RIGA - Four Latvian brands have successfully been introduced to the Japanese consumer market this year, reports news agency LETA. The Latvian Investment and Development Agency reports that the four companies representing Latvia's expanding markets abroad include fashion and textile design company Ameri, ecological cosmetics maker Madara Cosmetics, crockery producer An&Angel and candle producer Munio Candela.
Workshop-studio Ameri produces fine as well as thick structure knitwear made out of merino, cashmere, cotton, silk, linen, viscose and others. Ameri's representatives first visited Japan in Nov. 2008, when LIDA organized a contact exchange in Osaka within the framework of the Riga-Kobe friendship days.
Ameri established contacts with a Japanese trade company from Osaka, and after six months of talks, the company received its first order. "The Japanese were looking in Europe for something special, something that China or India do not offer," says Ameri board member Ginta Amerika. Latvia's clean environment, style, elegance and quality were the factors that worked very well in Japan, she said.
Ecological cosmetics maker Madara Cosmetics Director and co-owner Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere said that the company established contacts with its business partner in Japan, Mitoku Co., during an ecological theme-related cosmetics fair in Germany last year. Actual cooperation between the two companies began this past spring.
Presently Madara's products are sold at Japanese department stores and ecological cosmetics outlets. Japanese customers say they prize Madara products for their quality and design.
Japan is the country from which Madara has received the most distribution offers. "We preferred to work with an experienced and professional partner. Japan is one of the key export markets for the company. Together we will develop Madara into a successful and popular brand of natural cosmetics in Japan over the long term," said Tisenkopfa-Iltnere.
Angel Glass Design in 2004 launched the An&Angel brand, innovative and functional design objects made of glass and crystal. The company first presented its product at the Design Tokyo 2008 fair. The company used this opportunity to study the Japanese market and create a new line, Black&White, that would work with Japanese styles and tastes, according to its market studies.
This past June, during the Interior Life Style 2009 Tokyo, the company agreed to work with a major Japanese delicacies producer that was looking for top-quality design solutions for its products. After three months spent in talks, the company received the first order from Japan.
"Any brand must be based on a strong and interesting idea. Then it will have no cultural, linguistic or ethnic barriers. I would recommend to my compatriots considering the Japanese market to get ready for a long and patient job. During our meetings we observed that the little-known and tiny country of Latvia seems to be something exclusive and attractive to the Japanese," said Munio Candela co-owner Elina Cima.
Their hand-made candles are made of natural all-soy wax, lead-free all-cotton wicks and herbs from the Latvian countryside.
"The contacts in Japan established during the Interior Lifestyle 2009 Tokyo fair, have been long and solid. Every company and resident of Japan wants the work process and development of relations to be very personal. At the beginning it may seem to be a waste of time and unnecessary exchange of information, but the Japanese acquaint themselves with every brand, from A to Z, sometimes they even ask for rather personal or confidential information," noted company co-owner, Ieva Dekstere. The LIDA offices in Japan helped the company to choose from among several distributors in Japan.
In addition to these four companies, there are other Latvian brands present on the Japanese market, including Stendera ziepju fabrika soap, Natalija Jansone's clothes and others. The LIDA offices in Japan, via the Latvian Embassy in Japan, are currently working on the promotion of a few other Latvian brands on the market.