What is the difference between ON-1 and other creative agencies/communities?
At ON-1, we are building a financially sustainable collective for the future of local creative economies. Our vision is to accelerate the careers of professionals and emerging creatives in any city, starting with Tokyo. Put simply, we want to help creative people do what they do best and add diverse contributions to their local culture and community.
In order to have the network to find opportunities and talent, we run periodical multimedia exhibitions and also have a small content production service to fund our community and business focused ventures. Compared to other creative communities in the ecosystem, we are building points of entry from novice to pro with a focus on experienced-based education in creative business.
What’s the balance between pursuing a hobby and being a creative professional?
The idea of not turning everything you do for fun into a business is something I agree with. I enjoy skateboarding, making music (poorly), and 3D printing… those are my hobbies for my personal enjoyment and that I pursue when I have extra time and funds.
The only time merging business and hobbies becomes an issue is when people over-estimate their creative hobby experience as professional. There are so many differences at the professional level in respecting people’s time, networks, and resources that need to be learned first hand.
A part of what we do at ON-1 is helping people understand and fill in the gaps of transitioning from hobbyist to professional. That said, our creative production team is made up of professional freelancers working on bigger projects to scale together.
How do you deal with challenges of building a business/community in Japan?
Japan offers a unique environment in launching any creative idea, especially from a more globally-focused mindset. The first layer of challenges comes from a completely different set of rules in business development, social interaction, and content creation value. Like any country, there are always personal adjustments that need to be made in order to adapt to the local ecosystem. Unlike many countries, Japan measures value on long-term commitments and a mostly unspoken understanding of culture and business etiquette. Because our goal at ON-1 is to build local teams of domestic and international talent, we are invested in long-term strategies that focus on trust, and contributing to the community. We aren’t in a rush to succeed, so every challenge is an new change to make new connections.