#61 | Made in Japan with Love

Mayumi Ishii, current Chief at Chrysmela, worked for years as a McKinsey Consultant and Analyst for Nomura Securities.

When she came across a product manufactured in Japan that solved a 5000 year old problem, she decided to start selling it in the United States.

She explains why she decided to keep the Japanese name and branding and then gives great advice for launching a consumer product across countries.

It’s a product you want to hear about!

Connect with Wendy - https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendypease/

Connect with GUEST - https://www.linkedin.com/in/mayumiishii/

Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers - https://www.silvermansound.com



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ATTENTION: Below is a machine generated transcription of the podcast. Yes, at Rapport International, we talk a lot about how machine translation is not good quality. Here you see an example of what a machine can do in your own your language. This transcription is provided as a gist and to give time indicators to find a topic of interest.

[00:00:34] Wendy: Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining us on the global marketing podcast today. I am so excited to introduce our guests cause we got something fun to talk about. But before we get into that, I've had some listeners say that they didn't realize that the show was sponsored by Rapport International. So it is.

[00:00:57] Rapport International provides high quality [00:01:00] translation and interpretation services. And you can just Google rep rapport translations to find out more about the company. Uh, so now onto the guests, So we welcome my Yumi is she, and she's a former McKinsey consultant and a former security. And now a analyst who left those high-paying powerful jobs to become.[00:01:30]

[00:01:30] Entrepreneur and solve a 5,000 year old problem. So welcome. Mayumi.

[00:01:37] Mayumi: Thank you, Andy. So happy to be here.

[00:01:40] Wendy: Oh, I'm thrilled to have you on. So why don't we start out with the 5,000 year old problem? What is it that you are trying to solve or you solve? Yes.

[00:01:52] Mayumi: The, uh, have you ever lost an earring? Especially since we started wearing masks since [00:02:00] COVID a lot of us have been having the serious problem of losing an ear back or worse yet losing an earring in a, we solved the whole problem of.

[00:02:12] Yang's by inventing and bringing to you the most genius jewelry invention ever. According to people magazine the most secure in back that one pair replaces all your young back to keep them secure [00:02:30] on your ear. Now

[00:02:32] Wendy: I have to let you know, I was so impressed. I, you were so gracious to send me a pair of them so I could try them out before the podcast.

[00:02:42] And it came in this beautiful, uh, like rose colored package and the they're earing backs. I think, you know, how different can an earring back really be? And I, and I've certainly had the problem. Um, Thank God, not [00:03:00] 5,000 years ago. Cause I wasn't around, but I understand women have been wearing earrings since then, but I tried them because I was really curious and I wanted to be able to talk to them.

[00:03:10] I love them. So they're called Chris smeller. C R C H R Y S. Chris like Chrysalis, Chris Mela, M E L a. For those of you are listening, we'll also have it in the show notes and I put them on and they felt like going on like [00:03:30] a regular earring back. And then I went to pull it off. Like I do a regular one and it won't come off.

[00:03:36] There's a special little attachment that you pull with your fingers to release a cat. This is so cool.

[00:03:45] Mayumi: I know none of us would think of a union bank until you lose on hearing or hearing back. And this invention is just brilliant. My partner in Japan invented it. Um, it uses, um, patented [00:04:00] locking technology involving fuck three, Michael ball-bearing.

[00:04:06] That are spring activated. So I do, you know, the three promise, the most strongest, uh, contact point on any surface. So this little tiny balls lock onto your earring posts in a warm, but until you are not yet in five countries, use UK France, Italy in

[00:04:27] Wendy: Japan. Okay, [00:04:30] so it's fantastic. So anybody listening, I mean, if you wear earrings or give earrings as a present or need a present for somebody, just go find them and order them.

[00:04:39] They're they're, uh, you know, not inexpensive, but you only need one pair for all your earrings and then you don't have to worry about losing them. And so. This podcast is really talking to consumer product companies that want to cross borders and particularly, um, for [00:05:00] companies that want to come into the United States.

[00:05:03] So you mentioned your partners in Japan. Tell me about. Who your partner

[00:05:09] Mayumi: is? Yes. Her name is Eric . She's a wonderful partner who invented this amazing young back called Chris Mela and she invented it. After she lost an important hearing from a gift from them, her boyfriend, and they go into a [00:05:30] huge fight to the point they broke up over about last year.

[00:05:34] And then she said to herself, oh, this is so stupid. And I'm going to solve this silly problem of last year. Once for all in the world. And she had really such a grit and she invented it and then she had visited all of the high-tech factories in Japan, or 200 of them said, no, honey, it's impossible to make something like this tiny [00:06:00] and so complicated, but she never gave up.

[00:06:03] And number 201, the factory we currently work with, they say, yes, we can. And when I heard. Sorry. And I, after I discovered this wonderful product on one of my business trips to Tokyo, I fell in love with both the story and the product. And I told myself I got to do this. I got to bring this to the us and share with everyone.

[00:06:29] [00:06:30] Okay.

[00:06:30] Wendy: Which I love that. I mean, any entrepreneur listening to it is if you have passion about it and you believe in it, you just keep going. Cause then it's going to hit. Okay. So you wanted to bring it into the United States. How do you go about doing that? What was your first step? Great

[00:06:47] Mayumi: question. Of course, I had zero retail experience.

[00:06:51] I never sold any product one by one. You know, my background is analyst and I'm an it consultant, so I never did anything [00:07:00] hands-on so I had to learn everything from scratch. I kind of knew about marketing, the importance of certain things and logistics and how to make money. PL and everything. However, bringing actually a product from outside of the U S got that together, get the branding, done everything.

