Media Partner the newyork times

Snow Peak, Inc.

CEO

Toru Yamai

Snow Peak, Inc. Toru Yamai
We aim to create the outdoor scene in Japan

In this digital age, we pay less and less attention to the everyday landscape of nature, and we have lost our sensitivity as humans. It is our purpose to help humans realize this and to bring back things to how it used to be. For example, when you are camping, you will experience the moment when the rhythm of your body conspires with nature. Noticing the sound of insects, the chirping of birds, the changing of seasons, and other simple moments of everyday life is just one of them. Upholding our mission called the "Snow Peak Way", we would like to continue to be an organization that connects people and nature.

Year of Birth
1959
Birthplace
Niigata
Name
Snow Peak, Inc.
Headquarters
456 Nakanohara, Sanjo-shi, Niigata
Founded
1958
Type of business
Manufacturing and sales of outdoor equipment and natural lifestyle products
url
https://www.snowpeak.co.jp/
My father was a rock climber, and he used to work as a manager in a store that handles outdoor equipment. Ropes and ice axes are a common sight at home, and since my younger days, I was brought up in an environment where I was exposed in nature. I thought about climbing mountains when I became older, and I imagined about it like it is a natural thing for me. When I became old enough, I went outside with friends and devoted ourselves to various nature excursions. Because of my fearlessness and naughtiness back then, I remember having a lot of dangerous experiences.And because of that, my father taught me how tough it is to climb mountains, and he told me the importance of interacting with nature through camping. It was also from that time when I discovered the pleasure of living with nature.

However, I got a sales-related job at a foreign firm in Tokyo after graduating from college, and from there, I have learned the difficulty in being part of the society. It was quite opposite from what I am used to since I was a kid. Three years have passed, and my father suddenly contacted me and asked for help to run his business.Although I was contented in with my life in Tokyo, I returned to Niigata a year and a half later. As the eldest son and as a preparation to be face to face with nature, I decided to take over my father's business.The company at that time (currently Snow Peak) was into fishing tools, and there were only very few items available for mountain climbing equipment. It was not easy at all, and it was very risky to do a major business shift as fishing tools accounted for most of the sales of the shop.But I cannot forget the enjoyment at the camp that my father has allowed me to experience, so I started a new business that deals with camping equipment to be able to pursue what I love.

My first accomplishment was creating a sturdy camping equipment. In a span of one and a half year, we already came up with about 100 items and we went all out in creating items that we ourselves would want to use. Placing ourselves in the situation of our users, we decided to provide a lifetime warranty to all of our products.However, creating quality-oriented products like these always involves management risks. At that time, the price of a tent was about 10,000 yen. But ours has increased close to 170,000 yen because we wanted to make sure that the products are made from high-quality materials. Instead of making cheap outdoor equipment, we continued making durable ones that last for decades as we firmly believed that the users will eventually understand the reason behind the pricing.About two or three years after, our sales grew on a major scale, which also brought change in the Japanese outdoor scene. While mountain climbing equipment was common, the demand for camping equipment significantly increased.

However, the boom in camping was shortlived, and shortly after the fad in the outdoor industry has ended, our sales greatly declined in 1996 when I became the president. Also, we have changed the company name into Snow Peak, but its beginning was really steep.In an attempt to somehow reverse the bad flow of events, we started the camp event called the "Snow Peak Way". Back then, I had the opportunity to listen to the voice of the wholesales and retailers; however, I rarely get a chance in hearing the voice of our users. From there, I organized an event to get the perspective of the users and tried listening to their voices.

Everything that we have heard from our users were all very beneficial for the company. We have heard a lot of negative opinions particularly about the price and availability in stores. At the same time, we have realized once again that we have a lot of fans whom we call as "Snow Peakers".After the event, we stopped transacting with the wholesalers that we used to deal with in the distribution of products and reduced our existing sales outlet for up to 25%. We shifted to a one-store-per-area policy, enhanced the product line-up of the stores and reduced distribution costs to further put our prices down. Shortly after, we noticed results and continued increases in both sales and profits.These were all also because we listened to the voice of our users through the "Snow Peak Way". Recently, the event is held all throughout Japan. I and the employees also participate as a staff every time there is an event. In the future, I would like to continue making various opportunities for people to get to know the fun of camping, and I would like to enjoy camping as a part of my job. We ourselves were users of these outdoor equipment, and this became the origin of the business. I love camping, and so I would like to continue encouraging everyone to share their insights about which products would make their camping experience fun and comfortable. It would be my pleasure to be able to share this to all the snow peakers. 
Snow Peak, Inc. Toru Yamai
Snow Peak, Inc. Toru Yamai

*Information accurate as of time of publication.

Snow Peak, Inc.

CEO
Toru Yamai