In pursuit of the Japanese shoe market – Töysän Kenkätehdas

International markets always attract significant interest amongst manufacturers. However due to them being so difficult to access, dreams of success in them are often abandoned in pursuit of something more feasible. Töysän Kenkätehdas is an exception, striving for the Japanese market with their traditional style Finnish shoes. Our aim in this project is the creation of a Go-to-Market plan to aid them in their vision.

First our project team began pondering about similarities between Japan and Finland. We concluded that Finland and Japan kind of have this invisible, sort of bond between them. Although we could not exactly figure out why that was. Also, the fact that some niche Finnish products, for instance the Moomin mugs are quite popular and liked in Japan was another thing we thought upon. We decided to begin researching these phenomena.

Arctips Classic and Saga models

We thought “who better to ask than the people themselves?”, thus deciding that we would conduct a survey directed to Japanese people about their interest in shoes as well as a handful of video interviews with them asking about shoes and the general connection between the countries. The survey has recently come to a close, and we had a surprisingly good number of Japanese participants. The search for Japanese interviewees has been tough, but not fruitless. We are currently in the process of doing the interviews.

During the project we have also done benchmarking and other analyses on the side that will prove to be helpful in the creation of the Go-to-Market plan. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we have only been working together online, which of course brings with itself its own challenges. However so far so good, the project has been advancing steadily forward and we have been getting results.

With over half of the project underway, the next steps will be the analyzation of the survey results, as well as actually beginning the formation of the Go-to-Market plan. Who knows what the future has in store? We are eagerly waiting to see how this all will come together.

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