[00:07:21] It involves so many details. There's so many facets of the business system from my inventory control [00:07:30] to marketing and service and everything. So I learned a little by little and from everybody.

[00:07:36] Wendy: So. Talk me through the steps. Like what was the first thing you did? And the second and yeah.

[00:07:42] Mayumi: Great question. I don't recall the exact sequence got so many things were happening at the same time.

[00:07:49] So number one, I fell in love with the product. I knew I need to bring this to the U S and check the pattern we were have ended. And then I didn't want to go to the, [00:08:00] uh, Uh, I did want to go to direct consumer because that's how you learn directly from costumer. And I always, always, I curious how, uh, Amazon helps entrepreneurs like myself with zero retail experience.

[00:08:16] Um, when I started, um, compared to now, there was much less, um, the backend I help, but now. So much the data, so much tutorials [00:08:30] available so much easier. Now there are so many resources. So I launched on, I opened Amazon store first and then people that ordered started coming. Um, the word of mouth started. I got the big break, um, working with this, uh, online marketplace, um, which unfortunately folded since, but we create amazing video and they were one of the pioneer in clickable, uh, [00:09:00] video.

[00:09:01] Shopping experience. So at that time, um, I had a really, uh, fortunate relationship, but with them and they assigned us, Chris Mela, that one of the really great, uh, Hollywood movie producer, and she did a wonderful job. So to this day we are using. The footage and it's been wonderful. So it was a little investment, but I knew to explain something like Chris Mella, which is [00:09:30] a brand new category.

[00:09:31] High-end hearing replacement with technology to solve 5,000 year old, uh, problem. Last year, it was not this. If they didn't need to assess. So I need to kind of brainwash in a sense, like people you have educate people, tell people how it works, how it's important. So the video creation was a very important process.

[00:09:59] Wendy: [00:10:00] And okay, so that, so that was the marketing you decided to go to Amazon first. You make sure your patents are checked and then do the videos. And where would people see the videos on Amazon or on your website?

[00:10:14] Mayumi: No, every way on our website and Amazon and actually Wendy, I skipped the critical. Poor step, which I had to do pretty early on, even before launched on Amazon, which is brand name.[00:10:30]

[00:10:30] Should we, should we, or should we not keep the same brand name or product name code? Chris Mela, cat, Chris, smell a cat. That doesn't mean anything to us in the English world. Um, cat actually in Japan, we call it, um, eating bad. Not back a cat, we call it cat in Japanese cat. So we call it cat. That's why it's called.

[00:10:56] This was branded name. This product was [00:11:00] named Christmas, like cat in Japan. So I had a two challenges. Should I. Catch bar or should I keep Chris Malaparte Chris Mella, you know, as you know, the, uh, branding one. Oh, why's you start, make sure nobody has it and then make sure it's available on a URL URL and you know, all the social channels and.

[00:11:23] Try to come up with a bunch of like hundreds of names. None of them was available across the board [00:11:30] from URL to social channels, Facebook, Instagram, and those are all Pakenham. Even without real products with a lot of people, smart people already registered those bunch of names. So I was really stuck. So should I keep, if I, should I come up with really with it, some other name, or should I keep, uh, Chris Miller cat at the end of the day, I decided to, um, keep the names the same as in Japan, uh, [00:12:00] to, for.

[00:12:01] One, these names were available. Nobody had Christmas cause it's a unique name. And secondly, it's a, it makes sense. Cause for a notice retailer, myself, um, Changing packaging changing or the product packaging from the U S to, uh, from Japan, Japanese farther, and to us cost a lot of money and it costs a lot of commitment and I didn't have that kind of resource.

[00:12:27] So it made practical sense [00:12:30] to keep the same packaging and logo, uh, consistent across the board, uh, in Japanese market, Japanese speaking market, and also English speaking.

[00:12:42] Wendy: Wow. Yes. So that's a huge thing. And then everybody's shopping online. You can leverage the blend brand a lot easier. Now, did you test Chris smeller with any, uh, us consumers to see if it had any.

[00:12:59] Mayumi: Yes, [00:13:00] I did. I did, um, this actually a few months before we officially launched, I did the, um, field survey and, uh, going through my testing from the price point to, you know, the name to packaging and everything. And, uh, it was no scientific approach because I didn't have much resources. Basically. I used the friends and family, but, you know, they had an old target market, but it was.

[00:13:25] Who were nice earrings or new for active playing golf, [00:13:30] tennis, um, power shopping. So, so, um, they were good target markets. So I found out price point. I learned a lot what everybody said. Uh, what's really

[00:13:44] Wendy: helpful. Oh, okay. And so is the price point similar in Japan as in the us?

[00:13:54] Mayumi: It is a slightly higher right now, however, pretty much on part.[00:14:00]

[00:14:00] Um, we, we couldn't push, this is a $50 in platinum, yellow, gold and rose gold. One pair replace has all your earrings and, but it is $50 we need to about the same. Um, But, you know, do you know importing from something, um, from overseas, especially Japan with heavy, um, the hefty, uh, import tax on these products because of the, um, um, precious [00:14:30] metal content.

[00:14:31] It was really difficult for me to increase the price to 70 or a hundred dollars because if nobody buys it, it's the end of the story. So we, I decided to keep it at $50. But, um, that's where the D C um, how was it?

