If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us:
info at littleotsu . com
Little Otsu started as the publishing division of the San Francisco store Otsu, founded and run by Jeremy and Yvonne since 2002. We had already been working with artists through hosting art shows, carrying their handmade goods, and making our exclusive artist t-shirt series. LO began in 2004 as an extension of that, serving as a way to collaborate with like-minded artists to make unique and useful print products using alternative materials like soy-based inks, recycled, and tree-free papers.
We both made zines in our "youth" on opposite coasts and had considered making a magazine before we decided to open a store. LO was a new outlet for our dormant love of publishing and as we worked on more projects, it became obvious to us that it was the direction we needed to move in. With our new focus, we moved to a new space and re-launched our operations as Little Otsu. LO headquarters still has a retail component where we carry all our paper goods along with a selection from some of our favorite small companies. We value well made, handmade, fairly made, domestic goods and feature a variety of them in our storefront.
For 5 years Yvonne & Jeremy ran the SF Storefront together with occasional help from friends (Kate, Alexa, George, Lart, Chi-Hui, Tommy, Claire, Kristine) and in November of 2007 moved to Portland, Oregon to focus on the publishing side of Little Otsu. Our new friend Kirk who just moved from Minneapolis was recommended by Jennie and has fit in quite nicely. He is the store manager running all in-store duties and when he's not at the store, stays busy doing art and listening to music.
Yvonne & Jeremy still do all the store buying, bookkeeping, and order fulfillment and share all major publishing duties including product design, ideas, editing, art direction, project coordination, marketing, publicity and sales. When we're not working on a LO project, filling orders, or running the LO storefront from far away, we're most likely: cleaning up after our cats, watching bad tv or good movies, gardening, searching for new vegan taste sensations, bird watching, reading the newspaper, listening to Bob Dylan records, and ultimately still talking about work!
If you're wondering what "otsu" means, it's an antiquated Japanese word meaning... strange; quaint; stylish; chic; spicy; witty; tasty; romantic (it depends on the context). We found it in Yvonne's dad's old Japanese-to-English dictionary. It's also the name of a city in Japan, the capital of Shiga. We didn't know that before we named our store. There is supposed to be a very nice lake there. Little Otsu came from a pet name our first intern Kate had for our store Otsu. Since then we've noticed a lot of things are named "Little" something. You can think of us as LO or L. Otsu if you'd rather.