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Tofu Cute Blog
10 Years of Tofu Cute!
10 Years of Tofu Cute!
6th March 2020 • by Adam
6th March 2020 • 10 years of Tofu Cute! • by Adam
10 years of Tofu Cute!
It's now been 10 years since Tofu Cute began! I guess time really does fly when you're having fun, and Tofu Cute has definitely been having fun for the last decade, providing all manner of cuteness as the UK's leading Kawaii Shop.

Tofu Cute's had an interesting history - a lot has happened on the way to this point. There's some parts I can't share with you, and plenty that we can't fit into the length of our standard blog posts - so I've opted to share some thoughts on some of Tofu Cute's milestone highlights, as well as some commentary from other members of Team Tofu.

As someone who has only been part of Tofu Cute for 2+ years, my perspective on this history is probably lacking compared to those who have been here from the beginning, but I think that's also helped give me a sense of just how much it's grown - Tofu Cute really has come quite a long way!
Where did it all begin?
The story of Tofu Cute has many points of origin, but we'll begin our history in August of 2010, when the Tofu Cute online shop opened its virtual doors. Our website looked very different back then, with less responsive pages and menus that weren't quite as intuitive as the ones we have now. The Tofu Cute Online shop took its very first order on August 1st! It looked a little bit like this:

1 x Kawaii Bamboo Leaf Onigiri Rice Ball Plush
1 x Kawaii Onigiri Rice Ball Plush
1 x Kawaii Sakura Blossom Onigiri Rice Ball Plush
1 x Kawaii Seedling Critter Plush Keychain - Blue Kitty
1 x Pankunchi Bear 4-inch Plush Keychain - Sunny Yellow
1 x Piggy Biscuit Kawaii Plush Coin Purse - Strawberry Filling



It's a good order - especially because it was the first! We can only hope they were happy with it, as this order would set a trend that continues to this day. Yes, I'm sure it's hard to believe, but we still take orders on our online shop. Isn’t it amazing what technology can do?

The method of how we deal with orders has grown a lot since these early days, where there's now a highly efficient set of people and systems in place dedicated to getting you your order on time. Back then it was on a smaller scale, but it laid the important foundations for what was to come!
First Steps (to events)
As you may already know, attending events is a huge part of Tofu Cute and what we stand for. We love meeting our customers at events around the UK and supplying you with all the tasty goods, furry friends and all the other cute things you could need. Currently, we aim to attend every major event in the UK, and we're always looking to expand to other regions, if there's an opportunity!

But it wasn't always this way - Tofu Cute's first ever event appearance was at something that I'm told was called 'Barbican cosplay extravaganza', where the original Team Tofu took a meagre handful of snacks and oddities from Japan to sell to the attendees of the event - there was only around 200 people in attendance! It was a moderate success, and so, Team Tofu set our heights on loftier appearances.

Of course, Team Tofu eventually ventured to bring Tofu Cute to MCM events, which are amongst the biggest in the UK convention scene. Some of Team Tofu Creative Director Zanni's favourite Tofu Cute memories involve early convention landmarks:

"The first time we saw our huge banner being put up at MCM London Comic Con was epic – it hangs from the ceiling of Excel Centre right above Kawaii Alley"

Team Tofu member Wee has a different perspective, noting her time seeing Tofu Cute at MCM before joining the company:

"I remember the very first time I spotted Tofu Cute at an event in 2011 and thinking how cute all the products were and how lovely the people working on the stall were (Hi Bobby and Zanni!) At the time Tofu Cute only had one table, to watch the company grow over the years from one small table to the Kawaii Area we have at MCM Comic Con now has been amazing."
Edamame!
December 2011 saw the launch of one of our classic Tofu Cute original products, the popping edamame! This cute product is based on edamame soybeans, which come in a green pod, just like peas! This stress-relieving squishy charm allows you to 'pop' edamame beans out of their pod, each one with a cute little face.

