Growing up in Tokyo, Sawako was a tomboy, actively cycling around her city. Motivated by the desire to improve her community’s everyday experiences, she chose to work in architecture. It was while working as an architect in London that Sawako found her calling.
“Architects care about the environment and affordable living,” Sawako says, so cycling naturally became her favorite mode of daily transportation. But Sawako experienced the disempowering effects of collisions and near-misses. “When that happens, you lose confidence,” Sawako says, “you lose your sense of ownership of the road.”
To help herself and others take the road with confidence, Sawako began making prototypes of helmet designs in her backyard. And after satisfying all of the relevant safety standards, Sawako launched her website to advertise her first stock of helmets. Overwhelmed by the positive response, she confidently stepped into the world of cycling fashion.
Sawako is also a mother, a wife and a loyal friend, living and cycling in Greenwich Village with her husband and two daughters.
For Sawako, running a helmet company is not about telling you to wear a helmet. It’s about empowering you to make choices and stay true to yourself. Obviously, wearing a Sawako helmet is safer than cycling bare-headed.
But if no one’s warning you to put one on, then why wear a Sawako helmet?
Because when you do, you feel capable—a confidence that is not rooted in fear, but based on fashion, style and beauty. We want you to want to cycle because of our product.
Sawako has heard it before: women who say “I wish I cycled” when they see the helmets. That’s our mission. To inspire you to take the road and give you the option to own it.
Sawako's stance on safety
Believe it or not, Sawako didn’t always wear a helmet when she cycled. She gets it: helmet hair is not a workplace look. However, having experienced the disempowering effect of accidents first-hand, Sawako encourages your choice to cycle, to be active, and to arrive with confidence.
This is our stance because we don’t agree with forcing people to wear a helmet—we agree with the data. Helmet laws have been shown to deter people from cycling, which actually increases the number of accidents on the road. While each state will have different helmet regulations and we respect that, our mission is to give you a few more options.
With their range of helmets—from hand-finished to under $100— they remove the obstacles so you can make the bike lane your runway. Don’t feel obligated. Feel like royalty. Cycling is a lifestyle that we choose—happily.