Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo, Fast Retailing, Fashion, Toray Industries

Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo

Uniqlo’s president Tadashi Yanai wants to make durable clothing, not fast fashion

LONDON – At his helm, the son of a tailor Tadashi Yanai, has grown clothing-retail brand Uniqlo to be one of the biggest in the world.

8.10.2019

Uniqlo president Tadashi Yanai shares his personal vision for growth in the next five years and his dire need in looking for his successor.

LONDON – At his helm, the son of a tailor Tadashi Yanai , has grown clothing-retail brand Uniqlo to be one of the biggest in the world.

Uniqlo and Toray Industries announce joint partnership in creating clothing made from recycled down and plastic bottles

In 2017, Yanai was recognised by Forbes magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Business Minds. In 2014, Uniqlo was awarded Retailer of the Year by the World Retail Congress, and he was ranked among the Best Performing CEOs in the World by Harvard Business Review. He has been named in TIME magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World and has also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from CNBC. In addition to his role at Fast Retailing, Yanai has been an external director of Softbank Corp., a Japanese listed company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) that is engaged in the telecommunications and Internet business, since June 2001.

We take a look at our brick-and-mortar stores. Take China as an example. When you go back 20 years to 30 years ago, nobody in China was able to imagine how it has evolved now. You’ll need electric vehicle(s) because it has less impact on the environment. China is so advanced, that’s why Alibaba and Tencent are both very active in this space. Environmental issues and digital technology have to go hand-in-hand; without the right digital technology, we are not able to solve all of the environmental challenges.

What's your takeaway to make your company as nimble and agile as a startup?

I know some of these tech giants are using Singapore as a headquarters. But you know, unlike tech giants Facebook and Google, we are in need of real stores, and we do have our regional headquarters located in Singapore. I think there’s a Harvard graduate who's running a very significant internet business, and his company (headquartered in Singapore) is called Grab. Yeah, I'm sure that more and more people will emulate him and there will be more people like him or her emerging in the industry.

What is your personal vision for Uniqlo to grow in the next five years? Is it to become the number one fashion retailer?

I believed we would come this far. When I was younger, my big dream was to maybe build 30 stores and rake US$30 million dollars in revenue in the United States. That was then; you can do it too!

Let me tell you a story; when I first opened the store, my sentiment was, oh I have discovered a gold mine. So many customers were rushing to enter our store, and we had to limit the number of people coming in. Customers were coming from the Yamaguchi prefecture, which is a rather rural part of Japan. As you know, Hiroshima was the first city where an atomic bomb was dropped.

We want to offer clothing that could be wearable for a long period of time, that is durable. Our partnership with Toray will allow us to develop materials that are innovative and we both share a common thread when it comes to management principles. We believe in the long-term research that will benefit the customers.

You mentioned in interviews that you don’t mind the leader to be female?

Being modest, quick-thinking, deep thinker. Those are challenging qualities but that’s required to build a business that lasts. I’m desperately in need of my successor.

This story is the result of a trip that was sponsored by Uniqlo.

Read more: Yahoo Singapore

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