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Article: <Good Partner Day/Interview Project> The relationship between mother and daughter deepens through “making accommodation” [Natsumi Sumi]

<Good Partner Day/Interview Project> The relationship between mother and daughter deepens through “making accommodation” [Natsumi Sumi]

KAPOK KNOT is a brand that proposes a "heart-warming lifestyle" in modern times. Who you spend your time with is important for living a happy life. Nowadays, diversity has come to be seen as ``richness,'' and the nature of partners has also changed. We started this interview project to update the anniversary of November 22nd, ``Good Couple Day,'' to November 8th, ``Good Partner Day.''

The person we interviewed for the fifth time was Natsumi Sumi, who runs Sumiya Aoka, a private inn in Hida Takayama, Gifu, with her mother. ``Sumiya Aoka'' is an inn that I created together with my mother, who is an interior designer. We asked Natsumi to find out more about how the relationship between her and her mother changed through the construction and management of the inn.

Our interviewer is Hoshiyuki, who is in charge of editing this project.

My mother's thoughts took shape,
“Sumiya Aoka” is an inn that only accommodates one group per day.

Hoshi : Mr. Sumi, thank you for joining us today. This time, I would like to ask you about the relationship between the two of you, which has changed as you run the inn together with your mother. I took a look at the official website and found out that it is run by ``Sumiya Aoka'''s very nice.

Natsumi : Thank you. "Sumiya Aoka" is a private inn that opened in July 2020 in my hometown, Hida Takayama, and is limited to one group per day. It is run by my mother, who is an interior designer, and my daughter, myself. My mother had originally thought that she would like to open an inn someday...and thanks to a connection with this house, we were able to open it.

Hoshi : Why is your mother staying?

Natsumi : My mother runs an interior design office and travels all over Japan building inns and hotels, but when she was about to turn 60, she said, ``In Hida Takayama, my favorite place where I was born and raised, I want to use my work and travel experience to create my own inn.'' I didn't even know that my mother wanted to build an inn, so I found out about it when the property was actually decided.

Hoshi : That’s right…! I thought the two of you had originally talked about building an inn.

Natsumi : No, that's not the case at all (lol). When I first heard from my mother, I was a company employee working in a completely different industry, and I had no intention of running an inn. I just thought I'd support them where I can. However, as I became more involved, I began to want to support Sumiya Aoka more closely, as my mother's thoughts are imbued in every corner.

From grandmother to mother, mother to daughter
A perspective on “wealth” that is passed down from generation to generation

Hoshi : After we started building an inn together as business partners, I think we were able to see different sides of each other.

Natsumi : That's right. When thinking about branding, my mother had time to put into words each of her thoughts and ideas, such as ``What kind of feelings do we want to convey to our customers'' and ``What kind of inn do we aim to be?'' I had never had such an opportunity before, so there were many surprises and discoveries in the deeper conversations we had during the stay.

Compared to other rental houses and inns, our inn is decorated with a lot of furniture and has a lot of ``stuff''. Why do you like miscellaneous goods and interior design so much? When I talked about this, I was told about my grandmother, who ran a shop in Hida Takayama that sold folk crafts from various countries.

It seems that her grandmother created the shop by collecting things that, although she was not a hard worker, somehow made her heart flutter and that before she knew it, they would become irreplaceable parts of her life.

*Grandmother's villa and gallery "Morian"

Natsumi : That's when I first heard that my mother, following in the footsteps of my grandmother, ``collects things that touch the heart and make people ask questions.'' In today's world, minimalist living with fewer things is trending, and accommodations are becoming more and more simple in design...but with love, this is the exact opposite of a style that continues to preserve the excitement and fullness of the heart. There may be. Listening to my mother's story, I realized that Sumiya Aoka is an inn that connects the feelings of my grandmother.

Hoshi : ``Something that touches your heart and makes you ask questions'' is a wonderful phrase. It is true that we live in an era where the focus is often on the abundance that can be created by having fewer things, but at the other end of the spectrum there is a different form of abundance. I don't think there are many spaces that make you feel that way.

The motto is "Refresh yourselves every day." Days of learning together

Natsumi : When I was a student, there were times when I rebelled against my mother who was away from home on business trips. When my mom was busy, she was only home two days a month, so we got along a lot.

