Please tell us about STRKikaku's hospital gift website for pediatric patients and children with disabilities.
STRKikaku's Mammies Hours Shop sells gifts for pediatric patients who need long-term hospitalization, such as cancer and heart disease patients, and their families. Moreover, we contribute a part of our profits to care facilities that are open to patients’ parents and siblings.
As I was taking care of my son who was hospitalized when I was developing the website, I asked children in the same hospital to test our product, while I also heard various ideas from their mothers.
Over a year of taking care of my son at the hospital, our situation and my state of mind were gradually changing along with the progress of the treatment.
At first, our website was selling catheter covers and hats for pediatric cancer patients who lost hair, which were not commercially distributed on the market. After my son left the hospital, I felt as a parent a sort of isolation from the community we used to be in before hospitalization. That is when I noticed that the uncommon items that we were dealing with could serve as a tool to communicate what pediatric long-term hospitalization is like to other people. In this view, I reformed my website into a gift website for hospitalized children, targeted at third parties, instead of patients and their families themselves.
Today, we run a specialty store dealing in three categories of gifts for pediatric patients, namely, fashionable hospital apparel, communication goods, and fun items to add color to patients'lives.
Tell us what made you start your own business.
About two years ago, my son was diagnosed with childhood leukemia. It was right after I started working as a freelance website designer and proposal writer.
I wondered if I should quit my work altogether, but the corporate logo for STRKikaku was created with my kids. I thought I might disappoint them if I quit the business while I was not able to tell them the reason. So, I decided to start with what I could do from the hospital room.
One day, the hospital asked me to make a cover for a medical device called a “CV catheter,” which was used for my son’s treatment.
There was no ready-made catheter cover available. I thought it was unreasonable that patients’ parents had to make it by hand when they had to attend their sick children for 24 hours a day. I thought parents in the same situation might rather want to buy ready-made catheter covers, instead of making them by hand. So, I created an EC website to sell catheter covers to see if there was a need for them, while attending to my son at the hospital.
Tell us about the future developments.
I want to create a new market for hospital gifts.
Although large online shopping malls, such as Rakuten and Amazon, also have a product category titled “hospital gifts,” their lineups are insufficient and often fail to meet the needs. While visiting people in hospitals is a common practice around the world, this culture has not been given enough attention. I hope to communicate Japanese people’s meticulous care and thoughtfulness through our services to the world.
We also founded an organization called Charming Care Lab as part of our project. This organization conducts awareness campaigns to educate the public on appearance and mental care of sick and disabled children and care of parents who support them.
Medical treatment is very important without any doubt; but we also want to shed a light on less visible care provided by the patients'family members, by giving it a name, "Charming Care." We hope to work to establish such family care as a genre of nursing science that is an indispensable part of total care, by taking various approaches as a private sector entity.