For Ayaka Uchino, a 36-year-old manager of kyabakura hostess clubs, she learned the realities of the business world at an early age.
“My father was my teacher,” she tells Josei Jishin (Oct. 28) in a special feature about female entrepreneurs.
He had experienced great success in, among other things, real estate prior to the collapse of the “bubble” period more than two decades ago.
“While I was a second-year junior-high school student, his company went bankrupt,” she says. “With financial difficulties mounting, quarreling in the family escalated.”
Her parents eventually divorced, and Uchino realized then that to have no money was not acceptable. Since then, she has gone from an office lady (OL) to the proprietor of three hostess clubs in the Kabukicho entertainment area — a career arc that has always placed a priority on cash flow.
In 2003, the native of Hiroshima opened her first kyabakura joint, Club Up’s. Prior to that, she was employed at a foreign firm, where she says she achieved a top-sales record.
“Coming out of college” — the private, women-only Tsuda College in Tokyo — “I was paid five million yen annually,” she tells the magazine. “But that wasn’t good enough. When I was a student, I worked part-time as a hostess in Ginza and made two million yen a month.”
When she worked in Ginza, she learned that experience was most important.
“I think it is important to realize that there is an art to making money,” she says. “In acquiring the knowledge necessary for that art it may take a number of years but after that it is yours.”
For Uchino, her skills are in being a hostess, which, for example, requires subtleties in knowing exactly when to deliver a customer a bottle of booze.
“I was able to become an entrepreneur at the age of 25,” she says, “and it was through a knack for techniques like that.”
On her Web site, Uchino boasts of not having been short of boyfriends since high school. She also says that she is capable of loving more than one man at once.
In this regard, she is also an author of a number of books on love and relationships. In 2013, she penned “Secrets of a Woman That a Man Does Not Let Go,” in which she advises ladies to drop a selfish attitude when seeking a mate.
The secret to Uchino’s success is more simple: She used her own money to start Club Up’s, entry for which requires an outlay of 8,000 yen for the first 60 minutes.
“To open the club required only four million yen,” she says. “But at the beginning it was like a tight-rope walk. Running the business was rough.”
As a stopgap measure, she at one point had to resort to loans, which have since been taken care of. She says the three clubs she now runs have an accumulated turnover of 500 million yen annually.
Uchino still thinks back to her father’s failure.
“If he had worked until his retirement, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she says. (K.N.)
Source: “Toshi 5 oku-en kasegu! Onna shacho 3-ri no < buttobi > kinsen tetsugaku,” Josei Jishin (Oct. 28, pages 162-163)