British teddy bears into Japan

Question

Hello,
My name is Michael and I live in London. I have a company that creates teddy bears. All the bears are individually handmade and are a unique take on the traditional bear.
I have had some interest in my bears from Japan / South Korea and im really keen to introducing my bears into that market but at the moment I am stuck as to how to start making contacts with retailers in those countries. Any help would be greatly appreciated. You can have a look at the bears on www.grinandbear.net

Answer

Hello Michael,

My company is an international business development consultancy with partners in 50 countries around the world. Our purpose is to help businesses enter new markets.

One of my key specialty markets is Japan, where I personally lived and worked for some 16 years, and where I maintain good partners for developing routes to market.

I can tell you that what you don’t need, is contact with retailers in Japan, and what you do need is a good distributor with contacts to retailers, so they can handle those processes for you. Without trying to make a pun, you have to also bear in mind that as your products are handmade, we need to consider capacity.

The service I can offer is to test our routes to market, to gain an understanding of interest, and this can be undertaken at no cost to you.

We are quite happy to work on a project like this on the basis of commission (i.e. we only earn if we sell), and we keep our commission at sensible levels, so you keep a good margin.

Feel free to contact me to discuss further at: director@icpr1200.com

All the best.

Answer

Michael Dankwa

I have had a look at the bears and they are incredibly pretty. Very well done indeed.

One possible way of testing those markets would be to sell online on a retail basis into those markets to ensure that there will be a strong enough demand to justify further entry costs. We could assist with this in terms of your T&Cs etc and guide you through the regulatory maze. Once you are satisfied that there is a strong enough demand then the next step would be to source distributors in those territories. Again we can assist in that regard.

Further, as a business growth specialist, I would also suggest that you may wish to test the market in the same manner for countries in the Middle East such as Saudi, UAE, and Qatar as the increase in cost for doing so may not be exponential to the possible benefit to derived.

Do let me know if this something you would wish explore in further detail.

Uche Akali
Hallmark Solicitors
08456 808 251

Answer

Hi Michael,
I had a look at the site. Very nice product idea. Well done.
My thoughts..
1) They look like they may command a higher retail price on the International market.
2) I agree totally with Pauls comments on finding a good distributor rather than specific retailers
3) If not already done so, find a UK retailer you can trust and work with. It’s an incredible learning before you venture into International markets.
4) Include Chinain your Asian markets. Huge…
5) More use of small/subtle Union Jack flags on your site. British brands and products are well respected and your product fits a British ‘quaintness’

All the very best,
Steve

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