Lives In: Between Dubai, UAE and NYC
About Me: A lucky Mama to Hugo and Emmeline (and a dog called Gemma), lucky wife to the best man ever, and the Founder of NYC-based maternity and nursing wear brand, Mitera. Originally from Osaka, Japan. My first passion is Global Public Health, and I spent my career at places like the World Bank and Clinton Foundation as a health system/financing specialist. Through my work, I became especially passionate about maternal and child health and an advocate for breastfeeding. Though becoming a mother myself made my passion that much more personal, I realized how truly difficult breastfeeding can be, especially as a working mother in the US. I realized that the pregnancy and postpartum periods of women’s lives are often the most special times- but they aren’t easy. While mothers are told “breast is best,” and they are encouraged to do their “best” by breastfeeding their babies, there is little acceptance or support for moms. Issues surrounding motherhood are complex and increasingly politicized but I believe women, regardless of their personal choices as mothers, need to be supported. I felt there was huge gap between the societal expectations of mothers – ‘doing it all’ like superwomen at home and at work - and the systems, tools and resources available to support them as they embark on and navigate through their motherhood journey. I think maternity and postpartum wardrobe is one of those factors- it can either hinder or support women’s ability to successfully and happily make the transition into motherhood. People often dismiss fashion as vanity but it actually has an important place in people’s lives not only as a means of self-expression but also as an important factor in instilling confidence and empowerment. This is where the story of Mitera began and why I am so passionate about our brand and mission.
Hire Me For/I'm Good At: Because of my background, I have a good understanding of social entrepreneurship. I am up for collaborations with other likeminded brands, writing and speaking about global public health including topics related to maternal and child health, motherhood, entrepreneurship, etc. I run and do triathlons so I can run for a cause to raise money, lol! Looking to travel to Japan? I am your guide.
Interested In: Collaborations. I love meeting and getting to know inspirational, strong, independent and creative women and moms. They keep me inspired and grounded at the same time. I love the community of these moms. Also, I would love to work with moms who are photographers, stylists, social media gurus, etc.
Mama Likes: Traveling and discovering new cultures and people – I lived and worked a lot in Africa and Asia but now it is super fun to expose our kids to the world. Training and participating in endurance sports like triathlons (finished my first half-iron man distance last year) – I say I ‘participate’ not ‘compete’. I am lazy if I don’t have goals! Cooking and Baking – I am now having fun discovering new vegetarian and vegan recipes. Art and Design – I don't have a design background but I do love art and anything to do with design.
Mama Inspiration: I have so many to count and I keep meeting new ones that inspire me. We are all different and every one of us has a unique story. Yet, we are able connect with each other through this shared experience and joy of being a mom.
Brands that most reflect your style or that you’d want to work with: Again there are so many. Mitera, of course, is a reflection of what I love and I wear all our dresses daily. Chic, versatile, functional and machine-washable (key for any moms!!). Being Japanese, I love the Japanese esthetics, brands and designers and get inspirations from the likes of Yoji Yamamoto and Issei Miyake. Current personal wish lists and likes are Chloe, Celine, Stella McCartney, and Maria Cornejo, Cuyana, Warby Parker, Everlane. Kids Brands: Bon Point, Goat Milk, Diapers and Milk.
Words you live by/quotes you love: You only live once. So, live each day with love and purpose. You never get today back. Easier said than done though!
Best advice you’ve ever been given: Follow your heart and trust yourself.
Best advice you’d give to someone starting out: I would say the same thing Follow your heart and trust yourself.
What are three things people would be surprised to know about you?
+ I am addicted and dependent on my eye mask to sleep. I absolutely cannot sleep without it. Occupational hazard from too much international travel.
+ I recently went vegetarian (except for occasional bacon)
+ I am allergic to cats.