Originally posted 2015-02-24 09:00:41.
Tadashi Yani, who became the second richest man in Japan, founded the relatively new Japanese brand Uniqlo. There are more than 1,500 stores around the world; New York’s Fifth Avenue Uniqlo store encounters 6,000 customers daily and each customer buys an average of four items. How did Uniqlo’s fashion label rise to the top in such a short period of time? Many fashion companies focus on the high fashion runway trends and translate them into affordable versions, but Uniqlo takes it back to the basics. Uniqlo’s clothes are simple and practical. Although the company only has few styles to choose from, each style of clothing comes in over a hundred colors. Because Uniqlo’s products are not elaborate, buying fabric is cheaper—which allows the company to provide cheaper prices for its consumers. Uniqlo also has a team of textile masters who develop new high-tech fabrics for the brand. For example, Uniqlo developed a line of underwear using heat-regulating fabric with Toray industries, a Japanese chemical company.
Uniqlo’s first store opened in 1984 and boomed around 2000 in Japan. The company’s initial attempt at global expansion in 2001 was a complete failure. Most of twenty-one stores in England and three in America shut down in five years. Yanai realized that few people have heard of his store outside of Japan, so he opened up flagship stores to introduce people to the brand. Uniqlo’s founder emphasized the need to expose people to the culture of the brand—both to consumers and to his employees. He requires every employee to train for three months before beginning work. The Japanese company prides itself in quality customer service even though the stores are constantly busy.
Key words: Uniqlo, fashion label, branding, success, Japanese, and trademark