Asia Maeda is not your typical Japanese women. After running away from home, she traveled to the United States where she cultivated her wildly independent streak.
Coming back to her native country after stints in Boston, New York and Paris, she decided to do something to help motivate Japanese women to be more like the strong role models she met abroad.
Her solution: create a community of women centered around beauty products.
Sold entirely by word of mouth and never doing any press coverage (until now), ARIPARIS is a unique cosmetics company that is growing fast in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
By empowering women, Maeda hopes to change the direction of Japan and to help the country find its way in the world again but she is well aware of the challenges she faces:
“Japanese women are quite different from European or American women, we may wear the same clothes but inside our spirit is very different,” she says.
Modern Japan, as Maeda points out, is not as modern as it seems. Many families still use traditional matchmakers to find a husband for their daughters, something that caused her to flee Japan for more distant, and in her eyes, progressive shores.
After studying abroad and touring the world for several years she returned to Japan with the realization that her country still has a long way to go in terms of women’s rights.
Japanese women may control the household purse but are powerless in many other areas. In particular, Maeda wants to see stay-at-home wives become a thing of the past:
“If women are independent and free, then they can find their own way, start their own business or choose their own husband,” she says.
Selling cosmetics may be an unusual way to help women, but Maeda is clearly passionate about her cause:
“I want to make a good women’s community, it’s my mission to tell Japanese women that there is a different way to live. I want to spread my message like I spread my beauty product; by word of mouth.”
After the March 11 earthquake, Maeda traveled to Tohoku to hand out free cosmetics to survivors, this experience she says, is proof that making people feel good empowers people:
“People were so happy to receive free cosmetics, for the first time in weeks people began to feel like normal,” she says. Beauty products can really help people.”
ARIPARIS skin serum is available to purchase by appointment only:
Telephone: 03-3446-1891 or email: [email protected]