Quality UK brands with a heritage please Japanese
09:35 GMT, 23 April 2012
While Japan has seen faltering
economic growth over the past two
decades, it offers significant
opportunities for British firms
looking to expand into new areas,
as husband and wife team John and
Monique Davidson know well.
The couple set up J&M Davidson
in 1984, selling belts, before
branching into bags, shoes and
clothing. They began as wholesale
retailers but now also have a shop
in west London and a website.
But between 40 and 50 per cent of
their sales now come from Japan –
a market the couple first entered in
the late Eighties after seeing the
opportunities it offered.
Long haul: Monique and John Davidson's leatherware has a loyal following
John, 65, says: ‘In Japan they like
brands and quality products with
heritage. Even when the tsunami
hit, they continued to support our
brand. They think long term.
‘It is a mature and sophisticated
It is a good trading
environment as they typically pay
on time and we have not
experienced any bad debts there.’
As well as receiving help and
advice from UK Trade &
Investment, the Davidsons went on
trade missions to Japan and were
helped by the British Embassy.
John says the key to their success
is ensuring the brand has the right
distributor. ‘It is essential to put the
brand across in the right way to
target the right market. We have
previously changed ours to make
sure this was the case,’ he says.
Stephen Pegge, director of SME
markets at Lloyds TSB, says:
‘Japan is sometimes overlooked but
it offers great opportunities. It is
very retail driven and really suits
premium “value added”
businesses. It can also be a
gateway into other Asian markets.’
- To read the full report and to
receive advice on trading in Japan,
go to fmwf.com/smallbusiness.
- Blacks rival Sports Direct could still buy one of its brands
- Price of fast food and value burgers and sausages to rise as EU bans low-quality meat
- German cars now the best-value models on Britain"s roads after overtaking Japanese rivals
- Hovis maker Premier Foods to axe 600 jobs in shake-up aimed at invigorating "power" brands
- After Danny Baker brands all insurance a waste of time and money, we ask: Do we really need to buy insurance?