[00:14:51] Wendy: Okay, so you ended up keeping the price point, the, um, name, the brand, the packaging. [00:15:00] And now how about the

[00:15:00] Mayumi: message?

[00:15:02] Yes, slightly different, um, packaging in a messaging and pocket audience, a little young guy in Japan and, uh, in the states, I always wanted to aim high-end who have nice diamond earrings, who to wear like special presence from the boyfriend. Parents or has been, um, lots of memories and the diamond studs are very popular in the states [00:15:30] and all various sizes, tiny one, two pretty big ones.

[00:15:34] And especially, you know, half character above. Everybody's really worried about losing. So, um, I wanted initially target that audience because as you know, the consumer funnel is like early adopters, you know, food, try anything at any price point or like when, you know, iPhone came out, there are certain people who [00:16:00] wanted to buy right away.

[00:16:02] So that's. People I wanted to target initially and spread the word about Chris Malheur.

[00:16:09] Wendy: Okay. Okay. And your partner who founded it, did she originally target the younger ones in Japan?

[00:16:16] Mayumi: No. The, uh, in Japan, the majority of people who have pierced earrings, a little younger in the states, everybody starts wearing earrings.

[00:16:27] Even when your toddler, in some cases [00:16:30] in all of them, majority of us are wearing it already. Or, you know, evil early, around teenager and in the state I, in Japan, on the other hand, parents are really strict and school are really strict. So I grew up in Tokyo. They were my fault. And my, the, I got piercing.

[00:16:49] Finally, when I turned. So that's more typical. So, um, and then older generation, you know, the, uh, they don't [00:17:00] have a chance to have piercing about what's not that popular. So, so baby boomers above fall less percentage wise than the younger generation. So that's kind of a pie was more skewed to a younger generation.

[00:17:18] Isn't

[00:17:18] that

[00:17:19] Wendy: interesting. Okay. So the 20 to 40 year olds are going to have the money choose for themself and recognize the importance of an [00:17:30] earring back. Whereas in the U S a lot more people wear earrings, older people have the money, and they're more apt to. Have valuable earrings and spend the money.

[00:17:40] Okay. Now what about, uh, that's fascinating. So that's very different. And you did your research too. How did you research to figure that out or did you know? Because you're bicultural.

[00:17:51] Mayumi: Yeah, I kind of knew, but we verified by doing market research. We did the, um, um, comprehensive market research in [00:18:00] Japan and also in the states and both countries surprisingly, or naturally 86% of us who were postings have lost any hearing at least.

[00:18:12] Um, many more so that 86% number, according to our own research in Japan and the U S it's the same number, which is ridiculous in a 24 century, we are still losing any hearing. Right,

[00:18:27] Wendy: right, right. This is just [00:18:30] brilliant. Okay. So how did you do the market research to, to verify

[00:18:36] Mayumi: that. So there are different levels of doing this.

[00:18:41] And there are some researchers we found outside, but we did in Japan, we polled 1000 people in the states. We did a couple of hundred. So to us, it's not science. We just want to verify our thesis hypothesis, [00:19:00] um, to just do it right.

[00:19:02] Wendy: Okay. And so, I mean, that's a really good point to an entrepreneur that wants to cross the country, you know, cross the borders and go into different countries is come up with a hypothesis or what you think from what you know, and then just test, do a smaller sample size and test it.

[00:19:19] Okay. So what about other countries?

[00:19:23] Mayumi: Yes. Um, so power of internet, a lot of people Google or search on amazon.com. [00:19:30] Um, they find this solution because they asked to the last hearing. So they don't necessarily know our name, but secure hearing back or locking, hearing back or the best ear in back. Parents, Chris mallet pretty high, which is really lucky.

[00:19:48] And, uh, so we do get receive orders from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and other countries. And we did, um, open [00:20:00] Amazon UK as well.

[00:20:02] Wendy: So now, are you marketing in any languages besides English and Jeb?

[00:20:07] Mayumi: Not yet. Um, not yet, except for we have a wonderful dweller. Um, one of the prominent jeweler in Malaysia, who's selling NSO.

[00:20:17] They speak a bunch of different languages, including dialects. So they do communicate, um, uh, about Chris maaleh, but I thought, boy, I do again, [00:20:30] once again, the target audience, we have a bilingual or trialing, especially Europeans, and they do speak mostly English as well. So, um, that part is pretty lucky. Our English content or marketing messages, uh, are understood in different countries.

[00:20:52] Wendy: Okay. Well, I do have to pipe in here and say that the research shows that most people would prefer to buy [00:21:00] in their native language and over a half of them are willing to spend more. So how did you come about the decision to just do English and Japanese now instead of looking at translate?

[00:21:12] Mayumi: We left out.

[00:21:13] We'd love to be in German and French and such however, and that's why we patented Christmas in France, in Italy as well. Um, again, it's, um, you know, could be ticking an egg [00:21:30] problem, but we need to make a decision like that. Um, depending on, um, based on ROI. So. Volume picks up. Yes. We want to translate everything into French.

[00:21:46] Uh, we want to communicate, put more marketing muscle, um, to go after a French market or German market, but. That takes a lot of efforts and we have so busy enough. [00:22:00] Um, we are still cracking people up the iceberg in the English speaking or us market alone. And, uh, uh, so little by little in the future.

[00:22:09] Definitely. However, Chris, um, the, uh, Amazon that generate, uh, translate some of the pages. So it is viewable and, um, available. It's not the same. But, uh, to some extent there's a little first step is being done, but [00:22:30] as you pointed out, Wendy, it's really important to localize events.

