Business vision "WOW"
Fly to U.S. seeking smartphone case his courage to step forward made the success.FOX, the company selling domestic and overseas smartphone cases, has their business field not only in importing distributor. Their goal is to becomethe "platform for high quality products and services". The CEO and founder Michinori Isohata tells his storyhow taking swift actions and foreseeing the trend have led to success.
Encounter between Mr. Isohata and the manufacturer developer
Fly overseas just forsmartphone case.Never afraid making mistakes and take an action. This is still leading FOX’s way. They always take one step forward and the step was the actual start of this company.
"LIFEPROOF" the waterproof, dustproof, snowproof and anti-shock smartphone case famous for its safeness, "BlackBerry" the smartphone having fans for years, "Lifeprint" the portable printer which can print AR moving photos, and so on...with these high-quality products, FOX is now assuming a total branding from providing customer-friendly service to supporting partner companies enhancing their value.
For example, one company made up a great product, but they are not skillful enough about ͆growing up the product. In this case, FOX produces the product by providing multilateral solutions and choosing the best way for selling the product from many kinds of sales channels.
The trigger of founding this company goes back to 2010. Originally, I was very keen on digital gadgets and especially on cellphones. When I got iPhone3G, I was so shocked and felt the new generation had come. The following iPhone4 made the feeling sure. At that time, I could hardly get the smartphone case which I satisfy in Japan, but I could find many in foreign online stores. In those stores, I found.
"ELEMENTCASE" was too popular to get even in the U.S. and Japanese auction priced three times as much as the list price $70. However, I couldn’t stop myself buying it. Once I got the real thing, I flew to San Francisco thinking "This is great.Who developed this and how is this made?".
I told "ELEMENTCASE" about its possibility in Japan and got the right to sell in Japan. What is more, I got an exclusive contract. The reason for choosing the exclusive contract was that I can focus on branding without being controlled by market prices.
Face each product, tell the quality and enhance the value. This contract made up the base of FOX’s current policy.
"Touch & try type store" caseplay in Akihabara
After I came back to Japan, I started an online store to sell "ELEMENTCASE" by myself. The unprecedented high-priced case attracted people in Japan and I sold pretty well. Then, I realized the necessity of touch & try for more people to understand. I incorporated the business and opened a store in the main street of Akihabara where gadjet-holic people get around. (now the store is closed)
And then, I started to seek another product. At the time, I found the waterproof, dustproof, snowproof and anti-shock smartphone case named"LIFEPROOF" on the internet. Right away, I went to San Diego where the manufacturer’s head office was.The developer had big surprise to my taking trouble of coming to the U.S. from Japan. I told my passion and made an exclusive contract.
t that time, there were no similar products as "LIFEPROOF" in Japan. I wanted to appeal simply its "waterproof function" as the biggest sales point of "LIFEPROOF". I took the way of displaying "operate the device with the case in water" which might be a little too much.
That display made a lot of people to be interested in and the sales went well. However, we faced a contradiction. People started to say, What if the device was submerged?.
I had to get over this big problem. The manufacturer said,"It won’t be submerged for sure". This was same as the previous waterproof products.
I thought I can find a new generation after getting rid of this customers’contradiction. What would make both the manufacturer and customers understand...? Then, I reached one answer. That was, In case of submerge, we cover not only the case but also the device.
Then, we tied up with an insurance company to make the insurance for submerge. Though the membership registration is needed, this free insurance service was accepted from customers and made "LIFEPROOF" known as a safe and reliable case. This service was only in Japan and Gary Rayner the CEO of LIFEPROOF admired it.
We attended the digital products exhibition as a smartphone accessory specialized company and this experience worked well for our growth. Our sales went up well and everything was smooth sailing.
But, we faced another big problem.
Products handled by FOX
The problem happened when one supplier disposed large amount of excess stock. Our products were included a lot and we became "too much" selling and buying relationship.
This problem concerned us about "decrease of next year’s market share because of sales rising in a short term". The more problem we were afraid of was decrease of "the value of products". This was the thing we had been thinking a great deal of.
Never sell too much How can we reduce sales channels to rise product value? FOX focused on growing up its brand again by "small start with marketing going first".
Lots of smartphone case is the example. No matter how many great new products manufacturers make, each one is just "a smartphone case" for customers. With this premise, we are going to raise sales slightly after we know the customers are really wanting the product.
From the viewpoint of management, limiting the number of sales has contradiction. Even so, we cannot fall the product value. We are still taking this important as "the basis of FOX".
We have another "basis of FOX". That is, "Never stick to one product". Now FOX is carrying other products in addition to the smartphone related. Leather products, audio equipment like microphone/earphone, wearable devices, IoT devices and so on...we are selecting high-quality products from every genre with the perspective of what the merit for customers is going to be. This is a necessary point on talking about next generation FOX.
The thought "FOX shall be the platform" is supporting the inspiration. Our hopes for the future is to be an entrance of everything including products in Japan and from overseas.
Office as of 2018 in Yurakucho
hat vision is leading why our head office is in Yurakucho now. It is especially effective for "approaching to different industries".
hy we had our store in Akihabara was people keen on gadgets were coming from inside and outside of Japan and that city has high affinity with smartphone related products. This made us easy to make an appeal to foreign manufacturers.
On the other hand, when considering fashion field which we are currently focusing on, Akihabara has less affinity with those brands.
The reason for choosing "Yurakucho" was not only it is the city integrated with Ginza, the trend making place in Japan. Its closeness to the hubs of every kinds of business was so attractive for our business after this. We also expected PRand branding of the company as well as products.
From now on, FOX will be focusing on IoT which is becoming famous in Japan and be developing the real store in 2018. What is more, with the past business know-how we got, we are planning to expand our business to Asia like Singapore and South Korea.
Tomake this vision come true, we try to be "the platform of high-quality products and service" and we want to be thought "When starting business in Japan, FOX would be the best company to talk with first". by foreign companies. It’s better taking an action even with making mistakes than not doing anything. Recently I feel this more and more important.