This is an interview article about Aporta Shop managed by Noelle Sharp. They have been dealing with NISHIGUCHI KUTSUSHITA since 2019.

– Please tell me your store concept and why you started your store.

APORTA Shop was started online in 2018 then in our retail location in 2019. APORTA Shop carries a selection of higly curated artisan goods from around the world. The store also acts as a hub for local community outreach, supports local and nationwide non profits and is an advocate for unrepresented makers.

– What are your important things to manage your store

Managing day to day operations, online and in store, are always a priority. And making sure our customers hear the stories of the makers and their products.

– What kind of customers visit (or who visits) your store and what are they looking for?

Missoula, Montana has become a hub for tourism. In the summer months we cater to a large amount of tourist heading to our National Parks. In the off season we have a very strong community base in store and online. Our customers appreciate the handmade, high quality aspect of the goods we sell and appreciate them being unique from other shopping experiences.
Our customers age varies from teenagers to 65+. We have customers who are artists, teachers, nurses, farmers and more.

– How did you find NISHIGUCHI KUTSUSHITA and what did you think of NISHIGUCHI
KUTSUSHITA at first sight?

I found NISHIGUCHI while walking around Osaka in the all of 2019 and fell in love. The quality of the socks, the beautiful graphic design and the story/mission of the brand stuck with me. When I returned to the US I immediately emailed the company to carry them in our store.

– What do customers react about NISHIGUCHI KUTSUSHITA?

Our customers are obsessed with the socks, both men and women. We sell them to business professionals and outdoors people. Most customers buy 1-3 pairs at a time and always come back for more.

– What’s your goal or are you going to do next in the future?

APORTA Shop’s future is being molded by the fame of Montana being discovered, we are now on the map, as they say. Driving customers to our online store is definitely a priority and making sure our customers are repeat customers has always been a goal. We will continue to support the nonprofits we have worked with and are already in discussions with local outreach to offer financial and social media support.
Showcasing more international brands and makers, items that we are not accustomed to seeing in the US is something I want the store to continue to be known for. I also want to try doing a short term pop up in Japan and Denmark to test the market and see how our concept does.

Interview/Isato Nishiguchi