“Profits with a purpose” is the mantra behind the new online store, Kasumisou Gallery, co-owned by Menlo Park residents Clare Warner and Mark Rosasco. Former colleagues at Citibank, the pair are using their combined skill set to offer hand-crafted products made in the U.S. and Asia.
Their venture is distinctive in a number of ways. For one, Mark knows all of the people who make the products they sell. “My wife Barbara and I lived in Tokyo for a time,” he explained. “Our travels brought us in contact with the artisans, and we opened a brick and mortar store in Tokyo. Even though we are back in the states, I visit the artisans multiple times a year.”
(Note: Barbara and Mark also founded the Kasumisou Foundation in 1998, a non-profit that has sponsored more than 20 programs or projects aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged people in Southeast Asia.)
By going online, Clare and Mark hope to expand their customer base, with the goal of preserving and promoting traditional craft skills and supporting individual artists and craftspeople, small family-owned businesses, and workshops. The online gallery features fine wood products, sterling silver accessories, hand-woven silk, hand-embroidered children’s dresses, hand-hammered stainless steel and bronze tableware, as well as an assortment of small gifts.
The Galley’s second purpose is to provide support for local schools and non-profits focused on education through their Community Partners program; a donation is made with every purchase. “Our experience at the Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation’s holiday boutique was a good one, and we want to expand on that and get the word out,” said Clare. “We’re hoping it will work both ways. More people will want to shop with us because it also results in a donation, and the local schools and non-profits will benefit.”
Although both Clare and Mark enjoyed their respective careers in banking, both are excited and energized with their mission at Kasumisou Gallery. “The idea that we can help preserve crafts skills — well, that’s special,” said Mark.
Photo by Scott R. Kline