[00:22:35] Wendy: Right. And how did you localize when you went from Japan to the us?

[00:22:42] Mayumi: So I did pretty much everything. So I wrote the text with the lawyers to make sure it's okay. And, and in test with a bunch of people. Um, and. Pretty basic [00:23:00] pretty hands-on, which

[00:23:01] Wendy: is, that's a huge advantage. Cause you know, Japanese and you know, English, cause you've been doing business in it. So you could do it yourself.

[00:23:08] And that was one of the first things that you had to do. Yeah. Yeah. That's fantastic. What have been some of your biggest challenges?

[00:23:18] Mayumi: Um, number one is still to this day, how to spread the word. So, Wendy, I really appreciate for you to invite me to be on your show, because this is [00:23:30] another way to talk to your audience about Christmas and hello.

[00:23:35] Something like this exists in the market available right now to solve the problem. So this is very important, uh, little by little and second, um, Uh, hurdle was lot of people in the states. After like first year I heard so many customers asking us we need more support or lift function, which we didn't [00:24:00] have.

[00:24:00] And so after listening to us customers, Requests. We, um, created a sister or a big sister of origin to Chris Milligan where the support their school, we call it Chris Mala, extra this, create this support and lift up your earrings. And you're yellow kind of like push up bra. Also when you have cold hands in the morning, it's much easier to handle because it's so [00:24:30] tiny.

[00:24:30] Um, so it's doing really well. So that's us driven, um, product development. It was

[00:24:39] Wendy: w okay. So explain this a little bit more to me. How would somebody even know they needed lift on their ear lobes, heavier earrings, or is.

[00:24:51] Mayumi: No, the, um, unfortunately, um, this is something I learned. I didn't, I had no idea, so it'd be yellow, but it's a [00:25:00] cartridge.

[00:25:00] So with the more number of years you spend on earth, your cartridge of yellow could give in to our us this, um, gravity. So, and especially if you were wearing big, chunky hearings, when you are dancing, when you are in college, Pull down that's another extra gravity effect. So over the years they, it gets, could be wrinkled or could get [00:25:30] thinner and could be softer to support hefty earrings.

[00:25:35] So if you enjoy sparkle of a diamond system, especially it could sag and kind of. Downwards if your cartridge doesn't support. So this support function of the desk, it's very important, not only for, to solve the current problem, but also preventative as well. Kind of like a bra. Do you wear a bra to kind of support the left?[00:26:00]

[00:26:00] Yes. And if you don't, you know what happens? So same idea.

[00:26:05] Wendy: Oh, that is so fascinating. I mean, I've had some of the stuff from aging, but I didn't know. My ear lobes could even,

[00:26:15] Mayumi: I had no idea, but our customers told us, so

[00:26:18] Wendy: that's interesting. Yes. Yes. And there, there, it goes back to you remarketing marketing towards an older customer base.

[00:26:27] And so the feedback you're going to get would be [00:26:30] different than if it was a younger one. That's so funny. I took that you listened to the customer base, huh? Okay. So the challenges have been to, uh, spread the word and then that they wanted this additional. Um, Lyft to the earring back, which you've now come up with.

[00:26:47] That's fantastic. And I do have to say you held it up and, you know, for people who are listening to the podcast, you can't see it, but in each little box when you get it, it says, made in Japan with love, you [00:27:00] know? So it's another, I mean, To me. I really liked that, but I'm a global citizen. And so I'd love for you to talk about how you came to the decision to put that in there.

[00:27:14] Mayumi: So thanks for asking. So three years ago, I was really lucky to be invited to be a contestant of the, uh, this business. Pitch compass on MSNBC and I won. [00:27:30] And, um, that led me to was spot on home shopping network HSN. So that was most sick, uh, scariest thing. Experience ever on TV. However, during the process, as you know, the HSN such a large retailer have so many rules and one of them was you need a sticker or some explanation on the package that says where [00:28:00] it's made.

[00:28:00] So, you know, when you buy anything. T-shirt anything could say made in China, made in Bangladesh, anything. So I need to put something somewhere on the package and our package is really tiny, you know, like this credit card size and they including brochure. I did not. And we are targeting really sophisticated, fashionable adult market grownups, and who [00:28:30] appreciate nice things and beautiful things.

[00:28:32] So I didn't want to ruin the little silly, tiny sticker that would say typically made in Japan. I know, made in China. I didn't want to go there. So I was thinking, should I put in a brochure? They said, no, has to be on the pack on the product itself, not on the. They said, so their legal department was really, really demanding and they had came up with what we say east side of the package, you know, made [00:29:00] in Japan.

[00:29:00] And then while we added, they, they use let's do it, the gold foil. And plus, why don't we say Mike is, well, maybe in Japan with love. So.

[00:29:12] Wendy: Oh, how fascinating. I love that story because it just feels like such a heartfelt touch that would come from your partner's original story, but it really is a practical need, but it stays within your brand.

[00:29:27] Yeah. Okay. And that's interesting. [00:29:30] Cause a lot of people might say, well, you know, Americans want American made goods, but I'm seeing a change in that. And you had a sophisticated adult market, which had probably traveled quite

[00:29:43] Mayumi: a bit. Yeah. Also this was only possible to be made in Japan because we use high-tech factories, six of them who are behind.

[00:29:53] Um, I found camera. Um, technology and that kind of precision [00:30:00] technology. And so many of them, so many levels from the parts to each individual, um, component and final assembly, everything, it wasn't possible. It's still not possible anywhere other than. So I kicked the tire before I started, because I was really scared.

