Civil Society

April 20, 2013


Mail-Order Shop Opens to Create Jobs for Youth in Quake-Hit Area

Keywords: Disaster Reconstruction Non-manufacturing industry 

JFS/Mail-Order Shop Opens to Create Jobs for Youth in Quake-Hit Area
Copyright Power of Closet

Established in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture as a general incorporated association with the aim of creating employment in the area hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, the Power of Closet, a mail-order apparel shop, started sales in December 2012. With its concept of "supporting quake-hit areas through the power of clothes," the shop collects donations of clothes from prominent figures such as actresses or singers who support the concept, and then sells the clothes on its website.

The Internet shop started in January 2013 with sales of wakame seaweed, one of the specialty products in the Sanriku area, also hit by the earthquake, together with a dressing specially made for the seaweed. It also started marketing hand-made accessories named "Ocica" in February 2013. These are products made by women in Oshika Peninsula, Ishinomaki City, who were engaged in fishing before the earthquake. The Ocica project was set up to provide jobs and opportunities to communicate with each other for the women forced to live in temporary housing, lonely and without jobs, and to help restore the community.

The shop hires mainly local youth as staff responsible for management of merchandise and the website. This is because it aims to increase employment and provide business training to young people to address the current decline of industries hiring young people in the quake-hit areas.

The association's spokesperson, Director Kazuhito Mikami, originally from Miyagi Prefecture, came back to Miyagi after the earthquake. Positioning Power of Closet as a rising star in Ishinomaki, he plans to sell more local products to help stabilize employment and return profits to the local community.