After arriving in Tokyo in 2015 for a two-month internship, Marie Yasutake became enamored with Japan and it wasn’t long before she knew deep inside her that she wanted to make the country her second home. Following a brief return home to her native France to tidy her affairs, she was back in Japan to launch her career in the field of textile-related architecture.
Marie worked in both urban and rural locations before opting for the latter in 2016, settling in her new husband Shota’s hometown in Saga Prefecture. But, after a stint as an office worker followed by roles in marketing and design, at the age of 24 she found it too tough being a young, foreign woman in a traditional Japanese company.
Inspired by monozukuri (the Japanese art of craftsmanship) and motivated by her experiences as a working woman, Marie launched C. Marie with Shota in January 2018. The idea was to create a bag brand comprising French-inspired design and Japan-inspired manufacturing that gives women confidence — and comfort.
Savvy Tokyo caught up with the young entrepreneur to find out more about her story.
Marie, what sparked your interest in design?
I’ve always liked architecture, especially unusual shapes, and been interested in textile making. While I was at Lyon University studying Japanese language and international trade, I did two internships in the field of textile architecture in 2015. One was in France and the other in Japan.
I really liked living in Japan, so I returned after graduation to work for a textile manufacturer in Kamakura. In January 2016, I moved to Saga Prefecture in Kyushu to work for a company that designs, manufactures and installs textile structures, which deepened my love of design.