The vision of becoming a worldwide company
In 1956, a few years after setting up the company, Wacoal founder Koichi Tsukamoto departed from Haneda Airport for America on a fact-finding trip in America and Europe. It was the first step taken in a 50-year plan to make Wacoal one of the world's leading lingerie companies. The purpose of the trip was to study the innerwear culture abroad and to lay the groundwork for marketing Wacoal products. At that time, few Japanese traveled overseas. All of Wacoal's employees gathered at the Kitano Shrine in Kyoto to pray for Tsukamoto's safety. Tsukamoto himself composed a will before making the journey.
It was in 1985, about 30 years later, that Wacoal began sales in America. After his trip, Tsukamoto decided that it was necessary to first develop the market in Japan, and to improve the standards of products and manufacturing technology. Improvements were steadily made, and after entering the Asian market in the 1970s, Wacoal entered the American market. In 2015, Wacoal America celebrated its 30th year. Wacoal now boasts a high share in America, nearly 60 years after Tsukamoto made his fact-finding trip to the country.
Not everything went smoothly at first in America. While Wacoal products were well received by American customers and sales grew steadily, losses were incurred for the first 10 years due to the high costs of procuring materials from Japan and the unexpectedly steep appreciation of the yen. Many at Wacoal thought that operations in America should be closed. But Tsukamoto was determined to persevere. Since the very beginning, Tsukamoto's vision had been to make Wacoal a worldwide company by making Western lingerie products of the highest quality. He was sure that customers around the world would appreciate the value of Japanese craftsmanship. His unwavering belief eventually came to be shared by everyone at Wacoal.
In order to prevent losses in our American operations, various steps were taken such as overhauling the manufacturing bases, procuring materials from abroad, and establishing a second brand. In 1995, Wacoal America finally achieved its first full-year profit. In the years that followed, the Wacoal brand gained increasing recognition not only for our products but for the Japanese-style consulting services at our stores. Customers were also impressed by our silhouette analyzing promotional services which was introduced to choose the right underwear for controlling the bodyline. In 2005, Wacoal had the number-one share in sales at U.S. department stores. After having overcome numerous obstacles, Wacoal America continues to see sales rise steadily.
We have inherited the vision of Wacoal's founder and are continuing to take challenges in the overseas markets. We are strongly devoted to our goal of helping women all over the world become more beautiful.