Ayako has been part of the Birkenstock in the Hills family for over 8 years and is a crucial member in the day to day running of the business. Her cheerful nature and willingness to work hard always shines through. She brings sound and valued knowledge of all things Birkenstock and has a particular interest in shoe care/repairs. Ayako loves all things style, colour and comfort and is not afraid to push fashion bounds (as you can see in the images). Her caring and bubbly nature is well loved by customers and other staff members alike.
"I was born and raised in Chiba, a town on the outskirts of Tokyo. I have never considered myself to be a city person as my father comes from a line of farmers and my mother comes from a fishmongers family. I have always loved nature and being outdoors and do believe it is the prettiest artwork to ever exist. An additional love of mine is shoes and I think I have always had an interest in them. Sometimes I believe I know too much about them as I have experience in shoe repairing and therefore, can only buy quality shoes that help my feet but not my purse!."
When did you first discover and start wearing Birkenstocks?
"I first discovered Birkenstocks in the 90's when I started working in a shoe shop in Japan after graduating from high school. The world was moving to Rock n' Roll Bike Boots and the popular Dr Martens (the steel capped toe boots were very in). Comfort shoes soon followed such as Uggs, Teva sandals and Birkenstocks. They stormed the world and I knew I had to purchase a pair and become a Birkenstock fashion leader! Ever since this time, I have loved the brand and wear them on a day to day basis."
What are your all time favourite Birkenstock styles?
"This is a very difficult question to answer! I have always moved from one style to another but if I had to pick one, I would have to say the Athen. The Athen is a gladiator style sandal with three thin straps across the front and one around the ankle with black buckles. It is such a cool style to wear and is great if I want to pair some crazy socks too. My Bostons and Zurich are also a close favourite."
If you had to choose one Birkenstock to wear everyday, which one would you choose and why?
"If I had to choose one Birkenstock to wear everyday, it would have to be the Boston. Socks or no socks, pair with skirts or pants, from summer to winter, there are so many options with the Boston."
What is your favourite part about working at Birkenstock in the Hills?
"My favourite part is how genuine I can be in selling a product to customers. I do not have to use sale techniques or try push a product as they sell themselves! The quality and design of the products can be seen by customers and after one pair is purchased, it is great to see customers come back for more. Lastly, of course, it gives me a good reason to own too many pairs."
Your Birkenstock styling tips?
"Always have fun. There is no such thing as rules in fashion, be yourself."