This fantastic popping edamame is still a popular product in Tofu Cute's lineup at the moment, but perhaps most importantly, it once again paved the way for other sorts of Tofu Cute original products to eventually hit the store. There's something that's still very charming about these mysterious popping beans, that's for sure! You can click here to get one of your own, and have a fantastic time popping some beans.
Tofu Cute Goes international
It was inevitable at some point that Tofu Cute would attend a convention outside of our home country and begin reaching a wider audience. Although the online shop was serving customers from a variety of different countries at this point, Tofu Cute attended its first Abunai! Con in the Netherlands in the year of 2012 which marked the Tofu Cute's first international event appearance, and much fun was had.

Abunai! remains one of the international conventions that Tofu Cute still regularly attends, and it holds happy memories for a lot of Team Tofu. Creative director Zanni says:

"Every year we have an amazing time, and our mascot Panda-chan is super popular there – every time he’s walking around, the Abunai attendees will rush over for hugs, and he always does a skit at the opening ceremony! Along with Ricky, the other Tofu Cute Abunai mascot... We actually sell fans printed with Ricky’s face on, which is most likely something that only Tofu Cute fans who attend Abunai would know about."

Attending Abunai saw the early public appearances of our mascot Panda-chan in order to promote our presence at the events. Panda-chan is still a valued member of our team to this day, and you never know when they might appear! Panda-Chan's most recent documented appearance is in this video, but much like other cryptid creatures, they're harder to find these days. I sent them an email asking for an interview but got no response... they're still lurking around though - hidden somewhere in the Tofu Cute shop...
Setting up Shop
The Tofu Cute shop in Portsmouth was acquired in May of 2013, but it would spend a long time being refurbished and decorated until it could eventually open its doors to the public in late 2014. The Tofu Cute shop remains the pinkest shop in Portsmouth, and probably one of the pinkest (and cutest!) shops in the UK. Transforming the shop was a gargantuan effort, but well worth the work that went into it.

As Zanni puts it, "Opening up our Tofu Cute shop in Portsmouth was also an extremely exciting time for us, we had spent most of the year decorating the shop and offices to make it super kawaii and it has become like a second home to some of the Tofu Cute members."

Of course, what's a shop without cute things to sell in it? We've had a wide variety of things stocked in our Tofu Cute shops over the years, but here's some of the team's favourites!

Devon: "I think it’d have to be Pocari Sweat! It reminds me of hot summer days in Japan. I also loved when the 'dream colour FLAN' appeared - seeing people fall in love with them at events was a beautiful thing."

Wee: "I’m a sucker for gummy sweets and I’m so sad we no longer stock them but the Meiji Gummy Chocolates are my all time favourite! The combination of a round chewy gummy sweet encased in a crispy chocolate outer shell is so addictive, in fact I think they were one of the very first items I bought from Tofu Cute way before I joined! A close second favourite of mine is Winter Melty Cocoa Pocky, dunk it into a hot cup of tea and it will change your life forever."

Kiru: "For me it’s Re-Ment! It’s such a 'Japanese product' that you just can’t get anything like anywhere else. Everything is so cute and tiny, you can never have enough and I love creating elaborate displays with different themes. I am always excited to see the next series and I love sharing my enthusiasm with other Re-Ment collectors at events."

The shop has changed visually a lot throughout the years with regularly changing window displays and product selections. It's the cherished home base of Team Tofu, and we've got lots of plans with plans to take it further in the future!
Making Friends
The Tofu Tomodachi card is something we launched in 2014, in order to start to give back to the loyal customers who had carried Tofu Cute through four years of kawaii shop so far. The idea was much like any other loyalty card - collect points for buying stuff, and get cool stuff in return. The term 'tomodachi' means 'friend' in Japanese, so we consider everyone of our club members to be 'a friend of Tofu Cute!' Hooray!

We've tried to a do a lot of fun things with tomodachi points and prizes since their introduction, and now, prizes are updated more regularly than ever before, with more opportunities to earn points than ever before with the tofu cute blog and tofu cute TV! (Click here to see our latest prizes!).
HYPER Tofu Cute
Tofu Cute really got the chance to step things up for events with the first 'Tofu Cute World' at HYPER JAPAN in November of 2015. With the event held in the versatile Tobacco Dock, Tofu Cute had its very own corner of the event space, with a bigger pop-up shop than ever before.

