Survey Reports

Deal concluded to export Fukushima silk fabrics to a major Italian brand

Thursday, July 7

JETRO Fukushima

Since February 2009, Saiei Orimono Co., Ltd. (Kawamata-machi, Fukushima Prefecture; hereinafter referred to as "the Company") has been making an effort to expand its market to include European apparel manufacturers. The Company further shifted its focus to overseas markets from June 2009 after being adopted to the "JETRO Identification and New Market Development Program for Japan-made Products with Global Potential", a JETRO program to provide two-year support to selected small- and medium-sized companies.

The Company has a long history of manufacturing linings for Japanese kimonos, scarves, and industrial materials, as well as exporting silk fabrics to the U.S. bridal market. However, exports started to decline due to the state of the world economy following the Lehman shock. The Company, therefore, decided to take advantages of the JETRO program in order to enter into the apparel industries in Europe and the U.S., which appreciate high-quality products.

Under the program, the Company took part in joint-consulting sessions intended for textile-related companies in the program and absorbed the practical know-how and expertise required to expand businesses overseas. In February 2011, the Company received its long-awaited opportunity to take part in business meetings in Paris and Milan that were arranged by JETRO for companies participating in the program. At the meetings, the Company was able to negotiate directly with buyers from the major brands and, after consecutive negotiations with the buyers, was able to close a deal to supply its products to a highly renowned brand in Italy.

The Company always said, "The textile industry has historically been recognized as an integral element of the region. We hope that our efforts to expand exports will invigorate the entire region." Numerous companies have been vigorously trying to build business relationships with overseas companies since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Amid these efforts, expectations are high for the Company, as a leading company in the region, to become an influential figure in rejuvenating the economy of Fukushima Prefecture.

The orders received from the major Italian brand are the culmination of the Company's earnest and long-term effort to produce high-quality products, as well as its unflinching challenge toward cultivating new markets. JETRO will extend its two year support period for another year and provide full support as the Company accelerates its sales to apparel manufacturers in France, Italy and the U.S.