[00:30:20] Oh, is this the right thing to do? And I really wore my anos hat on, well, visited all the factories, kick the tire, make [00:30:30] sure this is what I really need to do.

[00:30:33] Wendy: All right. So I got two questions there for you. So the first is just the Japanese factories are the only ones that could do. Like there's no place.

[00:30:44] So even finding a factory in the U S wouldn't have the precision technology, and you were talking about ball bearings and these little leering backs, I'm like, I wouldn't even be able to pick up the bearings. They'd be so small. So it's another example of, if you're an entrepreneur and you have an [00:31:00] idea, don't just look at factories in your country, look for other places of where their specialty.

[00:31:06] Okay. And then you talked about, um, Kicking the tire and really looking at it. And your analysts have. What things did you look at before you partnered with somebody?

[00:31:20] Mayumi: Yeah, so I visited up the, um, the area, my partner, when I first met her, she said, you have [00:31:30] I been waiting for somebody like you? So I was really touched.

[00:31:33] And then she gave me the bunch of samples to test the market. I was really flattered because she trusted me. And that was one thing that trust and. To this day, we still treasure that kind of mutual trust. Secondly, kicking the tire. When I visited, um, all these factories in Japan, talk to all the owners, talk to everybody who worked there.

[00:31:58] Talk, look at the [00:32:00] floor, how clean it is and how efficient they work and what kind of other products they may. Whole level was just fantastic. And top-notch naturally world-class because they work for other bunch of world-class find watches companies and high technology, high tech things. So there was a, that level of trust as well.

[00:32:26] And thirdly, the fact that Eric had this grip [00:32:30] after being rejected by 200 high, big factories in Japan said, no. It's impossible to make, but these guys that we work with currently so that we, yes, we get that level of difficulty and how they are executing every day. Um, that made me feel really proud to work with.

[00:32:53] Wendy: That's that's fantastic. So it's really going to visit and talk to people in developing the trust is [00:33:00] so important. So now they're all manufactured over there and you have to bring them into the United States. And then if you're selling a lot on Amazon, like how, how did you work out the distribution?

[00:33:12] Mayumi: So, um, The Japanese factors on my partners in Japan are fantastic.

[00:33:18] And I try to, I learn how to forecast and how to pre-order, um, at least several, several weeks in advance. And then with a little long range, a [00:33:30] couple months ahead, what's coming or what's happening kind of, uh, T um, you know, get them some ideas so they can prepare. And then, uh, Because this is so lucky. It's so tiny.

[00:33:44] So feather light, it doesn't even wear out that's one way evil way. One owns it's a half an ounce per product. So we use, um, FedEx, um, air. It's not even an [00:34:00] economy. They discontinued the economy since pandemic, but so, um, we, um, we import. Thousands and, uh, in, by, uh, by FedEx, but it, so it's pretty quick PO process.

[00:34:16] I ordered, they fell the ship and in these days it's really fast arrived. So I go, the other last one last week was arrived in three days, of course, time difference, but they shipped on Tuesday. I got it on [00:34:30] Thursday morning in Los Angeles, which is amazing. Right. That's crazy. I tried to, you know, because I was, I know, I understand the finance and I know the cost of, um, inventory, excess inventory.

[00:34:47] So I tried to turn on him very, very efficiently. And, um, so that's how he works. And

[00:34:54] Wendy: so where do you store them? Uh, so

[00:34:58] Mayumi: they arrive in I'm [00:35:00] based in LA, so they come to LA and then we shipped to warehouses or Amazon. Um, and, uh, you know, this tiny product like us and then a little brand like Chris Mala. Do you know how many warehouses Chris?

[00:35:17] Um, Amazon stock, many,

[00:35:24] Wendy: five.

[00:35:27] Mayumi: These days over 20. So that's [00:35:30] how same day or next day shipping is possible. So majority of may major cities in the state. If you order through Amazon, you can get it either the next day. It's the same day. So that if you order right now before like 11 or nourish, you will get it to me.

[00:35:52] Which is amazing.

[00:35:54] Wendy: That is, that is crazy. So they have to have huge warehouses in a lot of [00:36:00] cities, and then you just watch how many items are there and replenish them as they need.

[00:36:07] Mayumi: Yeah. Luckily we just shipped to one location in California. That's where, um, they tell us to ship. And then from there they spread too many.

[00:36:20] Wendy: So they'll decide where to put them out. And then they

[00:36:23] Mayumi: know that where the demand is where people are cooking or they left it in the cart. So they know. [00:36:30]

[00:36:31] Wendy: So are most of your sales now through Amazon?

[00:36:34] Mayumi: Uh, I'm assuming it's one of the very bathing port on channel four. But we'll do a book with other retailers and Juella close in on, uh, directly with, uh, through our website.

[00:36:49] Wendy: Oh, okay. So people can go to your website, they can go to Amazon. And then when you sell through jewelers, do you have to go to the independent jewelers or is [00:37:00] there. Yeah.

[00:37:01] Mayumi: Majority of them, um, they come to us, they see it, us on their customers said, oh, this is better. Why don't just start. So that's the wonderful thing.

[00:37:13] And also they see it on Instagram or Facebook or articles about the brand or me or podcast. So.

[00:37:28] Wendy: Okay, so they're finding you. So [00:37:30] you really have in your inbound marketing, working

[00:37:34] Mayumi: Joanna, it's a really snappy because they want to best customer service. And actually Chris is, we presented at 1000 dwellers, so, and then many of them use Christmas as a gift with purchase for the best customers have.

