Beauty Store Business

DEC 2017

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beautystorebusiness.com | December 2017 51 atai International, a supplier of finely crafted razors, shears and shaving accessories, has evolved tremendously since its inception 67 years ago—and thanks to the revival of the old- school barbershop, has seen a recent spike in sales. Spear- headed by CEO and president Dean Wada, the business is now also a family-owned and operated one. Let's take a look at the company's rich history, greatest victories, growth strategies and big plans for the future. BRIDGING THE GAP In 1950, Jatai International was founded by Fred Wada, a man with whom Dean coincidently shares the same last name, but no direct relation. Jatai (an acronym for Japan America Trading Agency, Inc.) originated as a liaison office in California to promote postwar trade between the U.S. and Japan. "Fred Wada was a man who was really interested in establishing Japan in the world market. After World War II, Japan was devastated, and he felt that the only way to get Japan back on its feet was to create commerce," Dean says. A produce wholesaler who distributed to grocery stores throughout Southern California, Fred faced many challenges in getting Jatai up and running. "There was prejudice against the Japanese after World War II, and that was a major obstacle for him," Dean says. Despite such hurdles, Fred formed a network of business professionals—CPAs, lawyers and bankers—well versed in the various regulations required for foreign corporations to do business in the States. Interestingly, Fred also made tireless efforts while serving on the Tokyo Olympic Committee, which helped Japan get the nomination for the 1964 Summer Olympics. Dean says, "This was really important because in '64, it opened Japan to the rest Discover how Jatai International built a legacy on innovative razors to become a leader in the barber industry. By Karen Wilhelmsen a e y h l b b

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