Live life in full bloom, one bud at a time

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes for lifetime self-improvement

Hideaki Inoue, CEO of Park Corporation Co., Ltd.

A well-established flagship floral business brand, Aoyama Flower Market proposes a fulfilling lifestyle with flowers and greenery based on the concept, “Living With Flowers Every Day.” Hideaki Inoue is the CEO of Park Corporation, which runs Aoyama Flower Market. Initially, however, Inoue started off at an accounting firm in New York right after graduating Waseda University. This 180 degree turn to a more creative work could be explained by Inoue’s way of life, a path he has followed from since he was a student.

“Once an idea pops up, make a move. Don’t think too much about it.”

Inoue in New York (Photo by courtesy of Park Corporation)

“When I was a student, I traveled to New York. I felt that it was a place full of energy and that I wanted to become a man who could get by there. Luckily, my senpai (senior) was looking for someone to work at an accounting firm in New York, and I told him that I would go right away. It is my personality to take action before I think too much about something.”

After working for a year, Inoue felt a gap between the reality of working at the accounting firm and his sensible personality, and decided to leave the job. However, this did not imply his loss in vitality. When he returned to Japan, Inoue founded an event planning company and later started a floral business in 1989, following his gut feelings.

In front of the first Aoyama Flower Market store (Photo by courtesy of Park Corporation)

“It was before the International Garden and Greenery Exposition in Osaka in 1990 at the time, and whenever I flipped through a newspaper, I would spot articles and advertisements on flowers. After a while, I felt instinctively that there was a chance in the floral business market. I decided to look around the flower m and bought flowers. There, I learned about the cost of flowers and how the market works. As I got people around me to buy flowers and listened to their responses, I realized the kind of power flowers have.”

It has been 30 year since Inoue established his floral business. Now, there are 100 Aoyama Floral Market stores nationwide, and the company continues to expand.

Becoming a bigger person by breaking out of your shell, again and again

Once Inoue comes up with an idea, he believes in his instincts and sensibility and takes action. He says that he does not feel any fear against making decisions this way, and added that people nowadays think too much.”

Inoue picked up triathlon at the age 40 for fitness purposes (Photo by courtesy of Park Corporation)

“I did not study much but instead always sought for something new. When I was a student, the words in my student notebook read, ‘Do one thing you have never done before every day!’ This could be anything, for example, ordering a new menu at the student cafeteria, or walking back home from a route you have never been on. Of course, it is easier for people to go about their daily routines, but I do not like doing that. In fact, I want to break out of my shell. By repeating this, you grow and become a bigger person.”

Inoue points out that the most important he values as a business owner and an individual is to grow.

“Why do people go about their daily lives? The answer is to improve themselves over a lifetime. Elevation is what is important. That is why I want students, who have a bright future ahead of them, to continue elevating, and I want to emphasize not to be afraid of making mistakes but to enjoy it. Many people think of making mistakes too negatively. For example, people who are afraid of falling will not get better at skiing. Also, you cannot learn without making mistakes. Why continue to train lifting a dumbbell of 5kg when you can do 10kg? Challenge yourself to heavier burden. You might drop it and hurt yourself, but if you do not challenge yourself, you will never know your real limits and will never grow.”

*This article is translated from an article published in Waseda Weekly’s special graduation edition. The original article was written by Naoto Oguma, and the photos were taken by Seiji Ishigaki.

Profile

Hideaki Inoue
CEO, Park Corporation Co., Ltd.

Hideaki Inoue was born in Saga Prefecture in 1963. He worked for an accounting firm in New York for a year after graduating Waseda University’s School of Political Economics and Science in 1987. He established Park Corporation in December 1988, and entered the floral business market in 1989. In 1993, Inoue opened Aoyama Flower Market in Minami-Aoyama. The business has now expanded into café and school businesses.

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