Zanni described it as a big moment for Tofu Cute: "Unveiling “Tofu Cute World” at Tobacco Dock for HYPER JAPAN was really cool – we had an entire huge glass-fronted room to ourselves, which we arranged into different kawaii sections including snacks, AMUSE plush, Dreamy Bows and even a cute photo spot!"

Although HYPER JAPAN has since moved to another venue, the scale of the Tofu Cute pop-up at the event has continued to increase. We joke frequently about becoming a 'kawaii empire', but it's becoming more and more of a reality with each year. Perhaps within the next ten years, we'll have to start reserving some space on the moon for our pop-up.
Lucky Bags
In July of 2016, Tofu Cute launched our now-famous Lucky Bags to the world, allowing people to get a random mix of delicious Japanese snacks, AMUSE plushies or both picked by our experts in the warehouse and created by a magical system that mysteriously chooses the snacks. Some say this system was born with a soul, and can wisely select the snacks that you desire but do not know you desire yet. It's powerful stuff.

Tofu Cute Lucky Bags were exciting when they first arrived - you can tell how cool we thought the idea was in this early, pre-tofu cute TV video. Of course, we didn't invent the idea of randomising our product selection, but the presentation and style is something we made uniquely tofu cute, by offering a range of size and type options and giving you all of it in adorable re-usable bags. Lucky Bags are something we'll always stock, as we love making them and giving people fun surprises! You never know what you'll get in a Tofu Cute Lucky Bag - but we can promise it'll always be amazing!
Joining the Team
A lot of things happened in 2017, but if I had to pick one thing that was significant to me, it would be my own arrival at the company in late 2017! I joined initially to assist with the social media output and marketing activities, and although my role has grown and changed over the time I've been working here, the one thing that hasn't changed is how much fun working at Tofu Cute is on a day-to-day basis. With such a diverse and talented group of people in all different parts of the shop's business, coming to work every day is a delight.

A bunch of these people also joined in 2017, including our warehouse manager Laska, who you may recognise from a variety of our videos for her caramel corn and FLAN obsessions. Other members of the team that joined in 2017 include Devon, who you'll know as the host and creator of Tofu Cute TV (we'll talk more about this later) and Harley, a member of the fantastic warehouse team. We've had other additions to the team since and plan to keep growing - maybe you (yes, you reading this!) will be the one to join team tofu next. Stranger things have happened - many of us were just fans of Tofu Cute before becoming a part of it!
A Shiny New Website
In 2018, we embarked on the launch of a brand new website, after spending a long time with revisions on the original design. This upgrade made the TofuCute.com online shop bigger, faster and stronger. With a new responsive format, the website was finally friendly for all devices. We launched with an awesome set of promotions,

The current version of the website is based on this redesign, and we're really pleased with how it works at the moment. But with advances in technology and cultural shifts happening all the time, who knows what the website will look like in the future? Will TofuCute.com move to Virtual Reality? Will we be bought be Amazon? Who knows. (The answer is probably no to both, by the way).
Tofu Squishies
With a squishy craze rising, in early 2018 Tofu Cute decided to create our own section for squishies including the best Puni-Maru Squishies, alongside a variety of other types and our very own Tofu Cute original squishy series. The design process for these began much earlier, and it was very exciting to watch the Tofu Cute squishies come to life. With two different types in a variety of styles, our Tofu Cute Squishies were born: Kawaii Animal Doughnuts and Kawaii Poops.

These unique squishy products remixed earlier Tofu Cute designs and made them into something new and special. These 'slow-rising' squishies have been super popular with our customers since their release, and you can still get them today!
Blogging It
From as early as 2013, Tofu Cute was using an external site to make the occasional fun blogs about various adventures. In 2018, we made the decision to move the blog to our own site, so we had a space for some rambling fool to ramble (it was me, I'm the rambling fool) about our latest products, host competitions and to generally have a platform for fun written content about Tofu Cute and beyond. You're actually reading the kawaii blog right now!

