasizing a commitment to considering what can be done for customers.


Mr. Ishikawa [Workshop Manager]

Joined ith in 2015 and has been supporting ith's craftsmanship alongside Takahashi as the head of the workshop. Influenced by his father, a jewellery craftsman, he has been involved in crafting from a young age. On weekends, he supports the atelier's concierges by providing online advice on customers' ring productions.


Ms. Endo [Chief of Omotesando Atelier]

Joined ith in 2015 with a desire to be involved in craftsmanship and initially worked as a concierge. Later moved to production management where she gained considerable experience before returning to her role as a concierge. Currently, she serves as the chief at the Omotesando atelier, managing one of the highest numbers of client engagements in ith, totaling over 800 pairs.



[interview①] Three Key Members Discuss "Customer Oriented Craftsmanship" - Part 1 -