Our Early Days
Oki Social started out as a group of artist helping each other.
Arriving in Okinawa in 2015, our founders were searching for local artist community in order to learn more about Okinawa art. During that process, we found that many local artists are struggling to make a living. Many hold a daytime job in a field unrelated their art practice, and then find time at night to create art.
We also found that many artists lack the skills to market their artwork outside of the local community. In a small island of just over 100,000 people, getting a share of the market is no easy task. So we set out to create a community to help each other. We gather local artists to demo on U.S. military bases in Okinawa, and we build distribution channel to help funnel local art products to consumer outlets.
In our early days, we organized events to showcase local artists and their work, thus the name Oki Social ( Okinawa Social ) . Social meant social event.
As we get more involved with the local community, we discover social problems in Okinawa such as alcoholism, high divorce rate, and domestic volience. There are many single mothers, handicaps, and families with low income in Okinawa without help. The conservative mindset of the general Okinawan population is suppressing the voice of those in need. We decided to help these local families by creating job opportunities and by bringing their work to light. We started to create our own products and hire local families to help us. Meanwhile, we continue to lay the groundwork for our distribution channel to help us spread Okinawa art and our story. Oki Social now has a new meaning, a social enterprise.
We are still in our humble beginning, but we are getting stronger day after day. Thanks to the support of our customers, vendor, volunteers and business partners, we have established strong ties with Okinawa local communities. Every day, we explore new and better ways to help people in our community. If you are interested in joining our mission, please reach out to us.