The Guide Dogs for the Blind Comprehensive Support Centre supports people with visual and physical disabilities and guide dog training through the sale of charity goods and other activities. We interviewed Ms. Iwama, who is chief of the organisation’s mail-order department, which has a universal philosophy and is involved in the management of the official website and the organisation’s promotional activities.

How did you come to know about IROPOCHI?

NHK’s ‘Ohayo Nippon’ aired a special feature on “IRO-POCHI” and Prof. Sagawa, and it was a hot topic of conversation within the company. It was just at that time that we received an enquiry from FUKUI Co., ltd., so I guess the timing was perfect. However, “IRO-POCHI” is only an ‘accessory to clothes’. We felt it was difficult to convey the function of “IRO-POCHI” on its own. So we decided to sell our own fashion products as charity goods with “IRO-POCHI” on them.

What did you find appealing about “IRO-POCHI”?

I first came across the concept of hue rings when I see “IRO-POCHI”. As we were not familiar with hue rings, there was some concern that visually impaired people might have difficulty using “IRO-POCHI”, but we decided to use “IRO-POCHI” because we agreed with the concept of “IRO-POCHI”, which is ‘The colourful life will be for everyone’. Some visually impaired people live alone. For such people, it would be reassuring if they could dress fashionably without the help of others. Somehow, I felt the hope that it would change society for the better.

How is the response from users?

We actively explain about “IRO-POCHI” at regular charity goods sales events. Both visually impaired individuals and able-bodied individuals find it of great interest. There are particularly many women who have learnt Braille and who are interested in fashion. Visually impaired people have a sensitive sense of touch, so they quickly learnt the arrangement of the hue rings and grasped the colours of the clothes. We are not always able to be present at these product promotion events. We rely on the sales staff to explain the products, but improving the explanatory materials for them would improve our ability to make proposals and lead to more effective promotional activities.

Established in 2004. Provides support for guide dog users and volunteers, sells charity goods, and holds charity events.