Etsy Journal

Explore ideas and inspiration for creative living

Featured Shop: Tokyo Factory

by Ayu Carlton

Dec 17, 2014

"Tokyo is where I'm from – it's my root, and it's always in my blood."

Hello, my name is Ayu. I live with my husband Lee in Torrance, California. I was born in Tokyo, Japan, and raised in the United States. I make soaps; my line is called Tokyo Factory.

I started making soap and body care products as a hobby. My background is in traditional art and visual effects, and I previously worked as a digital matte painter creating CG backgrounds for movies and commercials. I have super sensitive skin, so making my own skincare with safe and natural ingredients appealed to me. I'm completely self-taught; I learned about ingredients and their benefits from researching books and online.

My shop is called Tokyo Factory because Tokyo is where I'm from – it's my root, and it's always in my blood. Tokyo is a city that has two sides: it's thought of as high-end and futuristic, but it also has a lot of historic buildings, old cultures and Japanese traditions, which makes the city unique. I combine new ideas with tradition when I make my products – I design my packaging on the computer with Photoshop, but I stick with the traditional way of making soap (called cold process).

I choose what goes into my products with care, and I test my recipes many times until I'm completely happy with them. I love working with vegan ingredients such as natural plant oils, butters and waxes.  Each ingredient has its own natural benefits and unique characteristics.

I launched my Etsy shop in 2009 after my husband introduced me to the site. I love connecting with wonderful customers here, and I completely love what I do. Selling on Etsy and Etsy Wholesale has taken my business to the next level; last August, I got to be a part of Etsy Wholesale Pavilion at NY NOW. Since then, I've received so many orders that my products are flying off the shelf! Receiving wholesale orders makes me realize that Tokyo Factory is a professional business and no longer a hobby. It's such a wonderful feeling. Follow Tokyo Factory on their blog, or on Facebook and Instagram. All photographs by Tokyo Factory.
Ayu Carlton