How Cute Are You?

Posted By on April 13, 2009

During a leadership workshop at work, the faculty participants had to come up with a mission statement and decide what values were important to them. One part of the workshop included circling words from a list that best represented their value statements, and they could add words if necessary. One of the doctors said we underestimate the value of “cute” — a word he added to his list.

Curious, I asked what he meant. He explained that in his native Japan, “cute” is a serious value for everything – products, clothes, technology, and other commercial ventures. The power of cute is an important part of his culture – and probably for plenty of other cultures as well even if they don’t verbalize it.

I love cute. Cute is good. And yes, it’s for grown-ups as well as kids. I never realized how important the power of cute is to my organizing clients and, well, to myself too. You would think I would have realized that by the reactions we all have at places like The Container Store, IKEA, and Target. These three stores have built their reputations on the power of cute. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve oohed and aahed about something cute while shopping at these places, I would have the cutest pile of cash you ever saw.

My organizing clients prefer using cute and fun organizing products vs. something plain and boring. The cute stuff catches their eye, reminds them, and keeps their life more organized. Cute works on the professional organizer too. When my department moved into a new office building last summer with metal gray institutional furniture, I bought a few cute items from to add some color to my work world. My boss kept bringing people into my office to show them my super cute stuff. Behold, the power of cute.

Value the power of cute. When you’re thinking about organizing your space at work and home, don’t forget The Cute.



4 Responses to “How Cute Are You?”

  1. janice says:

    Thanks, Pearl. That’s interesting to know about Wired magazine. They’re definitely onto something. And can I tell how much Hello Kitty stuff I’ve bought for my nieces over the years?

  2. Pearl says:

    Having a teenage daughter, I learned about the concept of “kawaii,” the Japanese word for this concept, a few years ago. It’s an interesting phenomenon. Anime and manga (graphic novels) are examples of its popularity, as is the Hello Kitty store in the Galleria.

    Wired magazine does a feature called Japanese Schoolgirl Watch that predicts what the rest of us will be doing in two years. It’s eerily on target!

  3. Christina says:

    LOVE this! I had never realized the “power” of Cute till now. There’s a big difference between Cute and Cutesy. Cute has power and appeal. Cutesy is just being a poser.