10% OFF on 2019's Best Sellers!
2019 has been a busy but very fulfilling year, and it's now time to get back on what was accomplished and set new goals for 2020!
First of all, we would like to thank you all for your continuous support. Despite the heavy troubles that followed the Horinouchi workshop closing, you haven't let us down. Quite the opposite actually, we received countless messages encouraging us for our work and contribution to the support of Japanese craftsmanship, messages that greatly contributed to motivating us for the future. Thank you very much.
As usual, our team will take a few days off, from January 1st to January 5th. During this period, there won't be any shipment, but our website stays fully operational and our team is taking work home and will continue answering your emails (at a slower pace).
To celebrate the end of the year, we are now offering a 10% discount on 2019's Best Sellers. Those are not exactly the most sold products as we wanted to pick some products also for less represented arts (such as Iaido and Kendo), but it's a fairly accurate representation of what you most ordered on SeidoShop in 2019.
So, what did we do in 2019 precisely?
Strengthened in our ethic by the success of 2018's Black Friday charity program, we put in place a monthly charity program that led to a total amount of 10,000 USD donated throughout the year to charities. Of course, this program will be maintained in 2020. For comparison, this is about 1/3 of Seido's annual net profits (but as you know, we're not a profit-oriented company).
- In January, we started the year with the videos of the Nippon Budokan's Kagamibiraki/Budo Hajime, then the publication of our interview with Guillaume Erard, and finally, our discussion with Baptiste Tavernier and Alexander Bennett on Ueshiba's weapons.
- In February, we shot and published the 42nd All Japan Kobudo Demonstration, and that's it, as our office went under heavy renovation (we added a whole floor!).
- In March, we covered the symposium on the Life and Legacy of Donn F. Draeger as well as some additional interviews that were shot at the time of the event.
- In April, the busiest month of the year, we published our video interview with Yamamoto Takahiro of the Hyoho Taisha Ryu Kenjutsu school. Later, we covered the Asakusa Kobudo Taikai, then the Aikijinja Taisai in Iwama. We also offered our support to a Kobudo promotional event in Italy.
- In May, we "suffered" 10 days forced holidays because of the abdication of the emperor which slowed down our progress a little bit but was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime event for all of us. Despite the preparation and the coverage of all the Japan Aikido Demonstration at the end of the month (during which we also hold a booth), we still managed to publish the last video of the Symposium on Donn Draeger "Background behind and highlights of the Donn F. Draeger Forum".
June was focused on the editing and publication of the All Japan Aikido videos and the remaining videos of the Asakusa Kobudo Taikai. We also published a Quiz in collaboration with Aikido Journal that had for the main goal to gather data on how accurately Aikidoists know Aikido's history. The results were very interesting and will have an impact on both Aikido Journal's work and our work for months to come.
- In July, we took some time off, so our projects were frozen for a few weeks, but we did conduct an interview with a Bogu craftsman that, to this day, is not yet published. The reason for this delay comes below.
- In August, we heard the worst news for the Budo equipment industry in decades: the closing of the Horinouchi wooden weapons workshop, a workshop that handled about 40% of the whole made in Japan production.
All this happens in a sudden, and within a few weeks, the workshop was gone, taking with it the dozens of weapons that only them know how to manufacture. Seido being the top expert of wooden weapons, we started a gigantic program for the preservation of traditional wooden weapons. We cataloged dozens of weapons and sent samples to the others workshops (from which we then bought copies).
Unfortunately, some models do not fit into the others workshops production line and given that they had to drastically increase their production, there is no time for fully handmade production.
Recovering from this very difficult situation might take years, and we intend to accompany the craftsmen in this very difficult time. We are also consulting with them on how to change the market so they don't end up in the same situation Horinouchi was, and we are proud to say that we are the only ones that support a wide increase in prices in the next few years.
This took us an incredible amount of time, and it still does, as dealing with this situation, seeing our stock decreasing, leads to longer production time, and stock shortage, and of course, much more time spent on support and explaining our customer the reality of the situation. This also had a cost for Seido, as of today, we estimate the cost around 20 to 30,000 USD, but we also consider that our BudoStudies program covers the cataloging and preservation part of the project.
- September and October have been entirely focused on this weapon issue.
- Then came the Meiji Jingu Kobudo Taikai in November (videos are still being published).
- In December, we finally published the "How to wrap your Fukuroshinai" video with master craftsman Aki Kenji.
On the business end, we published many new products!
We started the year with the publication of the whole Jisei Iaito line up and all corresponding accessories. Hundreds of Iaito, Tsuba, Fuchi/Kashira, Menuki, and accessories. We continued with the update of all Minosaka Iaito (new order forms and many new options). We've added Koryu weapons, the Minosaka wakizashi lineup, two Aikido Hakama (Keiko Cashmere and Striped Tetron), and a few blog articles.
And of course, the biggest project of the year, SeidoShop.fr, a complete French translation of SeidoShop.com. This was accompanied by a major update of all Seido's websites.
- We significantly improved our fraud prevention processes with a new (and heavy) process of customer ID verification. Those are heavy processes that are only implemented by major eCommerce actors, and we are quite confident in the fact Seido is the only company in our industry with such a level of security. Since the new process has been put in place, our fraud rate dropped from an already very low 0.2% to 0.
- We improved our order tracking and customer information, with a logistic that has - to our knowledge - no equivalent, for what concerns after shipping support.
- We moved our blog to SeidoShop in order to improve accessibility and design.
- We published a major update for our Iaito product pages, allowing a much better user interface despite huge customization possibilities, and also minor improvements to various parts of the website.
And in 2020?
2020 will, again, be a year of challenges both for Seido and for Japan as well with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!
Seido is little concerned by Olympic games, and heavy broadcast rights restrictions make Olympics (Judo, Karatedo...) related video projects complicated, but we'll try to get around that to offer some content to the community!
Solving the wooden weapon industry problems with the craftsmen might also take a lot of energy, but we have also interview projects we'd like to move on with. Because of the Tokyo Olympics, many annual events will be canceled, rescheduled or moved to other locations and notably the cancellation of the Nippon Budokan Kagamibiraki and the All Japan Aikido that will take place in Takasaki, 100 km north of Tokyo. Finally, at the end of the year, the 13th International Aikido Congress will take place in Tokyo, and we are already looking forward to it (and we do hope we'll have the opportunity to meet with some of you)!
Again, thank you very much for your incredible support all these years.
All our best wishes for the holiday season.
See you in 2020!