Markets in everything

by on August 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm in Food and Drink | Permalink

Artisanal toothpicks:

Established in 1704, Saruya is the only shop in Japan specializing in toothpicks. Of course our toothpicks are not the machine-made, mass-produced items you find anywhere, but hand-crafted, quality toothpicks made from “kuromoji” or spicewood (lindera). Kuromoji is a member of the camphor (linden) family, and besides its fine aroma, it is flexible and hard to break, making it an ideal material for toothpicks.
In addition to regular-use toothpicks, we also make toothpicks to use like a fork for eating slices of fruit or Japanese sweets. Depending on the product, toothpicks might be packaged in a wooden box, or individually wrapped in paper, etc.

At five dollars a box, they are cheaper than artisanal pencil sharpenings.

Steven Frable August 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

The toothpicks I found at restaurants in Japan already surpass the quality of free toothpicks found in the states. However, I would purchase these for stateside use as the MB > MC in relation to free toothpicks in the US. The toothpicks here in the US are horrible!

Looks like the +1 in market demand is right here.

Steko August 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm

My wife’s wealthy aunt always serves us fruit on toothpicks like these. The toothpicks I formed no lasting opinion of but the fruit was easily the best I’ve had anywhere.

Bill August 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Had two clients with similar artisinal features: a US wood chopstick manufacturer that sold to Asia (high quality but also US packaging that worked well with US hotel chains in Asia) and a Chinese fortune cookie company that also shipped to Asia. The client said fortune cookies were a novelty that US customers expected but which some Asians were not accustomed to (like chop suey!). His product was popular because he gave only good fortunes. None of that preachy stuff.

Candadai Tirumalai August 18, 2010 at 9:34 am

My toothpick is called dental floss; like
todd (above).

Ryan August 18, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Just to do the math, that means a skilled craftsman at most grosses 25,200 yen ($270) per day.

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