April 20, 2019
by Anzu Yoshida, Nanako Yoshino and Yuki Yamakawa
Wacoal is headquartered in Kyoto, and most people living in Kyoto know this company. And Wacoal is the representative company in Japan. The founder was Koichi Tsukamoto, we were impressed with his way of living and company’s ways of thinking for women and chose this theme.
History of Wacoal
In 1946, World War Ⅱ ended, and a young man Koichi Tsukamoto returned home a survivor. He then started a business selling women’s accessories. This is the origin of Wacoal. At first, it was named the Wako Company. In 1949, Tsukamoto’s desired to “make Japanese women beautiful.” He introduced a Western-style padded brassiere that was not common in Japan, which laid the foundation for the company’s expansion and future success.
Tsukamoto had a view for the world. At that time, Japan was in the midst of a change from wear more traditional styles of clothing like kimono to wearing Western clothes. He designed women’s underwear by himself and was able to turn his designs into successful products from his factory. He learned a lot from Western underwear manufacture design and production technology. And his attempt to make Japanese women more beautiful was underway.
In 1960, Japan was in the midst of high economic growth. Also, it was an age of great production and consumption in Japan. Along with it, women’s living were improving, and they were becoming more interested in fashion. Wacoal was rapidly becoming the top manufacturer of women’s underwear in Japan. Therefore, it aimed to achieve the international standard. After much trial and error, Wacoal was finally able to produce products that even went beyond those of Western underwear manufacturers. Wacoal listed their stock for sale in 1964. Tsukamoto’s thinking was to be Wacoal’s goal and ideal: “Contribute to society a lot by making women in the world beautiful.”
In 1970, Wacoal established branch companies in other Asian countries. From there, it was to be spread all over the world. They bought the company Teen Form in the United States in 1983, which allowed them to begin doing business there as well.
Wacoal finally became a worldwide company in the 1990s. It was successful in establishing Wacoal France, as Wacoal in the West was getting bigger and better. Wacoal continued to expand in Asia during this time. And in Japan, it made a new type of bra that has had a long run of popularity.
Wacoal’s Management Philosophy
Wacoal always thinks about women’s values and sense of beauty. They continue to pursue the essence of beauty with each generation. Wacoal’s business approach consists of listening to all customers’ voices, being humble, making constant improvements, and relying on each other. A trusted relationship has been at the beginning of Wacoal management philosophy since the institution’s formation. What follows is Wacoal’s purpose, their company motto, and the core management policies, which were all created by the founder, Koichi Tsukamoto.
To contribute to society by making woman more beautiful is the company’s ideal and purpose.
Wacoal is based on mutual trust, establishing a high-class style, and moving forward to become the Wacoal for the world with teamwork.
Wacoal’s Basic Management Policies
- Make products that customers love.
- Develop new products that fit with the times.
- Manage business cleanly with consideration of the future
- A good Wacoal is generated from good.
- Don’t be afraid of failure, and don’t admire success.
Current Management Strategy
According Wacoal’s website, their medium-term management plan during the 2017~2019 period is to become the Wacoal for the world. To realize it and get the trust of customers of all over the world, they will utilize network and management resources, supply innovative products, and keep expanding the culture of lingerie. They will also launch new projects to generate a competitive advantage and improve their business worth.
Wacoal’s Interesting Ads
This is the Wacoal advertisement copy for women’s bras:
Don’t you feel discomfort because of being off to the side or be forced out? We want to protect two small sensitive bulges. It doesn’t matter its size. We want to hold your vital part as if wrap softly by hands.
And here is the ad copy for men’s underwear:
Don’t you feel discomfort because of being off to the side or be forced out? We want to protect two small sensitive bulges. It doesn’t matter its size. We want to hold your vital part as if wrap softly by hands. We give the same consideration of all items.
What do you think of Wacoal’s approach to selling underwear for men and women? This advertisement got a great response in Japan. The company said they tried to explain the full line-up underwear of Wacoal irrespective of sex by using the same copy, which struck a chord with a lot of men and women. This is very interesting. It is difficult for women to understand the experience of men and vice versa. But Wacoal solved it with a humorous approach. As you can see, Wacoal connects men and women.
Wacoal’s Strategy Abroad
Wacoal is pushing “Wacoal for the world as a group” as the future image from 2017 to 2019.
In the first term, it tried hard to increase company sales and profits abroad, particularly in markets like North America, China, and Europe. As a result, sales rose a lot. Yet there are great risks to deal with, such as China economy falling and the instability of European politics and economy. Even so, their efforts abroad has been their biggest engine of growth. Wacoal has strived to know what customers and the social environment need, and from that it has made products and established a marketing strategy unique for each region.
With each region’s sales increasing, Wacoal has set four goals. One is the improvement of brand value in the United States. The second is the enhancement of management systems in Europe. The third is to gain immediate revenue improvement in China. And the final one is to build a business foundation that can maintain high sales in the world markets. One problem, however, is the rise of salaries in Asia and the risk involved when collecting material, which is getting tough year after year. Wacoal has to expand their global supply chain. Moreover, it needs to improve its competitive edge and make a stable supply possible.
Wacoal For Women
The proportion of women among employees is 88% in Wacoal. But the number of women who have critical tasks was not so quite so many. Therefore, Wacoal opened a diversity career support department. The percentage of women holding managerial posts in the company was 15.6% before this department opened. They tried to raise it to 20% by 2018.
In this way, Tsukamoto’s founder Tsukamoto’s life was never easy, but Tsukamoto’s groundbreaking idea supports the lives of today’s women. we can not miss the future success of Wacoal which is also in the world.