Moe Hosokawa
Moe Hosokawa


Moe Hosokawa

Director of fête

Flowers that raise the temperature of the heart
Creating and connecting with others

Since its inception in late 2022, the “BANK” complex has attracted a steady stream of customers, quickly becoming the core of the bustling Kabutocho area. The flower store "fête" is located on the basement floor of the complex, offering a variety of diverse products, including dried flowers, potpourri, aroma diffusers, and of course, seasonal flowers. We asked Moe Hosokawa, the face behind fête, to talk about her origins, as well as her thoughts on opening her first store in Kabutocho.

● “fête” offers customers fresh flowers, alongside dried flower bouquets and many other flower-related art pieces. At first glance, the glass-walled space at the back of the store appears to be a refrigerator used to keep fresh flowers. But in reality, it’s used as a dedicated place for creating dried flowers. How did you come up with such a unique format for the shop?
It’s rare to find a florist in the basement of a heavily concreted building, furthermore, the space behind the store was originally a bank vault. I thought, “If I’m going to have a store here, then I definitely want a glass-walled drying room” so I installed a special drying machine. In terms of location and construction, the store is a bit unusual compared to other flower shops and that’s because I actually don’t have experience working in a flower shop! I formed a passion for floral design during my time as a spatial designer. Because of my unorthodox background, I’m not really sure how a ‘typical florist’ operates.

●That’s so interesting! I would love to hear about your upbringing and the influence it may have had on the creation of the shop.
As a child, I moved around a lot, from Kanagawa to Chiba, and eventually Tokyo. I was perhaps a bit of a handful as a child, so much so that every year for six years in elementary school, my school report featured the phrase “too individualistic”! Looking back, I feel sorry for my parents and teachers now, maybe I was a handful. I really liked drawing pictures, and there was a time during the second grade of elementary school when all I would do was draw Cyclamen flowers. All the other kids would be playing dodgeball or tag, but I just never felt like joining in, so my classmates would often say “She’s never in the mood!”

●Oh no! But you loved flowers so much that you used them as the subject of your drawings! Where do you think your connection with flowers originally came from?
My grandfather was a real estate agent in Chiba, but he loved to grow flowers. He would sometimes win prizes at fairs and would often sell his flowers to markets. I spent a lot of time at my grandfather’s house, and so I became familiar with flowers. Also, my aunt’s family was an artistic family that lived in the woods, so they often had flowers on display. And my uncle was a sculptor and professor at an art college. I miss him a lot because he was the kind of uncle who would put in a lot of effort with kids, he would always give you a sense of adventure. It felt like you were going to look for Totoro in the forest or something.
One day, my uncle made me a magic broomstick because I loved the Studio Ghibli film “Kiki’s Delivery Service”. He was a professional, so he put an amazing level of detail into it. It made me feel like I could fly, so much so that I actually jumped out of a second-story window and broke my arm! That’s how much I felt like I could do anything at my uncle’s house.

●Sounds like he was the type of uncle who could make a child’s dream come true. And you think it was this environment that brought you closer to nature and flowers?
I’ve always been close to nature. But I think it was my mother who really made me fall in love with flowers. My mother was a very pragmatic person, she wasn’t the type to decorate the house with cut flowers, but she did love nature and would often go on walks. She was like a Golden Retriever, always out walking, morning, day, and night, always at least three times a day. She knew a lot about wildflowers and plants, and told me things like, “This is a Boxwood,” or “This flower blooms in this environment”. I don’t remember having any beautiful books on flowers at home, but I do remember having a lot of books with information in them about wildflowers.

●So you would play with the flowers during your walks together?
Yes, I liked to pick flowers in the field. I also used the wildflowers to play make-believe games…… Painting, building blocks, and other make-believe games, things that are usually done indoors. But I would use materials from the outside world to make things. For example, I would crush flowers and turn them into paints and colors.

●When you were a child, did you have any dreams for the future?
I had no idea what kind of job or career I wanted to have. I think I was mostly thinking about colors when I was little. I remember that I wanted to be a color, like “I want to be blue”.
Because I liked to draw, I thought about going to a high school specializing in art. But both my teacher and uncle looked at the types of pictures I was drawing and advised me that I was the type of student who would benefit from being able to draw freely and that I should wait to go to art school until I finish high school. I had fun at my high school, I would hang out with my friends, go to karaoke, talk in the park, and play games. But at the same time, I was also attending a preparatory art school, so I felt like I was going back and forth between two worlds.

● And from there you went on to attend art college?
Yes, I did. After graduating high school I enrolled in art school, whilst also doing some part-time jobs, like doing illustrations for restaurants and small businesses. At the school, there were always ads hung up in the communal areas advertising casual work. So I painted a blue sky on the walls of restaurants and beauty salons and painted the rocks of amusement park attractions. But then, in my sophomore year, I decided I had had enough and dropped out of university……
Later, through a college connection, I joined a company that does lighting and other spatial design work. They were looking for someone with an art background who could draw perspectives and do hand-drawn sketches. I worked there as a designer for two or three years, but to my surprise, the company went bankrupt.
At the time, I thought, “Next, I want to try and create spaces that have confines” so I joined a design company that mainly designs stores. A space can change completely depending on the people, things, smells, the weather, and many other factors, and I found that interesting.
I would connect beads to make chandeliers or produce wall decorations, but I was also involved in a lot of work for stores that utilized plants and greenery. So, I began to work on more and more projects involving florists, and from there, I began shifting my focus to decorating with flowers.

