Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Anyone who has been to Japan (and many who haven’t) will know the name Muji. The name actually means 'no brand' and is the ‘brand’ of one of Japan’s smartest retailers.

To walk into a Muji store is to be enveloped by calm – the perfect environment for making intelligent choices. Everything in every Muji store is a Muji product. Apart from a small price sticker, which peels off, there is nothing on any Muji product to indicate where you purchased it from. I just kitted out my home office in Grasmere with Muji’s transparent gizmos.

Of course the ‘no brand’ brand is a very clever piece of branding in itself and this smart insight makes Muji a Lovemark for millions of people. The products are incredible; a mixture of Japanese cool and consumer desire. Notebooks to die for, pens, furnishings and clothing that are both understated and, in true Japanese fashion, stylish. Put that together with a determination to create a sustainable stock and you have a model for 21st century stores. People who are passionate about Muji products can pick them out of a line-up with their eyes closed, well half-open anyway. It’s not surprising then that Muji is planning to open two stores in New York. A Muji SoHo store will open mid-November and, sometime next year, they will add a flag-ship store in Manhattan.

The Muji brand is style, confidence and an intimate knowledge of what makes their customers feel good about themselves. With Muji, the call of the brand is a whisper rather than a shout. Perfect pitch for a Lovemark in a world that demands you attract people by presenting them with the things they love.