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Profile of Uniqlo and its CEO, Tadashi Yanai

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 26, 2012

For the most recent issue of Fast Company, Jeff Chu profiled Tadashi Yanai, the CEO of Uniqlo, one of the hottest retail companies in the world. The piece is full of interesting business & design wisdom throughout.

Yanai, though, cannot resist the American market. Around the corner from his Tokyo office, there’s a large map of Manhattan. There are push pins marking Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Forever 21, Gap, Hollister, and a half-dozen other brands that could be considered immediate competitors. Significantly, there’s one outlier marked: the Apple Store. When I ask Yanai about this, he replies simply, “People have only one wallet.”

More notably, Apple is perhaps the best example of a company whose products have become ubiquitous without losing cachet. “Specialness is nice to have,” Yanai says, “but what’s more important is being made for all.”

One of my favorite things about shopping at Uniqlo is how they hand you your credit card back:

All associates are trained, for instance, to return your credit card and receipt with both hands, as a sign of respect.

We Work Remotely

Gotta spend money to make money

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 05, 2012

Uniqlo, Costco, and Trader Joe’s are among the large retailers that are making more money by hiring more retail employees, which runs counter to the conventional wisdom.

The big challenge for any retailer is to make sure that the people coming into the store actually buy stuff, and research suggests that not scrimping on payroll is crucial. In a study published at the Wharton School, Marshall Fisher, Jayanth Krishnan, and Serguei Netessine looked at detailed sales data from a retailer with more than five hundred stores, and found that every dollar in additional payroll led to somewhere between four and twenty-eight dollars in new sales. Stores that were understaffed to begin with benefitted more, stores that were close to fully staffed benefitted less, but, in all cases, spending more on workers led to higher sales. A study last year of a big apparel chain found that increasing the number of people working in stores led to a significant increase in sales at those stores.

(thx, david)

Japanese retailer Uniqlo has opened a store

posted by Jason Kottke   May 07, 2007

Japanese retailer Uniqlo has opened a store in Tokyo that is essentially a giant vending machine for tshirts.

Doin’ the robot has never looked so

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 17, 2007

Doin’ the robot has never looked so good in this video for Uniqlo. (via wider angle)