For teenage girls, brightly colored clothing from Angel Blue, Daisy Lovers and Mezzo Piano are all the rage — especially for those aspiring to be models.
Established in 1991, Tokyo-based Narumiya International Co. has seen its fortunes grow by marketing cute, colorful clothes that are appearing in more and more fashion magazines.
Narumiya International also holds events, including auditions for junior fashion models and junior fashion shows to attract more girls to its brands.
In the year that ended in January, the company posted sales of 29.5 billion yen, up 6.79 billion yen from the previous year.
“We are placing the greatest importance on upgrading our brand image,” said Yuzo Narumiya, president of Narumiya International. “Strong brands give us more opportunities to expand sales targeting children.”
Meiji Seika Kaisha, a major confectioner, has been selling chocolates, candies and chewing gum bearing Narumiya International’s Angel Blue brand.
Narumiya International also is involved with the publishing house Shogakukan and talent agency Amuse in organizing an audition for teenage girls. The winner may serve as the inspiration for a supermodel heroine in a serialized comic strip in one of the publisher’s magazines.
McDonald’s will use a Narumiya International character wearing Angel Blue clothes in a new meal that will debut Sept. 19.
Narumiya International may also put together teenage girl singing groups based on its brands.
The firm came up with its marketing strategy about six years ago, when it was swamped by calls from teenage girls seeking the locations of its stores so they could buy clothes like those worn on TV by the female singing group Speed.
“It was a turning point for our business, although we initially had no idea who in Speed bought our clothes,” Narumiya said.
Narumiya International started boosting its brand image via teen girl fashion magazines, including Nicola, published by Shinchosha Co., offering samples of its clothes and running ads, Narumiya said.
The firm now has 150 designers and also produces a range of children’s clothing.
“To gauge the market, we ask children to visit our company and draw designs for clothes,” Narumiya said.
Narumiya International’s clothes cost 20 percent more than those of other retailers. A colorful Angel Blue T-shirt, for example, is priced at 4,900 yen or higher.
Although the declining birthrate has resulted in a smaller child population, parents, grandparents and other relatives are willing to shell out more for young people’s clothing, he stressed.
There is another trend that would seem to be working against the company: The decade-long economic stagnation is forcing many apparel shops to cut prices.
“We plan to keep our prices relatively high,” Narumiya said, “because we are creating added value as we boost our brand image.”
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