Getting to Know appcycle: 10 Questions for the CEO and COO

Getting to Know appcycle: 10 Questions for the CEO and COO



Hello, everyone!

I am Nikkie, the Global Sales Intern of appcycle inc. It is an absolute pleasure to welcome all of our readers and customers to appcycle’s first ever blog. Through this platform, we hope to raise awareness of the benefits of vegan leather and introduce appcycle’s rationale to an international audience. 


Inspired by the bountiful apple industry of Aomori, appcycle inc. aims to produce vegan leather using upcycled apple residue. The unique production process features minimal CO2 emissions compared to standard manufacturing processes. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, appcycle’s business creates carbon neutral products, supports local manufacturing and international collaboration, and operates sustainably as a company. 


To better understand the reason for founding our vegan leather start-up, we will be interviewing CEO Yuka Shigeno and CFO Kei Fujimaki for our first feature.




CEO: Yuka Shigeno                                COO: Kei Fujimaki


Question #1: Please tell us about your background.


  • Yuka: Before founding appcycle inc., I worked as a dental hygienist in Japan and as an award-winning nail artist in Australia. I also have work experience in the IT and F&B (food and beverage) industries in Japan and Singapore.


  • Kei: I worked in the beauty and regenerative medicine industries before founding appcycle inc. 




Question #2: What made you decide to start appcycle?


  • Yuka: Living abroad has made me realize that my roots are in Aomori. No matter where I lived, I wanted to be involved in the local development in Aomori and contribute to solving various local issues. Working abroad, I encountered vegans and individuals from various religions. I wanted to convey the importance of diversity and at the same time I came across vegan leather which combines all of my areas of interest: giving back to Aomori, promoting diversity, and being environmentally friendly by utilizing apple food loss from the local industry.


  • Kei: I felt that it was necessary after seeing the world conditions. At the same time, I wanted to give back to my hometown of Aomori. 




Question #3: How did you become interested in vegan leather?


  • Yuka: I discovered apple leather made overseas and have friends who are vegan and have certain restrictions due to religious beliefs. At the same time, the select store (セレクトショップ) where my husband works also carries vegan leather brands.


  • Kei: When I heard about it from Yuka, I thought, “This is it!”




Question #4: Why should people start using apple leather?


  • Yuka: If commonly used leather products such as bags, shoes, and wallets are made in a way that does not harm animals, destroy the environment, and is inclusive towards individuals with specific dietary preferences and religious beliefs, we could live in an ethical world that recognizes diversity. This is what a shift towards vegan leather can accomplish. Moreover, I want to connect the world to Aomori through local development.


  • Kei: Through RINGO-TEX, I hope that we can rethink the state of our environment and make vegan leather a new option for people to use daily.




Question #5: Can you tell us one thing you love about Aomori?


  • Yuka: Aomori is rich in nature with its vast mountains and seas. The people are warm, and the apples are the best in the world.


  • Kei: The warmth of the people. It is thanks to the local people that we were able to establish our business and are here today.




Question #6: How can appcycle help Aomori Prefecture?


  • Yuka: The business of appcycle helps with eliminating apple food loss, creating jobs, and providing an environment where people can work in local cities while connecting with overseas countries.


  • Kei: Many people in Aomori are conservative. Although some of them may think they have limited options being in Aomori, we hope our business could bring the world closer to them and open different opportunities. In doing so, I hope we can make many people smile and give them the confidence to do anything they wish.




Question #7: What are your long-term goals for appcycle?


  • Yuka: My goals for appcycle are to attract more domestic and international tourists and immigrants to Aomori prefecture, create a sustainable future for the region through our products and activities, and start an ethical and diverse community that thinks about the environment through our products.


  • Kei: The goal is to achieve an IPO with a global strategy that combines innovative technology with a company that is rooted in the local community.




Question #8: Do you have any advice for people looking to begin their own start-ups or follow their passions?


  • Yuka: I want you to value yourself and the ideas that led you to start your own business. Let yourself always grow along with your services and your company. I, too, will also commit to this promise.


  • Kei: Aim for both the greatest dream and the surest step. Every day will be so fulfilling that you won’t even feel the hardship of doing what you truly want to do. 



We would like to sincerely thank our CEO Yuka Shigeno and COO Kei Fujimaki for sharing their valuable insights. We hope this conversation sheds light onto the mission and vision of appcycle inc. moving forward into the year. Last but not the least, we hope to bring awareness towards the benefits of vegan leather through our products and services. If you can relate to this post, please do not hesitate to share your comments with us! This will be the first of several blogs we plan to share, so please stay tuned for more of our content. 


Thank you very much for reading!