This story was originally published in XXIV magazine 2018
Naomi Mano is part of a select group of women who run their own companies in Japan. She is the founder of Luxurique, a Tokyo-based boutique hospitality consultancy that specialises in tailored bespoke and exclusive experiences in Japan. Her clients range from corporate hotshots to VIP guests, including the royal family.
Her company can arrange a personal meeting with well-known but reclusive artists or an exclusive geisha show.
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Having been in the business for over a decade, Mano has seen modest change in how people interpret luxury.
“There seems to be a larger expectation of bespoke and personalised services and goods when it comes to luxury,” she says. “Luxury is no longer about providing just the best in quality, or the best services, but tailoring it to each individual client and their requests or requirements – that is true luxury.
“So while the general standard has risen, with the development of IT and AI and other useful apps, ‘luxury’ is one area that will continue to be defined by individual specialists, to tailor-make and personalise the product, service or experience.”
Mano, a mother of two young boys, likens running her company in many ways to a household. “Providing overall strategy, guidelines and management, and learning to delegate to trusted staff and teams is the key to ensuring high-quality output for both,” she explains. “Time is extremely precious and, unfortunately, learning to multi-task on different levels seems to be the only solution at the moment.
“Driving to a meeting, while doing calls on speakerphone in the car, answering emails during stop lights, and in between texting and messaging suppliers to organise a kid’s birthday party, is all in a day’s work for me.”
Mano’s children together have eight different lessons through the week and also play soccer at Tokyo representative level. This involves a 200km drive every weekend and 20 hours on the soccer pitch. If she ever finds time, she will go shopping, visit a spa or get a massage. To her, a quick two-hour recharge is a precious treat.
Naomi Mano’s preferred timepiece
“This is my favourite. It was a gift from my husband when we got married – the diamond bezel makes it luxurious, but still simple enough to wear to any event, official or private.”