The blog has given us many fun events including our FLANart competition, Love Poetry competition, 100 word review competition and many more. It's given me a space to talk about the fun things I've found out about Japanese snacks & kawaii stuff, a space to announce some of our exciting new developments and also a place for me to review my favourite products. It's been an exciting journey here on the blog, and there's much more madness to come.

The blog also lead to the Introduction of Quentin The Sloth, introduced September 2018 as part the first ever 'Tofu Q&A' which of course stands for question & answer, but also Quentin & Adam. To make to joke work we had to make sure we hired a sloth with a name that begun with 'Q'. Quentin's been a valued member of the team ever since.
Tofu Cute TV!
In October of 2018, Devon officially launched Tofu Cute TV, the reboot of the Tofu Cute Youtube channel! After meticulously redecorating an unused part of the Tofu Cute HQ into a studio, the channel launched with its first video about AMUSE Giant Plushies! The amazing content we've seen on Tofu Cute since then hasn't stopped, with lots of fantastic videos on the channel and plenty more coming soon!

A personal favourite moment of mine was participating in the FLANart competition finale happened on Tofu Cute TV - it was an exciting moment to not only reveal the winner of the FLANart competition, but also to reveal a brand new type of FLAN to the world! Other personal highlights for me include the 'world's longest sloth chain' video which was fantastic fun to be a part of, and the 'pantastic bread party', which was also absolutely crazy.

In Devon's own words: "I'm always happy when people who watch our YouTube channel come to meet me! Everyone’s been so lovely and I’ve been able to make new friends. I'm looking forward to meeting more of our community as it grows!"
Alfonso
In March of 2019, another character was introduced to the Tofu Cute world - Alfonso! A rainbow Alpaca hand puppet. This adorable little creature appeared of nowhere and was named by one of our Instagram followers!

Alfonso has since become a mascot of some renown, appearing often in our Instagram and Facebook stories. They've even appeared in a few of Tofu Cute TV videos, and the third ever Tofu Q&A. You never know where they might appear next!

In an interview with Alfonso, he revealed: "I'm not sure what I expected from beginning my role at Tofu Cute, but I'm really grateful for the opportunity. I've made some excellent friends like Quentin!"
Memories
I'd like to round off this post by sharing some of the other memories that didn't fit in other parts of this blog:

Kiru: "I loved when we took Tofu Cute to our first Pride-march. It was so lovely to show support to our local community in all the kawaii and colourful style of Tofu Cute! To me Tofu Cute is all about people from all walks of life having a place to feel safe and accepted in their own interests and passions. Being able to show support at Pride was a great way of delivering this message'

"Another one of the cutest memories is when we had 2 orders from the Princess of Brunei! She ordered some Apollo and other candy for her children (we assume!) Her order was addressed to the palace! We sent her a pink alpaca with a crown on as a ‘thank you’ gift for her patronage."

Zanni: "I still remember the excitement of seeing that first ever order come through on the Tofu Cute website, and being so happy that other people liked this cute stuff as much as we did. Also the first piece of fan mail we ever received, which was adorable! And the amazing response to our fan art competitions – seeing people come up with incredibly creative versions of the Tofu Cute characters - including collages, 3D graphics and someone who even sewed a plush and sent it in!"

Wee: "I have worked many years in the past on the Tofu Cute stand and each one has been super fun and an unforgettable experience! I’m sure the other staff members will agree with me when I say the best part of the events is always meeting our fans and customers, new and old! Everyone is so friendly and I’m always blown away by the cosplays and outfits I see. Having been one of the con-goers who would squeal in excitement at how cute the stand looks I can totally relate to all of our excitable customers. It’s really heartwarming to know we can bring such joy and happiness at all these events and that’s what keeps us going!"
...and another 10 years!
I think Wee's statement is a nice place to end it on, because in the midst of this blog, I think it's important to remember that none of this would have been possible without the support of you. We've only been able to stick around for 10 years because of the demand for it, so it only seems fitting to give a sincere 'thank you' here! Thank you.

