A move to Japan prompted this company's decision to exhibit at BLE 2011.
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Cecile Okada set up Okada Design in 2008, while living in Norway. A decision to move to Japan with her husband last summer prompted the designer to join LIMA and book a stand at BLE.

Okada explains: "The decision to move meant that I needed to consider a new client base since I don't speak Japanese. After researching my options, I joined LIMA and booked a stand at BLE 2011.

"I have lived 22 years abroad in many countries and love the international aspect of licensing. We live in an international community here in Kobe, where my husband teaches at an international school. I have always been an entrepreneur; entering the licensing business is another adventure."

Prior to her role as a designer, Okada was a yogi nun, which added to her international experience as she travelled to many new countries, setting up pre-schools in slums and a children's home, with very little funding.

Okada continues: "With my background, I believe I can offer something exclusive: Authentic Nordic designs with oriental passion."

On display at BLE will be a varied range of properties, including a collection of patterns that can be used for home furnishings. Okada says: "I am inspired by the success of a bed linen design I made for the well-known Norweigan brand name Hoie; I'm just now making another design for next year's collection."

For children, Okada offers the Lilly Fairies property. Okada describes them: "These endearing characters inspire girls to take charge and just be themselves. The Lilly Fairies belong on everything from back-to-school products to toys and clothing."

Finally, the stand will house illustrations that have enjoyed publishing success in Scandinavia through book clubs - images for the Mayan calendar that ends in 2012.

Okada enthuses: "It's a one-off, buzzing opportunity, as millions of people around the planet have their minds set on the big question of what the calendar means for humanity."

With such a wide range of properties, Okada will be targeting equally varied sectors for licensing deals, including homewards, accessories, stationery, toys, apparel and more.


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Born and raised in El Salvador, Emma Schonenberg was creative at an early age. She majored in graphic design at university and before receiving her degree, she started pursuing a design career with advertising and apparel companies.

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