Monday, February 23, 2009

My somewhat extended absence

I've got a bunch of posts saved up that I've been meaning to write, but I've been preoccupied lately and probably will be for a little while longer. My wife and I are opening a store.

This post on KERA magazine is currently my #1 in terms of page views. (This and this were #1 before it, at different times.) And it's been that way since I posted it, which was not a short amount of time ago. It's not like it's on the front page or anything. This is all Google search traffic, most of it from the United States.

So we were thinking, maybe there's a market for this stuff here. There are some other web stores selling it to one extent or another, so if nothing else, it's not a completely crazy idea.

I'm not going to give away all of our plans but just so nobody's disappointed, we aren't planning to be the Wal-Mart (or Maruione) of Japanese fashion on day one. We'll be starting small, initially with only a web store and limited stock. We'll build over time, and we're working on relationships with the major brands. That's what we hope will eventually be a differentiator for us - we'll be specializing in the real Japanese brands, not cheap Asian knockoffs, unlike most US web stores that claim to sell Japanese fashion. And we want to carry all of them. We're going for authenticity, and we're shooting for the moon. But we're realistic about how to get there.

Thing is, we've first got to prove that we can sell stuff before the major brands make a deal with us. So we're sourcing inventory from all over at the moment, including used, and initially our site will be more proof-of-concept than anything else.

We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't think we had some major advantages over others that might be trying it, including major web stores in Japan. I think we've got the potential to turn this into something pretty big over time.

I'll let everybody know when the site launches. It'll probably be a couple of months.


  1. Anonymous9:44 AM

    Good Luck!

    A mate of mine has a Japanese girlfriend from Nagoya and they just opened a "streetwear" shop in Sydney. They seem to be importing from all over, but have a few Japanese contacts from whom they hope to source authentic (and just as importantly, up-to-date) fashions.

  2. Doing it in Sydney would probably be easier... the thing I'm finding out is that shipping is a major bitch to the United States. That's probably why nobody else is really doing it. For some reason shipping from Hong Kong seems a lot cheaper, and that's probably why there's all this cheap copy stuff from there on sale here, and not the real Japanese brands.

    The problem is you can either fill a cargo container up and ship freight, which is obviously hugely expensive in total cost (but not so expensive in per-unit cost), or you can send smaller individual boxes and pay less in total, but a ridiculous amount per-unit. We're basically paying like $10 per garment even shipping a bunch at a time.

    Well, hopefully we figure it out... once we make the big deals with the manufacturers, we'll be able to ship freight and hopefully it won't be such an issue.

  3. Holy Moses. That's so excellent and I'm so pleased! Remember to try to accomodate us average-sized Americans, we struggle with not being able to fit our substantial behinds into the cute tiny Japanese fashions. I know and understand that the problem often arises from the fact that they make the fashions in one size only.
    Anyway, I will support you. Most definitely. These are the kinds of fashions that I live for, and it will be wonderful to be able to order from a place stateside. Keep me updated!

  4. Thanks, Misty :)

    Yeah we definitely understand the sizing thing... we've been trying to buy stuff that looks like it's kind of one size fits all, lots of skirts with elastic bands to hold them up and things like that. Some things we don't have much choice on, though - they just are what they are. And other things we know are small but they're either too cheap or too cute to pass up. So we're definitely gonna have stuff that probably not that many people here can wear, but we're trying to balance it out.

    We may open up sooner than I said... I'm debating whether it's worth it to just put the store up with REALLY limited stock (like, 15 items or so). The site itself is pretty much done and just waiting for the products, the first shipment of which was unexpectedly sent out yesterday. That's why I'm still a little shellshocked about the shipping costs :)

  5. 15 items seems like a really decent starting point.
    Of course, I'm just anxious to get a glimpse at the goods! Hahaha!


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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