Wednesday, November 6, 2013

There has always been dictators throughout history who sought world domination.  Many like Hitler or Napoleon got their wish.  Our newest world leaders seem to be having much success these days too.  The only difference is that the newest ones are seeking world dominance through commerce, money, wealth more than conquering people or land masses.  But in order to get so wealthy,  they are using people all over the world in their lands.  I guess not very different after all.

He is the richest man in Japan.  In less than thirty years he has gone from one store to 1,200 stores in 12 countries around the world.  His business is the 4th largest fashion retailer in the world even if you never heard of UNI QLO before.  His employees are trained like an army to say the same things and to fold stacks of clothes within a minute.  Somehow, he gets employees to do it all his way.  Don’t feel stupid if you don’t recognize UNI QLO, there are only seven stores in the United States so far.

The Tokyo based company wants 200 stores here real soon.  It is all part of UNI QLO’s plan to take over the world.  The outspoken projection is to seek 50 Billion dollars in sales by the year 2020.  Does that mean that all women will be wearing all the same clothes from all the same stores world wide?  Ugh. It is bad enough that food giants have taken us over with what we eat world wide already.

The company takes pride in it’s reputation for design and Japanese service. Their goal is to be the number one retailer in the world within a few years from now.  Visit their San Francisco store and it feel more like a fashion design display place than a store.  They discourage you from trying on lots of clothes for different colors.  They have a led screen like a mirror you can stand in front of and by touching the image, your jacket will appear in many different colors on you  without you having to try them all on.

It is an example of shopping there is not what you would expect.  Simon Collins is Dean of Fashion at Parsons New School for design and he has grown to like the place because you can buy a discounted shirt there but they will still make you feel like you just bought a one of a kind designer garment.  The customer service is great..  They care how the staff looks and care about your experience shopping there.       

About 70%  percent of an   employee’s shift is spent folding.  They are timed and tested to do it as neatly and quickly as possible.  Would a lazy American employee even try that?  I doubt it. Employees even have a coach to train them how to smile.  I always thought that a smile was a reaction to some kind of pleasurable experience not a trained activity.  This place creeps me out already.

The company big shots agree that it is micro-management taken very far but they stand by their policies because it is all about control.  They can control the many people that are out there lined up for a job or they do not have a job but they can not control the customer, they can only do their best to make each and every customer feel good when they enter their store.  The company started in 1984 when Tadashi Yanai took  his father’s clothing shop in Hiroshima.   He originally called it Unique Clothing Warehouse and later shortened it to Uni 

So in the past seven years the Chairman, President and CEO and son of a father who owned one store became the biggest brand because he aimed high one bright color, one crisp fold and one polite smile at a time.


No comments:

Post a Comment