Fresh Stock began as a hobby in 2009 when I was living in eastern Hyogo Prefecture, between Kobe and Osaka. I was spending a lot of my free time seeking out well-designed cafes and stores, concentrating mostly on boutiques in Kobe and Osaka's fashionable Horie neighborhoods. I struck up a friendship with Daisuke Matsue, then the store manager for APC Kobe. Daisuke was working on a number of side projects, and we talked at length about how we could facilitate more international creative collaboration.
Of the many ideas discussed, Fresh Stock was the first project that actually took root in the form of creative consulting. I had hoped to make a little money at it, but I was more interested in connecting with Japanese creatives and craftsmen — people who were passionate about making things with excellence. I ended up helping Daisuke contact a few companies overseas, do a little translation, and finally import some furniture and accessories from Portland to Japan. Daisuke later became a regional manager at APC Japan but eventually left to pursue his personal projects. Currently, he runs Biotop Nurseries in Osaka and is involved in a number of other ventures (mondoverde, CHAKI, merde).
After some time, I returned to the States, got married to my wonderful wife, and later we moved back to Japan together. On our arrival, I found myself between jobs for a brief period, so I took it as a chance to look for new Fresh Stock opportunities. I ended up meeting the team at Okayama Denim, purveyors of high end denim brands exclusively from Japan’s denim capital. Okayama Denim was getting ready to launch its site, and I got to help edit product photos, contribute to logo design, and put some of the finishing touches on the site. Being involved in this process definitely influenced what happened next.
Flash forward a couple of years, and my wife and I were out shopping in Kobe. I told her how much I would like to take Fresh Stock beyond casual consulting and turn my attentions toward product curation. We had come across the Velos Wood Push Pins, and were talking about how simple yet great they were, and suddenly stationery products seemed like the perfect launching point for a web shop. After countless emails and phone calls to a handful of Japanese stationery companies I admired, we created our starting product lineup and find ourselves here today. Fresh Stock could go in all kinds of directions in the future, and we’re excited about the possibilities. But for now, we’re content with our humble beginning, and we hope you enjoy our products and follow us as we continue finding new Japanese products, made with excellence, to share with people around the world.
Benjamin Stock founded Fresh Stock in Kobe, Japan and now runs it in the U.S. along with his wife, Rebecca.