With Japanese lifestyle chains like Muji and Uniqlo popping up in every other mall, it’s no secret that many locals are religious consumers of Japan-made products. Items produced in the Land of the Rising Sun are generally preferred over products from other countries due to their association with quality and reliability, so it makes sense that the J-wave would eventually hit the pet-owning market.
Kick-starting this trend are ex-colleagues turned business partners, Han Lilin, 32, and Tisha Yeo, 34, full-time Japanese-English translators by day, and part-time personal shoppers by night. Their business, Magasin Miyabi—‘Magasin’ means ‘store’ in French, while ‘Miyabi’ means ‘elegance’ in Japanese—specialises in helping paw-rents purchase exclusive and/or customised pet accessories from Japan, handling the tedious logistics of the entire process from start to finish. They work closely with a handful of cottage industries that hand make and sell pet accessories out of their homes or small stores. These businesses do not have the resources or ability to sell their products beyond Japan, so that is where Magasin Miyabi steps in.
Listed on their website (www.miyabistore.co) are examples of the accessories that paw-rents can order from the 10 to 15 craftsmen that were handpicked by Lilin and Tisha —think luxe leather-braided collars and beautiful kimono crepe bibs. “Quality is our top priority. We always make test purchases before deciding whether or not to work with a particular craftsman," explains Tisha. Once their goods get the stamp of approval for quality, the team selects unique designs from the stores’ catalogues and lists them online. Magasin Miyabi mostly carries dog and cat collars and leashes (prices from $19), but true to their titles of personal shoppers, Lilin and Tisha are very flexible about orders, and are willing to help with whatever you have in mind—as long as it is legal to import into Singapore. You can customise the products listed on their e-store by requesting for minor tweaks to the designs, have your pet’s name embroidered on, or play around with colours and fabrics. If you don’t see anything you like, you can write in, detailing what you like or are looking for, and they will do their best to source for suitable items and recommend them to you. If you just need an agent to help you purchase from a particular Japanese website, that can be arranged too. A service fee is applicable for all purchases, and is generally calculated based on item value, complexity of design, and special requests (if any). Magasin Miyabi will provide a non-obligatory price quotation for each order, and it includes the item price, shipping costs, and service fees.
To find out more about how Magasin Miyabi grew their business, flip to Pet Biz (pg 63) of our Apr-May 2016 issue!