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How to successfully multi-hyphenate

Since author Emma Gannon published her book The multi-hyphen methodacclaimed by all, there has been a growing cohort of young professionals exploring the idea of ​​a portfolio career – juggling multiple roles, or pursuing a passion project or side hustle alongside a day job that pays their path.

Yureeka Yasuda, a Japanese-born entrepreneur whose projects span the worlds of art, food and drink, journalism and luxury retail, is someone who has made a virtue of being a multi -caesura. Born in Japan to an art dealer father, Yasuda moved to suburban New Jersey in the United States when she was just two years old, before returning to Tokyo to study at an international school at the 13 years old. be proud of who I am,” she says. “At first I felt like in the United States I had been too Japanese, and in Japan I acted too much like a Westerner – it took me a while to realize that being a mixture of cultures could be my strength.”

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Yasuda, who studied anthropology at university but never felt particularly drawn to academia, got her first chance when she tracked down the owner of an American tea company, Harney & Sons, to persuade him to sell a particular cinnamon mix that she was convinced would work well. in the Japanese market. “I had tried this amazing tea at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, and I really believed in the product and wanted to sell it in Japan,” she explains. “So I went to see Michael Harney speak at a forum and then stayed after the session to meet him in person.” She was still in her early twenties at the time, but convinced him to accept a one-year contract, distributing to local stores across Japan, and her product performed brilliantly. “It kind of became the pioneer of flavored teas there, because before that the Japanese really only drank green or roasted blends.” Under Yasuda’s leadership, the Tea Time Company operated a number of stores and events across Japan, including the opening of Harney & Sons’ flagship store in Nagoya.

It took me time to realize that being a mix of cultures could be my strength

Throughout her work in tea distribution, Yasuda has also worked as a freelance columnist for titles such as Forbes Japan and the online art collector’s bible Larry’s List, building on the knowledge and passion for art she had inherited from her father. People started reaching out to her for advice on what to buy and collect; At first, she was reluctant to follow in her father’s professional footsteps, but the more she traveled to galleries and art fairs around the world, the more she realized she had a knack for spotting a piece of art. ‘investment. “It was natural to start helping people interested in art – and in the first month alone I sold so many paintings,” she recalls. “I wasn’t looking for collectors or clients, but a lot of my friends felt intimidated by the art world, so I started taking them to galleries to help them start conversations…” In 2017, she founded her art consulting firm Tokyo Art Office, and has successfully run it ever since.

Still, Yasuda never lost her love of tea, and 2020 saw her launch a new company, Sayuri, which aims to bring artisanal Japanese matcha to an international audience. Having previously graduated as a tea sommelier (a six-month process that included blind tastings, demonstrations and written exams), she believes the ritualistic aspects of tea drinking culture are lacking in the world. western. “In Japan, tea is considered an art form, alongside calligraphy and flower arranging,” she explains. “I know we’re all busy and don’t have time to perform tea ceremonies every day, but just making yourself a bowl of matcha or a cup of tea can be really meditative.”

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Saying no is much easier than apologizing – knowing your strengths and weaknesses is really important

Balancing her fledgling tea empire (Sayuri will soon launch at Harrods, and Yasuda hopes to eventually expand the brand internationally) with her responsibilities as an art dealer, which include a number of commissions for hotels and restaurants, must be quite a juggling act, but Yasuda has developed strategies to manage the multiple demands on her time. “When someone asks you to take on a project, don’t respond right away,” she advises. “Take a few days to think about it, because it’s much worse to disappoint someone later – saying no is much easier than apologizing. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is really important. His other recommendation is to harness the power of your network whenever possible. “It’s important to keep talking about your passion, because you never know who’s listening to you,” she says. “I’ve gotten to the point where I’m pretty open to asking questions and exploring ideas with other people.”

Finally, never apologize for having a wide range of interests. “Some people build a career based on a particular skill set, but I feel like mine is just about being myself and being able to connect the dots between people,” Yasuda says. “And I think the world is moving towards that idea too, with so many industries and genres crossing over. I’m glad we’ve finally gotten to this place.

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