Providing the softest and highest-quality towels and apparel, UCHINO’s products offer a relaxing experience while enhancing the human senses.
“Something I would like to do in the future is expand further on the five senses. Ideally, we would like to create a one-stop solution for relaxation.”
Nobuyuki UCHINO, President, UCHINO Co., Ltd.
A manufacturer and distributor of home textile products, UCHINO is an internationally renowned company which was first established almost eighty years ago.
Company president Nobuyuki Uchin makes no secret of how the group has been able to maintain its market superiority despite the rise of regional manufacturers and accompanying price competition.
“The big difference between our garments and those of competitors is that we make the materials first and then decide what to do with them,” he says. “Other competitors are searching for ways to make things productively. We, on the other hand, prioritize quality over productivity.”
It is an approach that has enabled the company to achieve market success both domestically and abroad.
Of the company’s various brands, one of the most recent to appear is UCHINO relax, which offers specialized comfort and whose range has just expanded from towels to shirts and pajamas.
Mr. Uchino adds: “The brand itself relies on feeling very lightweight and is achieved from an original gauze we have named Marshmallow Gauze because of its exceptionally soft texture. The idea was to create a brand that conjures the feeling after taking a bath”
Patented worldwide, Marshmallow Gauze is contoured, meaning it does not come into direct contact with the skin, which makes it suitable for those with sensitive skin.
The company’s current bestseller, meanwhile, is the so-called Blissful Towel, which, Mr. Uchino confirms, spent some three years in development, and features softer yarn that is seven times as thin as that generally used in the United States.
The market for soft comfort wear is growing in Japan, partly, no doubt, in response to the Covid pandemic and the trend for remote working.
Mr. Uchino, however, has another theory. “People buy the Blissful Towel not just for the function, but also for the sensory feeling that comes from using it. You could say that the products we offer are more like lifestyle choices. Certainly, the idea with the Blissful Towel, a term we have now registered, was to convey to our customers that when they use our products, they will feel happy.”
Turning to sustainability, Mr. Uchino outlines how the company is aiming to switch to 100% sustainable cotton, and is keen to emphasize some other ways in which UCHINO gives something back to society.
“Other products I would like to highlight include our hat towels, which are often used by chemotherapy patients,” he states.
With towels in the U.S. being too thick to make hats, UCHINO has begun donating its products to organizations such as the Iwate Hospice Association in order to provide extra comfort for cancer patients. A noble undertaking, which has seen towel caps being delivered to patients all over the world.
Looking to the future, Mr. Uchino cites the need for the company to apply itself on a more global scale. It is worth noting in this regard that the company has already enjoyed great success in Asian countries, where sales are apparently highest for UCHINO’s most expensive items.
And Mr. Uchino is confident that the company’s success in Asian countries can be replicated elsewhere: “I do not think there is another company that can imitate us, especially in terms of manufacturing.”
“The approach now,” he confirms, “is to look at the markets we want to target with our material, and perhaps consider a collaboration with companies that are strong in those target markets. One particular market we are interested in currently is skin care.”
With an established presence in global department stores, a move into e-commerce is also planned in the near future.
All developments at UCHINO start and end with the keywords “light” and “soft,” providing an antidote to digitalization in an increasingly fast-paced world. Even in the face of society’s modernization, there will always be a time and place for comfort and relaxation. “That,” Mr. Uchino concludes, “is what the UCHINO brand stands for, and it is my mission to expand upon that.”