●And that was when you finally decided to pursue a career as a floral designer?
Exactly! Rather than working and designing on a computer, I began to think that I wanted to work with my hands to create something. However, decorating shops is a really tough and physical job. There’s a lot of late-night work, as you’re generally starting work when the store closes and you’re often working until midnight. It was so hard on my body that I left the job momentarily and instead took an office job at a Japanese manufacturing company.
But I still wanted to do space design, so I started taking on freelance work from my former employer and also got a few projects from a florist friend of mine. Looking back, ever since I was a student, the smell of something good has always lured me. Even back then, I had a vague idea that it would be great if I could continue to work as a freelancer doing floral work. But then my mother was diagnosed with cancer and told she had only six months to live.

● Oh my, that’s shocking……
When I heard the news, I thought, “If I were to die leaving behind a child, the saddest thing would be not being able to see what kind of adult and life that child would lead.” So I decided, “While my mother is still alive, I will show her my life.”

● You mean you made a life plan that would give your mother peace of mind?
That’s right. I made up my mind and enrolled in a specialist school for spatial decoration, and worked hard to get clients and orders. I also wrote out a timeline and showed it to my mother, saying, “This is what my life will look like when I am 50 and this is what it will look like when I am 60.” It was the first time I really thought about my life up to the time of my death. I was able to change a lot in those six months.
My mother eventually passed away, but I had a strong desire to live the life I had promised her, and to live it to the fullest. I wanted to live my life not just because I enjoyed it or liked it, but because I wanted to live it properly.

●I’m sure your mother feels the same way.

I hope so. I didn’t actually write “open a shop” in the life plan, but I had written, “have my own team and studio”. And with this shop, that dream became a reality.

●That’s incredible! How do you feel about actually owning a store?
Having a store means that you have to think about business in a way that you didn’t before. In the process, there are inevitably times when I feel like “this is not my style” or “I need more money to achieve this”. When “BANK” invited me to open my own store, I accepted because I thought it would be a positive experience for me, even though it would be a great challenge.
The best part of running the shop is when people praise the growth of the members who work here. Our shop is not like a traditional florist, we have a system in which staff members are assigned to each customer. And so our staff has become a real asset, customers will often come to the shop just to purchase flowers from a specific member of staff. And I think it’s because we can provide customer service in which each individual’s personality shines through.

●What are your impressions of Kabutocho?
As people change, so does the decor and the space itself. So I’m not all that particular about locations, but I do think Kabutocho is a very pleasant place. I like “K5” and go there often, and I also like “Keshiki”. I like the design of the space as well as the events and pop-ups, so I always pay attention to what they’re doing.

●Do you have a motto or a type of philosophy for your creations?
It’s difficult to put into words, but through my work, I want to bring out the parts of plants that usually go unseen. Plants are beautiful, but sometimes the way they reproduce, their shape, and their luster can be in some ways a little creepy. It would be great if I could express the sensory thrill that you get from just looking at a small, beautiful flower. This sense of wonder or of “surprise” is something I cultivated through the childhood games I played and through the walks with my mother. I hope to create something that makes people say, “Wow!” or something that makes their hearts beat a little faster.

●What new things would you like to explore in the future with “fête”?
We want to focus on working with flower-growing regions and farmers. The number of flower growers is decreasing rapidly, and although the agricultural cooperatives are doing their best, many things could be improved. Now that I am running a shop in “BANK”, I’ve learned a lot of things that apply to many industries and not just flowers. So I’m always thinking “Things can be promoted in this way or that” or “This industry is highly compatible with this” and so on. So in the near future, we are exploring how we can use such business knowledge to better connect flower-growing regions and companies and to increase the access points for people to buy flowers.
As is the same with vegetables, the quality and characteristics of flowers vary dramatically depending on the area where it’s produced and the skill of the producer. If this information becomes more widely known to the general public, it will motivate farmers and lead to people thinking “I’ll want to buy these flowers because they are from this specific grower.” Of course, we also visit the growing areas, but I would like to create more and more new connections and create a flow that will bring smiles to the faces of everyone involved, from the production area to the market, to the store, to the consumer.

Moe Hosokawa

Moe Hosokawa

Born in Kanagawa Prefecture. Growing up in an environment where nature and greenery were close at hand, she developed a wealth of knowledge and love for flowers and animals. Through her work as a spatial designer, she began decorating spaces using plants. Her refined and well-balanced style, which uses extreme colors, has earned her a positive reputation. She is also responsible for the flowers at “Patisserie ease,” a popular bakery and cake shop in Kabutocho. At the store, she also conducts workshops to create original products combining dried flowers and aroma.

Text : Misaki Yamashita

Photo : Naoto Date

Interesting people in Kabutocho

I check the key visuals for every event and I always find them tasteful and interesting. I get excited when I think about what kind of artists are at the exhibit.