Rachelle Kuramoto, founder of Kigo Footwear

Martha Note: Starting a business takes guts, savvy and a great product and Rachelle Kuramoto has all three. Learn about how Rachelle has used the art of making mistakes to her advantage and how it’s probably a necessary ingredient to doing anything that requires a little boldness.

Guest Blog by Rachelle Kuramoto

I’ve always been attracted to things that combine art and science. As a child and into my early adulthood, I played the oboe. The allure was the musical art that was created through the science of instrument mechanics, tone and mathematical equations. In college, I worked as a writing instructor, teaching other students how to use the sciences of grammar and syntax to create the art of the well-written word. After I had finally exhausted my post-graduate study options, I took a job directing market research and editorial creation for a global public relations agency, which meant analyzing statistics to create unique, productive brand content.

At every phase, I’ve felt that the reward for mastering a science was the resulting art, whether music, poetry or a great brand. That left/right brain symbiosis is motivating – even when the challenge is great, the challenge is great.

And great that challenge has become as I’ve become an entrepreneur and a mom. These roles are not entirely dissimilar, especially as a study of arts and sciences.

As any mom or dad knows, parenting involves almost every science from biology (obvious) to chemistry (stain removal) to physics (will it flush?). And the arts are fully involved as well. If your house is like ours, it’s full of books, singing and paintings on the kitchen cork board.

Similarly, most entrepreneurs will tell you that an accurate business card would show their title not as “Founder” or “President” but as “Hat Rack”. As the founder/hat rack of Kigo Footwear, that means employing sciences including textile development, economics, market research and even occasional computer repair. It also means the art of the brand, of shoe design and color study.

But I’ve found that those aren’t the arts and sciences that really count. I’ve only been working at parenting for nine years, and Kigo Footwear, www.KigoFootwear.com is only about four years old, only two of which is actually in the marketplace. In that time, I’ve become especially talented at a particular art and science, and combined, I find them to be more useful than any others.

If I can say so myself, I’ve become quite good at the art of making mistakes. Making mistakes is easy enough. To be an art, it requires a level of self-awareness, hindsight and discernment. None of those things are easy and there is no obvious process to them. That’s where the art comes in. The only way I know to turn a mistake into a productive action item is to identify the mistake, understand why it happened and determine a new course of action.

“If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” – Lee Iacocca

Though there are certainly some best practices and autopilot days on the books, it seems that just as many days are spent identifying strategies and tactics for better ways to do things. That awareness and commitment to improvement keeps the wheels turning. I’m hopeful that it will turn my children into well adjusted, highly functioning adults and my business into a lasting, impactful success.

It is that awareness and commitment that also direct the science of humility. To know that you have made mistakes that you might not even identify until later is a bit discomfiting. To know that you have to discern ways to do things differently is intimidating.

Humility is not inherent in the human psyche. It would be much easier to gloss over our mistakes – to move forward at a rapid pace so the results of our mistakes don’t catch up with us (though we all know that most of them do).

Humility is as much an admission of guilt as it an openness to being better. It is the process of facing ourselves, knowing and forgiving our mistakes and optimistically figuring out better ways of being. Humility is a science if you do something with it (otherwise, you’re just knocking yourself down

It would be a real mistake to forget humility. It requires vulnerability, appreciation for the wisdom of others, acceptance of mistakes we make and a commitment to something better. Humility is probably a science that I’ll never quite master, but it’s pretty wonderful to work on learning it.

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