Muji is the Japanese global retailer that opened a premier store on Park Avenue in New York recently. It has always been called ‘No brand’ because the products don’t display a brand name and are made of cotton, wool, wood and other no frills components.
I advised the Muji creators back in 1982 when they were just getting started with one store in Tokyo in Omotesando. The store was an experiment of the giant Seibu department store chain.
Because Muji was ‘natural’ and anti-ostentatious in a hippy way, I suggested that the first international store should be opened in San Francisco.
The Muji creators wisely ignored me and opened the first international store in a stylish area of Paris. It was an immediate hit and has grown ever since.
Muji finally came to San Francisco, after 25 years, and is in an obscure location. Nobody, ncluding hippies, seems to have found it, yet.
I was wrong. In marketing it is almost always best to start at the top of the hierarchy, where trends often start.