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Baroque Japan Limited

Representative Director

Hiroyuki Murai

Baroque Japan Limited Hiroyuki Murai
I want to evaluate people based on a "merit system"

In Japan, companies generally rate their human resources using a demerit system. What is in it in a low score when one fails? I’d rather go for someone who is not afraid of failure. Because if he fails, I’ll give him another chance to make things right.Some of our employees in their 20s worked their way up from being a sales staff to an executive officer. Aside from money, I believe it is important for the employees to feel appreciated and to feel good about working in this company.A company does not grow only through its administration or management team. For me, the administration should have a principle wherein all employees participate in the betterment of the company.

Year of Birth
1961
Birthplace
Tokyo
Name
Baroque Japan Limited
Headquarters
Tokyo
Founded
2003
Type of business
Apparel, Trading Company
url
https://www.baroque-global.com/
When I was in college, my father suggested that I go and study in China. Although we have experienced a boom in friendliness brought by the recent recovery of relations between Japan and China, I personally did not have interest in China back then. Honestly, I wanted to study in the US or UK that time. Actually, when I arrived in China, I was shocked and I felt as if I was in another era. They did not have any amazing infrastructure back then, and students could not afford paper and writing materials, and some of them were studying under the street lights.Seeing it made me realize how blessed Japan is. At that time, most Japanese like to look at how rich the US and UK is rather than looking at their own country. If you are living an abundant life like in Japan like me, it is difficult to realize what really matters. Fortunately, living in China made me realize these things. All the values I have learned in my entire life have been shaken.

After going back, I worked in Canon and Japan Air System and engaged myself in making China prosper. At that time, I heard that a Japanese friend, whom I met during my stay in China, was developing a brand called "MOUSSY" in Building 109 in Shibuya.I worked with them for a while, and the store had a huge success. All the products that lined up in the store were all made out of designs that their salespersons would like to wear. They made products based on the perspective of the seller and the buyers, put them on display, observe the customers' reactions, and make improvements from there. We were surprised to have executed an ideal marketing plan, even if our knowledge in business was not as extensive.Despite being a small scale company, each of the employees greatly contributed to generating revenue for the company. This experience made me believe that it is the ideal model of every successful company.

It is worth mentioning that even though I was not very interested in fashion, I got involved in the management as I was completely fascinated by the company's organization and structure.It made me confident that any company will be a great one if it is polished well.

Although Building 109, a hall of fame for "gyaru fashion", is always filled with young girls, trends that develop fast get quickly out of fashion.I felt a sense of danger in relying on a high-end branded business, so I thought of making a move, and then I found an unexpected hint during my business trip in New York.When I was there, the US faced a subprime lending issue that triggered the Lehman shock. It changed the form of the country's consumption. Seeing the quiet 5th avenue, I knew that it would affect Japan any time soon.High-end brands will never be cheap, and there will come a time that no one can continue selling jeans for 10,000 JPY or higher in Japan.When I came back to Tokyo, I told the staff that we should make cheap yet trendy clothing for MOUSSY.

Unfortunately, no one agreed with me. Although employees respect my opinion despite my lack of knowledge and experience in the apparel industry, I felt like I had to bet on my own decision for the first time. I wanted to succeed even as a small company rather than having an uncertain fate staying as a big company. Friends who shared the same spirit as mine gathered with me, and we established AZUL BY MOUSSY together. It was successful.As I have anticipated, the Lehman shock eventually affected Japan as well. Although overseas fast fashion brands such as ZARA and H&M have also went full swing in Japan, we were able to secure our lead in the domestic market as AZUL was established earlier. As of now, fast fashion accounts half of our business. The apparel market in Japan has shrunk from 20 trillion yen to 9 trillion yen in a during the past 20 years.

In the future, the challenge would be about expanding the market to countries other than Japan. Particularly, I would like to focus on expanding business in China with a market of 47 trillion yen. Fortunately, because of my experiences in China during my student days, I think I wold have the same intuitions in running the business as I would in Japan.We have already expanded to more than 200 branches, with both sales and profits growing steadily.

In the future, we are aiming to grow further by going on full scale in mail-order business.

Baroque Japan Limited Hiroyuki Murai
Baroque Japan Limited Hiroyuki Murai

*Information accurate as of time of publication.

Baroque Japan Limited

Representative Director
Hiroyuki Murai