[00:37:51] Thank you so much for buying a $22,000. Yeah. And he has here's the, uh, Chris mallet to locate [00:38:00] safely. So that's what the menu of our drill, our customers doing that same in the states

[00:38:05] Wendy: as well. That's fantastic. Yes. Cause it's a fan. Yeah. So I could see that. Um, and what about jewelry manufacturers? Do you ever sell to that?

[00:38:18] No. Yeah. On

[00:38:20] Mayumi: there. I will. I really hope so soon. So if you are listening to this podcast and if you have a big drought, please contact me. [00:38:30]

[00:38:30] Wendy: Okay. Okay. So you really started with the consumer, then you went to the retailer and then the manufacturer will be like the third stage of marketing. Okay. So anybody manufacturing, jewelry out there, you definitely have to get in touch with Chris Mela.

[00:38:46] Uh, see. H R Y S Mela, M ELA. It's all one word, Chris smeller. Yeah. Yeah. And you mentioned Tiffany would be a big target for you, right? To walk with them. Hey, does [00:39:00] anybody have a contact at Tiffany? I mean, it's crazy that Tiffany is not hooked up with Chris Mela at this point. Now, do you have. Any other people working here in the United States.

[00:39:11] So I

[00:39:12] Mayumi: work with a bunch of really talented people in marketing PR, Instagram management and social channels and various, uh, and, uh, warehouses. Yes. But these days they have a lot of talent [00:39:30] deep bench in, um, who are independent consultant or independent. Uh, PR agent available these days. And I love working with young talented people because they bring a lot of ideas to me that I had no idea.

[00:39:48] So I'm learning a lot from all my mind.

[00:39:52] Wendy: Okay, so that's it. So you're really an entrepreneur who's leveraging the gig economy or independent [00:40:00] contractors to run all your business.

[00:40:01] Mayumi: Yep. I really believe in it. I really believe in supporting them. And I, myself has been solo entrepreneur for many, many years, and I know I, that freedom we enjoy it's really, um, Um, um, make us more productive and then, um, enjoy the life and have fun doing both playing, um, working as well.

[00:40:28] So I [00:40:30] like the balance.

[00:40:31] Wendy: Gosh, what a, what an inspiration. I mean, that's so inter cause as I was listening to the different types of things that you're doing, you're doing it all and you can do it without an employee. And so what recommendations would you give to somebody who. Wants to come into the United States or wants to go into another country to find a person like you so they can expand.

[00:40:55] Mayumi: Great question. In my case, I just so read the [00:41:00] huge article in Japanese newspaper , which is a wall street journal equivalent in Japan, in Japanese. There was a huge article about my partner airy and about Chris Mela. That's how I discovered I learned about the product and I bought it right away. Uh, on Amazon, Japan.

[00:41:20] And then when I went to Japan, I started wearing it and I fell in love with it. So if you want to market [00:41:30] internationally and you find the market, uh, in the other countries, I think one of your customer could be good target. And so you may want to say, oh, we are, we want to go to this country or that country, eh, if you read.

[00:41:45] Article contact me, that kind of thing may work or these days, you know, the Instagram social channels, or even LinkedIn would be really powerful. And also a [00:42:00] trade organization to you ma you can just, um, write a short article about your product and your intention. Okay. If you are in Indonesia, looking for somebody, a partner.

[00:42:14] The state or vice versa, you may want to write the article and share all being on, on the guest of a podcasts. Like Wendy's, that would be a good thing because like-minded people will be listening. Oh, watching. So that's [00:42:30] where you want. I love

[00:42:32] Wendy: that I'm going to take that advice because it Rapport International.

[00:42:36] Uh, we'd like to expand into the Netherlands, uh, Belgium, Switzerland. We've identified those as, as good companies. So if anybody is listening is interested in starting a division and one of those, uh, countries are becoming an entrepreneur or reach out to us. So it's having the intention and then putting it out there.

[00:42:57] That's a, that's really a great [00:43:00] idea. What do you miss about Japan?

[00:43:05] Mayumi: Oh, miss about seeing my mom. Cause you know, it's been two years. I used to go, um, two or three times a year to Japan and do some business meetings in there also. I see my mom and go to spa, go to own Sam with her. So any good food in Japan, and I really miss it, especially watching the Olympics, you know, I don't miss it summer in [00:43:30] summer weather in Japan, not at all, but I miss food and shopping in my.

[00:43:36] Wendy: Ah, yeah. Yeah. And so you've had, you've had experience both in Japan and the United States. You've also had the experience of being a consultant and an analyst in a large company versus being an entrepreneur. Can you kind of give us a comparison and contrast to that for people who might be thinking about [00:44:00] being an entrepreneur exporting?

[00:44:02] Mayumi: Yeah. So it's a really interesting thing. For me to launch Chris a business. It was like late life, um, uh, Peabody and I had no idea before I started, I was going to do this. And, uh, so he took a nice surprise, but I'm having a great time working for large companies, especially when. I in your twenties, [00:44:30] it's really struck a great learning experience.

[00:44:33] You learn a lot in a very structured way. You learn about people as well. So it's really, to me, I was really lucky. My first job was, uh, was with McKinsey and they assigned me to international studies. I would go to Europe and then it was a lot of fun and I worked really long hours, but I knew. Um, it was rewarding because I was learning a lot.

