Today we visited two more companies that we thought would be good targets for our members coming to the Nikkei Show. It was our first time to visit these companies, but they proved quite receptive to our members' products.
The first company we visited is a custom kitchen specialist. They have been in business for 34 years serving the greater Tokyo market. They have a beautiful showroom with four full-time kitchen designers on staff in Tokyo's upscale Meguro Ward. Their head-office is near-by (we didn't visit it) where the rest of the staff are located. This office is mainly geared towards handling sales to developers of high-end condominium projects, while the showroom is for home owners.
All of the kitchens they do are custom. The units are supplied by two Japanese manufacturers, one that specializes in solid wood doors and another that does veneered doors. Solid door cabinets are popular with clients, but they have become difficult to handle as there are very few companies in Japan that can produce them and quality wood to make them is hard to come by (I smell a good opportunity here!). As a result, solid doors have become too expensive so clients have moved to veneered doors. Currently 5-10% of their business is in solid doors, 15% melamine, and the rest veneered. They are very fond of and mostly use Blum hardware, but sometimes also use Sugatsune/Lamp. Recently granite (40mm thick) and hybrid-granite (20mm thick) coutertops are the most popular. All installations are handled by a partner company they sub-contract to.
Their showroom is first class. The main display kitchen sells for over $40,000 despite its compact size. However, the point of their showroom is to only give clients an idea of what is possible and then design something from scratch. They rarely sell the "same kitchen" twice.
The second company we visited was a design firm in the fashionable Aoyama district. They design everything from houses to shops to parts of the new Haneda International Airport terminal. In the past, they imported Marvin windows and other products through Seattle and now they are looking at starting that again. Therefore, they were interested in a wide variety of BC Wood member products including flooring, wall coverings, windows, etc.. They just started working on a renovation of a 2,800 sq ft penthouse in Tokyo for which they need a stunning kitchen and lot's of flooring.
All in all we had two very good visits today and it looks like they will both visit our members at Nikkei.