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Guest: Massimo Lazzari

Bringing European Luxury Brands To Japan

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July 20, 2022

Episode Notes

In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with Massimo Lazzari, President and Representative Director at Columbia Sportswear Japan, where he has lived and worked for over 30 years.

Massimo discusses the changes he has seen firsthand in the Japanese retail clothing market since his time as a sales manager for Ferragamo in 1995. Following his time there, he served as the Managing Director for Tod’s from 2001 to 2007, when the brand was only a startup.
Massimo explains that foreign brands need to embrace consistency when establishing their companies in Japan. He talks about developing “the ability to build a tangible aura around the product”.

He then speaks about his almost 12-year career at Columbia. He shares how he has seen the outdoor industry develop over that time, as well as how the pandemic accelerated the already ongoing trend of consumers moving away from offline and toward online commerce.

Finally, Massimo explains why fighting for market share is considerably more vital in Japan relative to other countries, and what foreign companies need to keep in mind when establishing their brand among an aging population.

Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • How Tod’s Japan developed from 2001 to 2007
  •  The importance of brick-and-mortar retail in the early-to-mid-2000s
  • The Japanese perception of European luxury brands in the late 1990s
  • The footwear and leather goods market in Japan
  •  How the Japanese outdoor industry evolved throughout the 2010s
  • How COVID influenced the move toward more online sales
  • Building professional relationships in the Asia-Pacific
  • Upcoming trends in Japan