Kaori Tavares – Turning a Passion for Japanese Art into a Successful Business

by Mary Vismaya   |   January 18, 2023   |   Share this:  

Starting a business can be an incredibly daunting and overwhelming task, especially for those who have never ventured into entrepreneurship before. For Kaori Tavares, a cancer survivor and artist based in Toronto, the decision to start her own business was fueled by her love of traditional Japanese art and her desire to share it with others.  

“I have always dreamed of starting a business but never found the courage to do so. Having recently become a cancer survivor has given me motivation to try something new and challenging” 

Kaori, who has been living in Canada for over 15 years, creates handmade jewelry with a Japanese twist. Her pieces are inspired by Tsumami-zaiku, a traditional Japanese craft that involves pinching and folding small square-cut pieces of kimono fabric. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of last year and went through the extensive testing and doctor visits required before having elective surgery and a full recovery afterward. Through her art, Kaori hopes to infuse Japanese-inspired themes and her resiliency into her accessory pieces for a modern audience. Thanks to the ShopHERE powered by Google program, Kaori received assistance and support in setting up her new online store. 

“This has been a great support for me in creating my own store website.  I don't think I would have been able to succeed without their help” 

Kaori learned a great deal about building a website and putting her products up for sale, and found it helpful to have a hands-on approach with the help of her eCommerce Coordinator. 

“Somera was extremely helpful in answering any questions I had and offering help where needed to get my store off the ground. I was able to provide feedback on how the store would look and to discuss pros and cons on various items when setting up my store. Somera was very patient and kind and helpful in getting all the information I asked for.  She listened to my concerns and was able to provide suggestions for the online store.  I really enjoyed working together with her” 

With the help of ShopHERE, Kaori was able to learn the basics of managing an online store and has been able to maintain a consistent presence on social media. She has built a pool of followers who may become potential customers, and she is determined to continue growing her business.  

“I learned it was important to keep my content fresh on my social media platforms. Posting 2 or 3 times a week to keep interest up among my followers is very helpful. My business has started since my online store was setup.  I have been busy with creating social media posts every day.”  

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for small businesses, but thanks to ShopHERE's free eCommerce tools, Kaori has been able to navigate these challenges and continue to pursue her passion.  

“It has been challenging, with moments when I felt overwhelmed, and other moments when I felt great satisfaction at accomplishing my goals.  I didn't realize how much work was required to run my business on my own. The biggest challenge will be to maintain the momentum started by the creating of my online store. It has a potential to be a life changing event, but it requires a lot of work to make it succeed.  Don't give up!” 

As a cancer survivor and a successful business owner, facing one of the toughest personal battles with her health, Kaori has realized the importance of resiliency and perseverance. 

“In sharing my story, I wish to encourage anyone else going through the same situation for them not to lose hope, and that they can win!” 

If you are inspired by her story and a lover of Japanese traditional crafts you can support Kaori and her business by purchasing her One-of-a-Kind, Handcrafted Designs through her website here.  And if you're a small business owner looking to grow and succeed, be sure to sign up for the ShopHERE powered by Google program by clicking here

About Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.

Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.

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