Date started at Hallmark: September 2005 Date started at Keepsakes: 2012 Hometown: Chiba, Japan ________________________________________
Some might say that daydreaming children aren’t often appreciated for their individuality. “Same school uniform, same shoes, same hairstyle—I was not like that!” Chieko’s creativity had her sticking out like a sore thumb in Japan, but it’s helped her flourish as a designer here in Kansas City—first as a Hallmark Designer for plush and finally as a Keepsake Ornament Artist.
Chieko’s tinkering with toys has led to a career filled with all the quirks and perks of a creative professional. She started by working for toy companies designing plush characters when she picked up her very first job after graduation. Her various roles at companies in Hong Kong and Japan forged a path to a temporary position in New Jersey.
After learning that her dream job at Hallmark opened up, Chieko knew she had found the perfect place to call home. Her love of Missouri is strengthened by one thing in particular: “Nature! It’s great for kids.” Chieko’s creative spirit influences how she’s raising her daughter in some surprising ways. “Kids need to be bored! That’s how they start creating things and really using their brains.”
Chieko’s vibrant designs have made her an exciting addition to the Keepsake Ornament team. Her very first ornament, Reindeer Food, is just a sampling of the many adorable additions to look forward to in the future.