Tadashi Yanai Democratising Fashion
SME Magazine Singapore|October 2020
2020 has been a rough year for businesses around the world. While some have managed to eke by through adaptation and innovation, others have suffered great losses. E-commerce and delivery services are without a doubt the biggest winners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With health and safety being a major priority for consumers now, the success of these industries come as no real surprise. Physical retail on the other hand has been hit particularly hard. Only the travel and tourism industry can be said to have suffered greater losses. With the virality of COVID-19, governments around the world were quick to implement lockdowns and restrictions on public movement. As such, physical retail stores saw foot-traffic dwindle.
Jordan Low

Even as the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, physical retail has been forced to take up new health and safety measures in order to ensure that the customers remain safe and secure. As such, the recovery of physical retail remains stunted, even with all the effort they put into ensuring the consumers’ best interests.

Despite this, there are certain retail businesses who have managed to efficiently handle the pandemic situation and adapt accordingly. Through the strength of their brand, their willingness to adapt to new channels, and the trust build between their customers over the years, these retailers serve as inspirations.

Once such retailer comes in the form of Uniqlo, the world renown Japanese manufacturer and retailer of casual wear; as well as its parent company, Fast Retailing Co. With the leadership of its founder, Tadashi Yanai, heading the company, Uniqlo has not only survived the COVID-19 pandemic, it has thrived.

In this edition of SME, we will take a look at Yanai’s long and storied career and how he brought his company to the world stage.

WHAT MAKES AN ENTREPRENEUR

If one were to ask ‘what are the most important qualities of a successful business entrepreneur?’, the answer would be hard work and perseverance. Tadashi Yanai is an exemplary embodiment of these values; which is befitting of one of the wealthiest businessmen in Japan.

He is the present CEO of Fast Retailing Co, owner of the Uniqlo clothing brand loved by the Japanese and the world alike. His clout and business sense has even allowed him to become an external director and consultant in major companies like Softbank Corp and Nippon Venture Capital Co LTD.

Born on 7th February 1949, Yanai was passionate about pursuing business from the initial years. He graduated from the Waseda University in Tokyo in the year 1971 in political science. One could say that Yanai was born at the right time as he would be able to pursue his passion for business during a time of great economic success for Japan.

MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF

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