Hoshi : 2 days a month! I heard that you were flying around a lot, but there were times when you were so busy...

Natsumi : That’s right. I was on business for about 240 days a year (lol). Due to that kind of environment, I didn't realize it when I was a student, but since we started working together, I have come to realize every day how great my mother is, as she works energetically based on what she loves. Now more than ever, I respect you from the bottom of my heart.

Since we run a lodging facility that can provide advice on all aspects of food, clothing, and shelter, we have increased the number of times we go out together. We want to utilize what we have learned through seeing and experiencing with our own eyes at the inn, so it also includes the meaning of studying. In order to improve our ability to make proposals to customers, we will visit local restaurants and events that we have never been to before, and travel to popular accommodations outside of the prefecture. is increasing.

Hoshi : Now, through work, I am able to share various experiences with my mother every day, as if to make up for the time we didn't spend together. That's wonderful...

Natsumi : Thank you. Due to the closeness of parents and children, there are times when I have to be strict with the way I communicate with them, and sometimes I have to be too lenient with them, so it's difficult at times, but I'm really happy to be able to run the inn together.

I feel that it is important to not only treat customers, but everyone else, with love as well as gratitude.

*Natsumi is wearing a tight parka coat by KAPOK KNOT. This is a coat that Natsumi helped design.

Hoshi : How do you communicate with customers?

Mr. Natsumi : Our accommodation is completely non-human, and the customer is responsible for everything from check-in to check-out, so there is no part where the staff is directly involved. Under such circumstances, I think it's quite difficult to feel the warmth of customer service, but basically, I work as a concierge to support guests during their stay, from the time they make a reservation until the time they check out. To the extent possible, we also plan trips to Hida Takayama together.

Hoshi : That's amazing...! I think it's quite difficult to communicate via email in many ways, but why is it so difficult?

Mr. Natsumi : Since our customers have come to Hida Takayama, we want them to have a good and memorable stay, and we would be very happy if they came to love this town. That's why we treat our customers as if they were welcoming us into our family.
Because this is a building that expresses our lives, we naturally feel love among the people who choose us from among the many accommodations available, and since I have always liked people...I want to be able to have love for everyone. , and I try to be honest.

Hoshi : I want to stay at your “Sumiya Aoka”. I've never been to Hida Takayama before, and it's hard to find an opportunity to do so, so I'd definitely take this as an opportunity.

Natsumi : Eh...! I'm glad to hear you say that. Please feel free to visit us anytime. I'm looking forward to seeing you.

Natsumi Sumi

Born in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture. While working for a company in Tokyo, he runs Sumiya, a rental inn in Hida Takayama, with his mother. Utilizing her experience of traveling around the world for work, she supports guests' travels as a concierge. Currently, I live in Tokyo and Hida.

Sumiya Aoka official website

Sumiya Aoka Instagram


Even though it is a non-face-to-face inn, ``Sumiya Aoka'' offers loving and polite customer service and the creator's thoughts are put into every detail, and it is sure to warmly embrace the hearts of its customers every day. After listening to your story, I would like to stay with my family next year! That's what I decided to do (as this year was already fully booked). Please check out their future challenges as well.

``Sumiya Rachisui Tei,'' the second building after `` Sumiya Aoka, '' is a relaxing inn located in the forest of Hida Takayama that is limited to one group per day. Currently in the pre-opening period, the grand opening is scheduled for March 2022. Apparently, a third building will be built in Takayama City within the next year! You can see how many Sumiya fans the two of you have created.

*Photo of “Sumiya Fallingwater House”

A series of interviews with KAPOK KNOT on November 8th (Good Partner Day). In the next and final episode, we will be talking about "self-partnership," a way of dealing with oneself rather than a partnership with "someone other than oneself." looking forward to.

Interview/edited by: Hoshiyuki Written by: Yuito Matsumoto

◆The “Good Partner” campaign is being held at the Nihonbashi showroom from November 8th (Monday) to December 26th (Sunday)◆

Benefit details: 8% discount on all products when 2 or more people visit the store and post on SNS (tag @kapok_knot_jp)

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