A cooperative form of business is not an easy decision. What is your purpose and how is the process that you have been working together until today?
(Na Yeon) I finished graduate school one semester earlier, and I was in desperate need of a partner’s advice and support while developing products. Therefore, I asked Aram to work with me. (Aram) I did not hesitate to work with her because we have a lot in common in school regarding our interests, including design. It has already been three years since we shared a space. It was our common belief that anyone should be able to purchase and use lacquer craft items for reasonable prices. It has become the identity of our brand, Ott Ott.
It seemed difficult to operate the brand. Are you also working on an individual work?
(Na Yeon) Even though we have different looks, we have a lot in common regarding our personalities. As a result, we really do not have conflicting ideas. We easily come to an agreement under any circumstances. As we spend more time in the same space, we tend to have a broader understanding of each other. We have difficulties as we are barely starting our business; however, they are not obstacles, but things to ponder together. (Aram) That is correct. We do not have much time for our individual work. Our brand is our priority, so we cannot spare much time for ourselves. If I could, I would like to create furniture, tableware, and chests with a lot of detail.
Could you tell us about the ‘Tray’ on the cover?
(Aram) In general, lacquering is confined in the perception that it is an ‘expensive furniture’ using traditional techniques. We wanted to break that fixed idea and prove that lacquered products can be purchased for a more affordable price, and they can be used in everyday life. Tray was the result of our contemplation to make every day tableware bright and warm. When we saw that consumers preferred the tray to cups or dishes at a flea market, we immediately decided to make a tray.
There are many other products that can be lacquered. Why did you choose a tray?
(Na Yeon) We were encouraged by the consumer’s reactions at the flea market, and we were selected for the 2017 Craft Design Product Development Project to turn it into a product. You can use it to carry cups and dishes as it is made of environmentally friendly lacquering, and it can even serve food as it is functionally versatile. It is lacquered, so it is protected from deterioration and moisture. (Aram) Our tray does not cover the grains of wood with the lacquer, and we mixed colorants suitable for tableware with refined lacquer in order to create bright pastel colors.
Could you tell us about your effort to make lacquering popular?
(Na Yeon) We will take the tray as an example. We had to think of product quality and its cost-effectiveness in order to appeal to the consumers. First, we chose patterned wood, which is more affordable and easy to handle, instead of the unsawn timber that is more expensive and hard to handle. Also, we chose CNC machining in order to shape and cu