[From January Issue 2012]
Mind Palette Co., Ltd.
The numbers of smartphone users is rapidly increasing. Currently, it is said that there are over 200,000 apps for these smartphones, including maps and games. One such free app, “Snapeee,” used to create cute digital photos is gaining huge popularity in Asian countries, with the younger generation.
The Snapeee app allows the user to decorate photos you’ve taken, or pictures you like, with stamps in a variety of shapes, including stars and hearts. You can also give pictures flowery frames and so forth. Its simple operation allows you to easily adjust angles and sizes to create a one-of-a-kind photo. The biggest feature of this app is that these processed photos can be shared with friends and acquaintances.
KOBAYASHI Yuji, the president of Mind Palette Co., Ltd. located in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo reflects back on the developmental phase of Snapeee, “Photography can directly covey emotions without the use of words. By adapting this element into an app, we thought people worldwide would be able to communicate easily with each other.”
Snapeee recorded 500,000 downloads within the first two months after its launch. Eighty-five percent of these downloads were from overseas. The majority of those who download the app are fashion-conscious young women in their teens and 20’s from countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Singapore; there seems to be a large concentration of users living in major Asian cities.
Customer reviews say things like, “It’s fun to be able to arrange my pictures in any cute way that I like,” “I love that people around the world can see my pictures and react or comment on them.”
Snapeee was developed with the concept of “transmitting Japanese ‘kawaii’ culture to the world.” Kobayashi adds. “Since we receive many requests from users who want ‘more cute material,’ and others want who prefer something ‘simple and natural,’ we sometimes stop to wonder what the unique Japanese culture of ‘kawaii’ represents, and this lets us further pursue our research.”
With the help of the Snapeee boom, Mind Palette broke into the big leagues within one year of being founded in November 2010. Mind Palette is a small firm with only a staff of ten, but when hiring, they value character over experience and education. One of the employees, ITOH Tetsuya says he identified with the company philosophy, and practically begged to be hired at the company.
“The feeling that I am an integral part of this company in its growth period motivates me a great deal. I want to use my English skills to support the development of this company in the global market,” he says. The driving force behind this company is the energy of each and every one of these young individuals.
Text: MUKAI Natsuko