We hope we can continue for another 10 years and beyond. We have no doubt we can make it happen, so we'll see what new memories the future holds for Tofu Cute!
It's now been 10 years since Tofu Cute began! I guess time really does fly when you're having fun, and Tofu Cute has definitely been having fun for the last decade, providing all manner of cuteness as the UK's leading Kawaii Shop.

Tofu Cute's had an interesting history - a lot has happened on the way to this point. There's some parts I can't share with you, and plenty that we can't fit into the length of our standard blog posts - so I've opted to share some thoughts on some of Tofu Cute's milestone highlights, as well as some commentary from other members of Team Tofu.

As someone who has only been part of Tofu Cute for 2+ years, my perspective on this history is probably lacking compared to those who have been here from the beginning, but I think that's also helped give me a sense of just how much it's grown - Tofu Cute really has come quite a long way!
Where did it all begin?
The story of Tofu Cute has many points of origin, but we'll begin our history in August of 2010, when the Tofu Cute online shop opened its virtual doors. Our website looked very different back then, with less responsive pages and menus that weren't quite as intuitive as the ones we have now. The Tofu Cute Online shop took its very first order on August 1st! It looked a little bit like this:

1 x Kawaii Bamboo Leaf Onigiri Rice Ball Plush
1 x Kawaii Onigiri Rice Ball Plush
1 x Kawaii Sakura Blossom Onigiri Rice Ball Plush
1 x Kawaii Seedling Critter Plush Keychain - Blue Kitty
1 x Pankunchi Bear 4-inch Plush Keychain - Sunny Yellow
1 x Piggy Biscuit Kawaii Plush Coin Purse - Strawberry Filling



It's a good order - especially because it was the first! We can only hope they were happy with it, as this order would set a trend that continues to this day. Yes, I'm sure it's hard to believe, but we still take orders on our online shop. Isn’t it amazing what technology can do?

The method of how we deal with orders has grown a lot since these early days, where there's now a highly efficient set of people and systems in place dedicated to getting you your order on time. Back then it was on a smaller scale, but it laid the important foundations for what was to come!
First Steps (to events)
As you may already know, attending events is a huge part of Tofu Cute and what we stand for. We love meeting our customers at events around the UK and supplying you with all the tasty goods, furry friends and all the other cute things you could need. Currently, we aim to attend every major event in the UK, and we're always looking to expand to other regions, if there's an opportunity!

But it wasn't always this way - Tofu Cute's first ever event appearance was at something that I'm told was called 'Barbican cosplay extravaganza', where the original Team Tofu took a meagre handful of snacks and oddities from Japan to sell to the attendees of the event - there was only around 200 people in attendance! It was a moderate success, and so, Team Tofu set our heights on loftier appearances.

Of course, Team Tofu eventually ventured to bring Tofu Cute to MCM events, which are amongst the biggest in the UK convention scene. Some of Team Tofu Creative Director Zanni's favourite Tofu Cute memories involve early convention landmarks:

"The first time we saw our huge banner being put up at MCM London Comic Con was epic – it hangs from the ceiling of Excel Centre right above Kawaii Alley"

Team Tofu member Wee has a different perspective, noting her time seeing Tofu Cute at MCM before joining the company:

"I remember the very first time I spotted Tofu Cute at an event in 2011 and thinking how cute all the products were and how lovely the people working on the stall were (Hi Bobby and Zanni!) At the time Tofu Cute only had one table, to watch the company grow over the years from one small table to the Kawaii Area we have at MCM Comic Con now has been amazing."
Edamame!
December 2011 saw the launch of one of our classic Tofu Cute original products, the popping edamame! This cute product is based on edamame soybeans, which come in a green pod, just like peas! This stress-relieving squishy charm allows you to 'pop' edamame beans out of their pod, each one with a cute little face.

