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History of Familiar

Familiar starts from four women

In 1950, four women passionate about creating quality items for children opened a tiny 10m2 shop. During the chaotic and impoverished period after the war, one of the founders, Atsuko Banno, had accepted her father and close friends’ advice that women too would need to work, and begun to look for a way to earn money. One day Atsuko visited the MOTOYA Shoe Shop to try to sell thread and high-heel shoes. The shop owner suggested she might start producing her own hand-made items. This prompted her to start creating hand-made items with three of her classmates, aiming to sell them in a little shop they would open inside MOTOYA Shoe Shop. Atsuko suggested “Why not make something that makes use of our experience as mums, something nice for babies and children?” This was partly because she had lived in the old Foreigner’s Settlement in Kobe at the beginning of her marriage life, and had got interested in the modern ways foreign mothers raised their children. In contrast, Japanese baby clothing was not made specially for babies but rather was created based on the traditional customs and old beliefs. Atsuko determined to produce high-quality products for babies and children, at reasonable prices. Familiar’s philosophy was born: “Everything we do is for children” and “Let’s create clothes that we ourselves would want to dress our children in”.
So in 1948, MOTOYA Baby Shop opened inside the MOTOYA Shoe Shop in Kobe, with just two showcases. This was three years after the end of the war and the selection of clothes on offer to the public was still very limited. Printed patterns on clothes from the market might fade away after one wash. MOTOYA Baby Shop’s products stood out from these market garments, since they were made of top-quality imported thread or fabrics and the colours did not fade. Their popularity started to spread. Products began to sell out as soon as they were displayed.
The founders’ vision was to be a pioneer of baby products that would be loved by mothers in Japan. They wanted a name to encapsulate this new company and vision, and embrace the concept of mothers and children together. Focusing consistently on high quality and innovative ideas, Familiar pioneered novel ways of selling baby’s and children’s products. ”We always find new and original ways to build relationships with our customers." This too has been Familiar’s philosophy since its foundation. Today, we continue to strive to create new-style shops for our customers.

Familiar Motomachi, main store in Kobe, Japan

Familiar Ginza, main store in Tokyo, Japan

Familiar Daikan-yama showroom and store in Tokyo, Japan

Today, there is a wider variety than ever of baby’s and children’s clothing on the market. But Familiar as it has always done seeks to create products which embody our enduring love for children. In 1992, we launched our “love quality” concept. At Familiar we have always prided ourselves on our commitment to absolute quality. Of course, we have changed our styles over the years in line with the trend for smaller families and the growing diversity of modern family lifestyles. We are confident that Familiar will continue to flourish into the future by staying faithful to our brand values, while adapting to prevailing trends, and nurturing the spirit of our four female founders. In 2015, Familiar celebrated our 65th anniversary. We committed to deepen our relationship with society through a new mission to “Build children’s potential.” Familiar has started a nursery and preschool business, as well as helping mums-to-be with birth preparation. We will explore other new baby and children business areas. Our vision is to become ”The world’s best-loved children and baby company.”

“Build Children’s Potential”

It is our corporate mission. The Future – Together helping fulfil the potential that all children have. Babywear that wraps around the baby’s body for the first time and childrenswear. Education - The first preschool experience. The vision is not limited to children in Japan but all over the world. Familiar will provide original products and services through our showrooms and Omni-channel, that can help fulfil children’s potential. We will continue to use our own creativity to help nurture children with unlimited creativity. This is Familiar’s unique contribution to society.