Making Use of TTPP to Open Up Overseas Sales Channels for Products Developed by Firm
Mr. Suzuki is in charge of product planning at Yumeraku, a company set up in 2003. Making use of the traditional craftsmanship skills of its hometown of Kanazawa, Yumeraku has developed a 24-caret gold foil facial mask "KINPAKE This product required two years for planning and development and was finally released for sale in January 2007. It is being produced in-house based on technical expertise on gold foil received from local manufacturers.
Conventional gold foil for facial care comes in squares of about 11 centimeters a side divided into four to six pieces. The Company's product, thanks to sophisticated craftsmanship skills, is offered in single piece squares of about 22 centimeters a side or big enough to cover the entire face. These are all hand made, so monthly production is limited to 2,000 sheets.
One of the Internet sites hosted by public organizations enabling products to be publicized free of charge in order to open up new sales channels is the TTPP. Mr. Suzuki found it simple to register on the site after obtaining a "TTPP Registration Manual" at a "TTPP Seminar on how to use TTPP effectively" organized by JETRO's Kanazawa office. TTPP offers quick responses to inquiries and circulates e-mails cautioning users over transactions. If the user himself exercises a reasonable level of care, TTPP can be an extremely effective tool for expanding sales channels.
Mr. Suzuki himself has little experience in detailed trade practices. He deals with foreign buyers by e-mail and phone while getting advice from the export manager for cosmetics in his firm. He would like to expand the range of products offered in the future, so often reviews the proposals on the TTPP for sundry goods so as to obtain a grasp of foreign products and needs.
Booth at an Exhibition
Contracts Signed with Partners in Two Countries in Six Months
Mr. Suzuki registered his first proposal in April 2007. By the end of that year, he received about 30 inquiries. Among these, two, one from Malaysia and one from France, resulted in contracts. In each case, the Company is scheduled to supply its products on an OEM basis.
In the Malaysian case, Mr. Suzuki received the first contact in June. The other party wanted to showcase KINPAK at an exhibition in July, so Mr. Suzuki received a bank transfer for the entire amount of the order in advance and shipped it off in time. Mr. Suzuki provided explanatory materials about the product (in Japanese) and went to visit the exhibition. The Malaysian partner arranged for an interpreter to accompany him. Mr. Suzuki visited three beauty salons operated by the partner.
At the present time, the Company is selling KINPAK as a "sundry good" in Japan, but is thinking of applying to the government for selling it as a "cosmetic" under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act. This would increase consumer confidence in the product and expand the market.
In the French case, Mr. Suzuki received the first contact in May and sent off samples and reference materials. In June and July, he received further contacts about twice a month. In August, the two sides decided on details of the sales plan. After frequently contacts, a contract was signed in October. The partner is a trading company well versed in trade procedures, so provided valuable support for the Company's exports. The partner has already registered KINPAK as a cosmetic in France so as to be able to sell it as a cosmetic product. In December 2007, the partner set up KINPAK sales corners at cosmetic sales floors in two department stores in the center of Moscow. It intends to determine future orders based on the sales figures for six months.
In the future, the Company intends to not only continue developing new markets for KINPAK, but also import overseas materials which it could apply traditional craftsmanship skills to.