This fantastic popping edamame is still a popular product in Tofu Cute's lineup at the moment, but perhaps most importantly, it once again paved the way for other sorts of Tofu Cute original products to eventually hit the store. There's something that's still very charming about these mysterious popping beans, that's for sure! You can click here to get one of your own, and have a fantastic time popping some beans.
Tofu Cute Goes international
It was inevitable at some point that Tofu Cute would attend a convention outside of our home country and begin reaching a wider audience. Although the online shop was serving customers from a variety of different countries at this point, Tofu Cute attended its first Abunai! Con in the Netherlands in the year of 2012 which marked the Tofu Cute's first international event appearance, and much fun was had.

Abunai! remains one of the international conventions that Tofu Cute still regularly attends, and it holds happy memories for a lot of Team Tofu. Creative director Zanni says:

"Every year we have an amazing time, and our mascot Panda-chan is super popular there – every time he’s walking around, the Abunai attendees will rush over for hugs, and he always does a skit at the opening ceremony! Along with Ricky, the other Tofu Cute Abunai mascot... We actually sell fans printed with Ricky’s face on, which is most likely something that only Tofu Cute fans who attend Abunai would know about."

Attending Abunai saw the early public appearances of our mascot Panda-chan in order to promote our presence at the events. Panda-chan is still a valued member of our team to this day, and you never know when they might appear! Panda-Chan's most recent documented appearance is in this video, but much like other cryptid creatures, they're harder to find these days. I sent them an email asking for an interview but got no response... they're still lurking around though - hidden somewhere in the Tofu Cute shop...
Setting up Shop
The Tofu Cute shop in Portsmouth was acquired in May of 2013, but it would spend a long time being refurbished and decorated until it could eventually open its doors to the public in late 2014. The Tofu Cute shop remains the pinkest shop in Portsmouth, and probably one of the pinkest (and cutest!) shops in the UK. Transforming the shop was a gargantuan effort, but well worth the work that went into it.

As Zanni puts it, "Opening up our Tofu Cute shop in Portsmouth was also an extremely exciting time for us, we had spent most of the year decorating the shop and offices to make it super kawaii and it has become like a second home to some of the Tofu Cute members."

Of course, what's a shop without cute things to sell in it? We've had a wide variety of things stocked in our Tofu Cute shops over the years, but here's some of the team's favourites!

Devon: "I think it’d have to be Pocari Sweat! It reminds me of hot summer days in Japan. I also loved when the 'dream colour FLAN' appeared - seeing people fall in love with them at events was a beautiful thing."

Wee: "I’m a sucker for gummy sweets and I’m so sad we no longer stock them but the Meiji Gummy Chocolates are my all time favourite! The combination of a round chewy gummy sweet encased in a crispy chocolate outer shell is so addictive, in fact I think they were one of the very first items I bought from Tofu Cute way before I joined! A close second favourite of mine is Winter Melty Cocoa Pocky, dunk it into a hot cup of tea and it will change your life forever."

Kiru: "For me it’s Re-Ment! It’s such a 'Japanese product' that you just can’t get anything like anywhere else. Everything is so cute and tiny, you can never have enough and I love creating elaborate displays with different themes. I am always excited to see the next series and I love sharing my enthusiasm with other Re-Ment collectors at events."

The shop has changed visually a lot throughout the years with regularly changing window displays and product selections. It's the cherished home base of Team Tofu, and we've got lots of plans with plans to take it further in the future!
Making Friends
The Tofu Tomodachi card is something we launched in 2014, in order to start to give back to the loyal customers who had carried Tofu Cute through four years of kawaii shop so far. The idea was much like any other loyalty card - collect points for buying stuff, and get cool stuff in return. The term 'tomodachi' means 'friend' in Japanese, so we consider everyone of our club members to be 'a friend of Tofu Cute!' Hooray!

We've tried to a do a lot of fun things with tomodachi points and prizes since their introduction, and now, prizes are updated more regularly than ever before, with more opportunities to earn points than ever before with the tofu cute blog and tofu cute TV! (Click here to see our latest prizes!).
HYPER Tofu Cute
Tofu Cute really got the chance to step things up for events with the first 'Tofu Cute World' at HYPER JAPAN in November of 2015. With the event held in the versatile Tobacco Dock, Tofu Cute had its very own corner of the event space, with a bigger pop-up shop than ever before.

