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Thomas started Bento&co in 2008. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Bento&co?
When I moved to Japan in 2003, I knew that I wanted to create my own company here.
Being in a completely different environment, in a country with a different culture, different values is something that gets your brain thinking a lot.
In 2005, I started a blog about life in Kyoto and Japan. At the time I had about 800 unique visitors per day, so I thought I could start selling Japanese items to my readers. I was able to express these feelings on my blog and develop this idea.
For those that don’t know, Bento Boxes are Japanese Lunch Boxes. They are a very common item for schoolchildren and adults in Japan.
In Fall 2008, my mother told me that bento recipes had been featured in a French women’s magazine. At the time there were only a few blogs about bento in French and English and it was difficult to find stores to buy them.
I worked mostly as a freelance writer for several tech websites. I was also blogging a lot on my more personal blog about life in Kyoto. I had time but not a lot of money.
Many people are passionate by Japanese culture and cooking. I was sure that bento boxes could sell well outside of Japan, especially in France. This was mostly a gut feeling, although I did some online research and could not find bento boxes online outside of eBay.