Located in Yokohama, Japan, in an industrial district of the port city’s Seya Ward, Unco Shop specializes in producing and selling poop-themed items, including T-shirts, sneakers, jewelry, accessories and more.
Poop-themed apparel and accessories are not that uncommon in souvenir shops, but there is a Japanese shop that only sells this kind of product!
It is named, of course, after the Japanese word for poop, ‘unco’.
Unco Inc., the company behind the shop, sells over 400 poop-themed products, and is popular with influencers and celebrities in the Asian country, but few know that the project began as a mere hobby.
“I wanted to make poop something funny, not dirty,” Akihiko Nobata, the founder of Unco Shop, told in an interview.
He had been operating a company for high-end men’s clothing in Seya Ward, but he was also making poop-themed t-shirts just for fun, giving them away to family and friends.
At one point, he applied for a trademark for a coiled-up poop design, and he unexpectedly got it in 2014. The Japanese entrepreneur considers this moment as the true beginning of his business.
Motivated by the possibility of turning his hobby into an actual brand, thus he started working on a variety of t-shirts featuring his trademarked design and posted some of them on a major online shop.
It wasn’t long before he was contacted by an enthusiastic customer who loved his apparel and wanted to know if they came in any other colors.
“Someone is that interested in my idea,” he thought to himself before gathering all of his t-shirts and sending them to this stranger who found his idea hilarious. A few days later, he actually met the man at the bar where he worked, and was shocked to find that several unco fans were waiting for him.
As soon as he came into the bar, Akihiko Nobata was surrounded by excited strangers, some of whom were wearing the t-shirts he had sent his fan.
They were expecting “President Poop”, and they wanted to greet him in person. It was at this moment that he knew his design could become the backbone of a real, serious business.
So in 2017, he took a leap of faith and changed his company’s name to Unco Inc., dropping his old business strategy to sell poop-themed apparel and accessories.
In a few months’ time, he started selling his products online, attracting famous customers like TV personality Akemi Darenogare and voice actor Toru Furuya, who showed off some of their unco stuff on social media, while professional baseball’s Yokohama DeNA BayStars manager Daisuke Miura bought poop sandals as gifts for his teammates.
And in July last year, the brick-and-mortar Unco Shop opened its doors in Yokohama.
It’s a unique space filled with hundreds of poop-themed products, from clothing items to accessories. It even has a guest book filled with drawings of funny feces by customers.
“People from every country draw coiled-up poops and giggle when drawing them,” he said. “It transcends language and culture and creates universal laughter.”
Recently, Unco has been able to promote its products also at limited-time pop-up shops in various cities including Saitama, Nagoya and Kobe, displaying even a car adorned with a pink turd on top to attract shoppers….
Images from web – Google Research