Zanni described it as a big moment for Tofu Cute: "Unveiling “Tofu Cute World” at Tobacco Dock for HYPER JAPAN was really cool – we had an entire huge glass-fronted room to ourselves, which we arranged into different kawaii sections including snacks, AMUSE plush, Dreamy Bows and even a cute photo spot!"

Although HYPER JAPAN has since moved to another venue, the scale of the Tofu Cute pop-up at the event has continued to increase. We joke frequently about becoming a 'kawaii empire', but it's becoming more and more of a reality with each year. Perhaps within the next ten years, we'll have to start reserving some space on the moon for our pop-up.
Lucky Bags
In July of 2016, Tofu Cute launched our now-famous Lucky Bags to the world, allowing people to get a random mix of delicious Japanese snacks, AMUSE plushies or both picked by our experts in the warehouse and created by a magical system that mysteriously chooses the snacks. Some say this system was born with a soul, and can wisely select the snacks that you desire but do not know you desire yet. It's powerful stuff.

Tofu Cute Lucky Bags were exciting when they first arrived - you can tell how cool we thought the idea was in this early, pre-tofu cute TV video. Of course, we didn't invent the idea of randomising our product selection, but the presentation and style is something we made uniquely tofu cute, by offering a range of size and type options and giving you all of it in adorable re-usable bags. Lucky Bags are something we'll always stock, as we love making them and giving people fun surprises! You never know what you'll get in a Tofu Cute Lucky Bag - but we can promise it'll always be amazing!
Joining the Team
A lot of things happened in 2017, but if I had to pick one thing that was significant to me, it would be my own arrival at the company in late 2017! I joined initially to assist with the social media output and marketing activities, and although my role has grown and changed over the time I've been working here, the one thing that hasn't changed is how much fun working at Tofu Cute is on a day-to-day basis. With such a diverse and talented group of people in all different parts of the shop's business, coming to work every day is a delight.

A bunch of these people also joined in 2017, including our warehouse manager Laska, who you may recognise from a variety of our videos for her caramel corn and FLAN obsessions. Other members of the team that joined in 2017 include Devon, who you'll know as the host and creator of Tofu Cute TV (we'll talk more about this later) and Harley, a member of the fantastic warehouse team. We've had other additions to the team since and plan to keep growing - maybe you (yes, you reading this!) will be the one to join team tofu next. Stranger things have happened - many of us were just fans of Tofu Cute before becoming a part of it!
A Shiny New Website
In 2018, we embarked on the launch of a brand new website, after spending a long time with revisions on the original design. This upgrade made the TofuCute.com online shop bigger, faster and stronger. With a new responsive format, the website was finally friendly for all devices. We launched with an awesome set of promotions,

The current version of the website is based on this redesign, and we're really pleased with how it works at the moment. But with advances in technology and cultural shifts happening all the time, who knows what the website will look like in the future? Will TofuCute.com move to Virtual Reality? Will we be bought be Amazon? Who knows. (The answer is probably no to both, by the way).
Tofu Squishies
With a squishy craze rising, in early 2018 Tofu Cute decided to create our own section for squishies including the best Puni-Maru Squishies, alongside a variety of other types and our very own Tofu Cute original squishy series. The design process for these began much earlier, and it was very exciting to watch the Tofu Cute squishies come to life. With two different types in a variety of styles, our Tofu Cute Squishies were born: Kawaii Animal Doughnuts and Kawaii Poops.

These unique squishy products remixed earlier Tofu Cute designs and made them into something new and special. These 'slow-rising' squishies have been super popular with our customers since their release, and you can still get them today!
Blogging It
From as early as 2013, Tofu Cute was using an external site to make the occasional fun blogs about various adventures. In 2018, we made the decision to move the blog to our own site, so we had a space for some rambling fool to ramble (it was me, I'm the rambling fool) about our latest products, host competitions and to generally have a platform for fun written content about Tofu Cute and beyond. You're actually reading the kawaii blog right now!