[00:44:59] [00:45:00] So that was great. And then I started, um, becoming, um, switched to wall street job as an analyst recommending buying and selling stocks. Um, I cut the need to actually, I was working for European. But doing us Silicon valley, analyzing what apple and Microsoft are doing and interpret that into Japanese stock market.

[00:45:28] How, what what's [00:45:30] Japanese stock would benefit from what apple is doing. And we did. Amazing business. And I was in, so valley living in about, I was talking to viewing, visiting all the Silicon valley companies go to, we booked in New York report to Tokyo as I was cooking a Dina when the Japanese market opens.

[00:45:52] And I told them. When I got that job in that space. Oh, I don't need office. They didn't have office in San Francisco. [00:46:00] I don't need office. I can work at home. So they still, then this is a long time ago. I would use fax and Tiwan with Reuters and Bloomberg communists in the house. This is a regular house.

[00:46:12] Right. And then go, it comes. Yes, but I work for these companies and then they need, I need this. So that's what I did. So I was pretty entrepreneurial in a sense, I cut my niche and, uh, convince my bosses. They've even save their money [00:46:30] for my office space. I can work happily at home long hours, long span of New York to Tokyo time zone and being in the middle in California.

[00:46:39] So I was, I think, pretty, um, um, how do you call it entrepreneurial about.

[00:46:49] Wendy: Yes you have from the start, if you've been able to, to set up things like that. And if you were faxing and T1, that was a while ago, way before people were, were working from home. Yes. [00:47:00] Yes. Now what have been the biggest mistakes or challenges that you've done as an entrepreneur on your own?

[00:47:07] Because you have the big company back in you up.

[00:47:10] Mayumi: Great question. So. When I started, uh, Chris Mala, the, I was so scared of any public exposure, publicity exposure. Like now I'm talking to you like this, but this is new to me. Maybe I might. Uh, [00:47:30] podcasts was a year and a half ago, maybe not quite two years ago.

[00:47:34] And I never, I didn't even have faced Facebook or Instagram account when I started it because none of my friends did. And I was really scared. I wasn't going to share any photos of me, not my face either. So that was a big mistake because I lost so much opportunities. Spreading it out. Cause I, he, I, we're talking about spreading the word its [00:48:00] biggest challenge.

[00:48:02] Wendy: Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. So if you're listening to the podcast, we're actually recording this on video and my yummy is absolutely beautiful. She looks way younger than she has to be. Then she is because the T1 and faxing, she's got a beautiful smile, beautiful earrings that I'm sure have a fantastic back on it.

[00:48:24] Her hair is great. She's got a Chris Mela. T-shirt. So personable. So [00:48:30] I just, I have such a hard time. I mean, so it's just a huge message to, if you don't think you can do the PR or you're scared of it, put yourself out there because here's this person that I'm looking at that I just have such a hard time because she's so articulate, so smart and so successful.

[00:48:49] So just, just do it. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that to encourage other people.

[00:48:56] Mayumi: Especially boomers and boomers. Plus people have [00:49:00] that because it's really hard to overcome that hurdle. Like, I don't want to show my face. I don't want to share my personal stuff, but these days nobody remembers, especially if they see it, they only remember something memorable.

[00:49:16] Okay. Chris Miller. Yay bag is amazing. They don't remember what way you are, what you said. Really. So I remember

[00:49:26] Wendy: how you made them feel, not that you [00:49:30] had a pimple on your face or something stuck in your teeth or any of that, which none of it. You don't, you look absolutely perfect, but, uh, that's so true. How did you make them feel?

[00:49:41] So it's all about your listeners. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that. Um, we are surprisingly getting down in the time, and so I want to ask you some of the questions that I always ask at the end. Um, and I like to know people's [00:50:00] favorite foreign word.

[00:50:03] Mayumi: So my is east Swahili. Mimi Mimi

[00:50:11] Wendy: not tech away away.

[00:50:14] So, so go ahead. Tell me what that means.

[00:50:17] Mayumi: And I write about it when I was in elementary school, in Japan, reading about this amazing story of, uh, uh, doctors working with, uh, Gloria that's in Africa and. [00:50:30] The gorilla learn how to communicate. I love you. And they were in this way, Healey languaging zone and they understood, they taught the gari.

[00:50:42] That's hard to say in Swahili. I love it. I love that story

[00:50:48] Wendy: where they taught the gorillas to actually say it. Yeah. Wow. Wow. Okay.

[00:50:57] Mayumi: Now I'm going to have, they were doing the sign language, but [00:51:00] mini . Those are three things. They are learning the sign language in Swahili.

[00:51:06] Wendy: Oh, okay. So they learn the sign language for that.

[00:51:09] That could say it. I was trying to imagine a gorilla actually say. I was going to have to go to that Instagram or social media and figure that out.

[00:51:18] Mayumi: I love that. Okay.

[00:51:20] Wendy: And how about your favorite vacation?

[00:51:23] Mayumi: Favorite vacation, I think, uh, going to, uh, island in Scotland, play golf. My husband and [00:51:30] I are crazy golfers.

[00:51:32] Our goal is to play all the top hundred golf courses in the world and we have only 10 to go.

[00:51:41] Wendy: Wow. Congratulations. That's huge. So what countries are the last 10?

[00:51:48] Mayumi: Uh, many in the states, um, a few in Asia.

[00:51:54] Wendy: Okay, where has been the wildest golf course that you've been or most [00:52:00] memorable?

[00:52:00] Mayumi: This one was a three, four years ago on king island, this tiny, tiny island off the coast of Australia.

