Hello! I’m Hitomi from Wee Joys!
We’re based in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Wee Joys was founded by myself, originally from Japan, as a way to unlock my creativity and satisfy my desire to do something uplifting and meaningful. I create vibrant accessories that are designed to lift people up above the hustle and bustle of their day-to-day lives that are both stylish and functional.
I have a range of products including headbands, scrunchies, zero-waste earrings, bibs, and sustainable gift wrapping items. All of my products are made by myself from the original design process all the way to the packaging and all are carefully made with love!
How has your small business started?
I’m a natural-born crafter, I should say. From my childhood, I’ve been enjoying crafting, such as colouring, drawing, painting, origami, cooking, baking, and sewing. I was about 11 years old when I made an apron with an embroidered pocket by hand sewing as a school project. My very first garment was a cotton twill gathered skirt using a professional sewing machine borrowed from my mum. I enjoyed it very much but it was tricky to use for a teenager.
I kept having my interest in sewing after that until my loving husband gave me a sewing machine on my birthday in 2019.
I got married in 2017 and had a baby boy in 2018. I was living in Japan then but moved to Edinburgh to settle in with my family. For that reason, I had to quit my dream job – a university lecturer of the Japanese language.
That brought me to an identity crisis. I loved teaching Japanese, I loved creating an exciting environment for students, and I loved being helpful to others. So I comforted myself with making baby leggings by hand sewing. This brought me some time to unlock my creativity. But it was not enough – and I finally owned my sewing machine.
After then, the Covid-19 outbreak happened and I started making fabric face masks for those in need as a volunteer sewist of the Facebook group called Edinburgh Mask Makers.
Seeing the quality of face masks, my husband recommended that I sell those on Etsy. Then my endeavour of small business started.
What does ‘Wee Joys’ mean?
I had clear brand values when I started to think about launching my online shop. I wanted to create something not just useful but also lift up our life – being a mum of 3 years old, I knew we sometimes give priority to practicality and give up our favourite look, unwillingly. So I started making accessories for women and children, under the value of “vibrant accessories that bring joy”.
Firstly ‘little joy’ came up in my mind. And then, since we’re based in Scotland, I wanted to add some Scottish twist. So, ‘little’ was swapped for ‘wee’ which means ‘little’ in Scottish. That’s how Wee Joys was born!
What do you love about my business?
I do love creating, but more than that, I love being independent. Setting goals, planning next collections, designing products, prototyping, making and selling! Many people would agree that the best thing is we can make money by doing what we love. This is so true. Such a fulfilling job to do!
My absolute favourite item is headbands! They’re so easy to wear – just pop on your head, but they surely add a statement to our outfit. Adding a headband to a plain outfit gives you a wow effect in a second! Just the right item for busy women (and girls) who want to be on-trend without hustle.
All of my items send very little fabric to the bin as I’m incredibly careful when placing the pattern in the cutting process. Some items like gift tags and earrings are made using remnants from production with many items being created using OEKO-TEX certified fabrics.
Where can we find your work?
I’m stocked at the gift shop and boutique on high street in Edinburgh – An Independent Zebra in Stockbridge, The Scottish Design Exchange on George Street, and Yellow Souls on Leith Walk. Each shop has various selections of handmade goodies. Whenever you’re in Edinburgh, go get there to get inspired! In addition to the brick and mortar shop, I do craft markets with Support the Makers and other platforms in Edinburgh and beyond. Come meet me at the next market!