The blog has given us many fun events including our FLANart competition, Love Poetry competition, 100 word review competition and many more. It's given me a space to talk about the fun things I've found out about Japanese snacks & kawaii stuff, a space to announce some of our exciting new developments and also a place for me to review my favourite products. It's been an exciting journey here on the blog, and there's much more madness to come.

The blog also lead to the Introduction of Quentin The Sloth, introduced September 2018 as part the first ever 'Tofu Q&A' which of course stands for question & answer, but also Quentin & Adam. To make to joke work we had to make sure we hired a sloth with a name that begun with 'Q'. Quentin's been a valued member of the team ever since.
Tofu Cute TV!
In October of 2018, Devon officially launched Tofu Cute TV, the reboot of the Tofu Cute Youtube channel! After meticulously redecorating an unused part of the Tofu Cute HQ into a studio, the channel launched with its first video about AMUSE Giant Plushies! The amazing content we've seen on Tofu Cute since then hasn't stopped, with lots of fantastic videos on the channel and plenty more coming soon!

A personal favourite moment of mine was participating in the FLANart competition finale happened on Tofu Cute TV - it was an exciting moment to not only reveal the winner of the FLANart competition, but also to reveal a brand new type of FLAN to the world! Other personal highlights for me include the 'world's longest sloth chain' video which was fantastic fun to be a part of, and the 'pantastic bread party', which was also absolutely crazy.

In Devon's own words: "I'm always happy when people who watch our YouTube channel come to meet me! Everyone’s been so lovely and I’ve been able to make new friends. I'm looking forward to meeting more of our community as it grows!"
Alfonso
In March of 2019, another character was introduced to the Tofu Cute world - Alfonso! A rainbow Alpaca hand puppet. This adorable little creature appeared of nowhere and was named by one of our Instagram followers!

Alfonso has since become a mascot of some renown, appearing often in our Instagram and Facebook stories. They've even appeared in a few of Tofu Cute TV videos, and the third ever Tofu Q&A. You never know where they might appear next!

In an interview with Alfonso, he revealed: "I'm not sure what I expected from beginning my role at Tofu Cute, but I'm really grateful for the opportunity. I've made some excellent friends like Quentin!"
Memories
I'd like to round off this post by sharing some of the other memories that didn't fit in other parts of this blog:

Kiru: "I loved when we took Tofu Cute to our first Pride-march. It was so lovely to show support to our local community in all the kawaii and colourful style of Tofu Cute! To me Tofu Cute is all about people from all walks of life having a place to feel safe and accepted in their own interests and passions. Being able to show support at Pride was a great way of delivering this message'

"Another one of the cutest memories is when we had 2 orders from the Princess of Brunei! She ordered some Apollo and other candy for her children (we assume!) Her order was addressed to the palace! We sent her a pink alpaca with a crown on as a ‘thank you’ gift for her patronage."

Zanni: "I still remember the excitement of seeing that first ever order come through on the Tofu Cute website, and being so happy that other people liked this cute stuff as much as we did. Also the first piece of fan mail we ever received, which was adorable! And the amazing response to our fan art competitions – seeing people come up with incredibly creative versions of the Tofu Cute characters - including collages, 3D graphics and someone who even sewed a plush and sent it in!"

Wee: "I have worked many years in the past on the Tofu Cute stand and each one has been super fun and an unforgettable experience! I’m sure the other staff members will agree with me when I say the best part of the events is always meeting our fans and customers, new and old! Everyone is so friendly and I’m always blown away by the cosplays and outfits I see. Having been one of the con-goers who would squeal in excitement at how cute the stand looks I can totally relate to all of our excitable customers. It’s really heartwarming to know we can bring such joy and happiness at all these events and that’s what keeps us going!"
...and another 10 years!
I think Wee's statement is a nice place to end it on, because in the midst of this blog, I think it's important to remember that none of this would have been possible without the support of you. We've only been able to stick around for 10 years because of the demand for it, so it only seems fitting to give a sincere 'thank you' here! Thank you.

We hope we can continue for another 10 years and beyond. We have no doubt we can make it happen, so we'll see what new memories the future holds for Tofu Cute!
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