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Long haul or short sprint?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Japan

By Rachael Bayfield, Head of Trade, UKTI Japan

We often say that Japan is a very rewarding business partner, but you sometimes have to be in it for the long haul. That's not always what people want to hear right now, but there are some who prove the point.

We've helped Berghaus find huge success here - starting with UKTI help in finding a local partner and achieving a deal worth $17m last week. Even better to know that we've helped a company from Sunderland, the North East being my own home region.  Then again, every time I say finding success in Japan takes time, there'll be someone on a mission who has just the right product for the highly demanding Japanese shopper, and wins instant business just to prove me wrong.  Take Anna Lou, a jewellery designer whose quirky, cute, reasonably priced designs we introduced at just the time when consumers weren't spending much on clothes but still wanted something new to jazz up an outfit.  Anna Lou went straight into Isetan, one of the most coveted achievements in the fashion world.  I happily ate my words...

Back in the UK on a business trip last week, it was great to find plenty of companies looking at the potential for their business in Japan, despite what the press might say about the economy here.  On the ground, things are changing, such as the accelerating decline of department store sales, and (at last) the rise of on-line retail.  We're looking out for different chances and new business models as a result

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