[00:52:09] And it's so tiny and, but there are like two or three now wonderful golf courses. And it's really beautiful. But it's so windy, it's sewing it to the point of your hair because it's really windy. And then the prov, the golf professional there TA [00:52:30] said to us, oh, because it's so windy because there's nothing between us and I'm talking

[00:52:38] go when, go straight to the, um, this Tanya and beautiful island called the king island. They have great lobsters. Oh, well,

[00:52:48] Wendy: okay. All right. That's good to know. Now, have you played pebble beach?

[00:52:52] Mayumi: Yes. Many times.

[00:52:53] Wendy: Okay. I figured since that's in California. Yeah. Yeah. That's a beautiful place. And [00:53:00] how about your most, um, memorable cross cultural experience?

[00:53:07] Mayumi: Um, maybe my first one, because when I first, um, the first time I came to the states, that was also my first time to take a plane plane right out would both Tokyo. I was pretty domestic JAMA, very typical Japanese teenager. And I went for my junior [00:53:30] year. I, um, got the scholarship to become the, um, The a exchange student and I lived in a girl's dorm and, uh, some, um, by choice because I wanted to learn English as fast as possible.

[00:53:48] So I immersed myself with all the, you know, American girls, um, in my roommate. Uh, normally my roommate, but everybody on the floor, everybody in the building and they used [00:54:00] to make fun of me every time I speak English because I was speaking straight from textbook. I mean, English textbook from Japan. So I would say something like when I love something I really wanted, I would say.

[00:54:16] Oh, it's indispensable for me to have this and that they would repeat many, many days after that. So in a sense, that's how I learned how to explain how to, [00:54:30] you know, what expression is more properly. And if you keep it straight, I learned really hard way, but I sank all my roommates.

[00:54:39] Wendy: Oh, that's a fantastic story because I bet that was translated from Japanese to English rather than capturing the culture of how it's casually said.

[00:54:48] Nah, another good reminder of good translation is important, even, especially in

[00:54:53] Mayumi: teaching contextual situation. One. If you're presenting [00:55:00] to the bunch of doctors. Yeah. Indispensable maybe. Okay. But not do it every day in a girls dorm for the sat farmers.

[00:55:08] Wendy: No, no, no, not at all. I can't even think of a time when I've used indispensable.

[00:55:15] I mean, it's a word I read it, but I don't ever use that in regular conversation. I

[00:55:21] Mayumi: have another recent experience. You could sample just about a half a year ago. Um, one of my, uh, social [00:55:30] media, um, managers said, oh, I don't think, and I edited it. I don't think it's not the word on Instagram. So I edited right away.

[00:55:39] Miami. We say, I don't think this is

[00:55:48] what the adulting means. Wendy. When did you know maybe you, you knew many

[00:55:53] Wendy: years ago? Well, I have, I have a 20 year old. 17 year old. And [00:56:00] so I have certainly known through their teenage years because I it's something I've said to them. Well, welcome to adulting, but I don't remember how it first came about because I don't know if it's actually in, you know, Webster.

[00:56:13] Dictionary. It's not, well, they add about 200 new words and take out a bunch each quarter. So, uh, the words, language is changing all the time. Yeah. And, [00:56:30] um, at what sort of recommendations would you give to anybody that is thinking about bringing a product into the United States?

[00:56:38] Mayumi: Well, don't be scared if you have an idea or product.

[00:56:43] Try do it. And you learn.

[00:56:47] Wendy: Okay. So keeping that learning cap on is, is you're is going to learn and get better.

[00:56:52] Mayumi: Yes. No matter how successful you become, it's always learning, learning, because there's always new things. Look at the [00:57:00] social media, everything, all the rules change all the time. Yes.

[00:57:04] Wendy: Yes. That's what keeps me so engaged and running this company, Rapport International is cause it's changed so much.

[00:57:12] So, you know, even two years ago. Yeah,

[00:57:15] Mayumi: yeah, yeah. The milestone of your podcast, it takes, we know it takes a lot of work.

[00:57:25] Wendy: It does take a lot of work, but I love doing the interviews. I've talked to so many [00:57:30] interesting people with fantastic advice for people who want to export. So where can, where should people go to Chris Mela or to find you.

[00:57:38] Mayumi: Yes. Um, you can Google or, um, on Amazon. The secure earing lock or Chris Mela CA Chris malice spell it if you can. Oh,

[00:57:51] Wendy: sure. Yes. So Chris Melisse C H R Y S ma M E L a Chris Mela. [00:58:00] So, uh, but I like that you can either Google Chris Mela or secure earring lock. That's fantastic. Well, thank you so much. My army.

[00:58:09] Then my, you may, this has been such a fantastic conversation.

[00:58:16] Mayumi: Amazing. Um, amazing questions. I really enjoyed talking with you. Thank you, Andy.

[00:58:22] Wendy: Thank you right. Until all our listeners, I'm sure you learned something from this one. There was a lot of good information [00:58:30] there. So if you know somebody. Looking to go out of the United States or come into the United States.

[00:58:36] This is a great episode to forward onto them. And I can certainly see that I'm going to be talking to Mayumi afterwards about a translation into French and German, because rather than having to do. Uh, everything at the start, maybe just doing a landing page for your business would work and then people could find you just optimize that landing page and they could still go [00:59:00] through the buying buying cycle.

[00:59:01] So always remember it's not a whole big, intensive thing to do some translation start out small and you can always build when you see it growing. So thanks for listening this time. And we'll talk to next time.

[00:59:13] [00:59:30]

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