A 100 years old Japanese manufacturer of traditional “tenugui” towels seeks distributors and sales agents in the EU

OFFER from Japan, reference: BOJP20170213001, valid from 14-02-2017 untill 09-03-2019

  • Start date:
    14 februari 2017
  • End date:
    9 maart 2019
  • Summary:
    A Japanese company dealing with traditional “tenugui” hand towels is searching distributors and sales agents in the European Union.

    Dyed with classical patterns with the use of a traditional Japanese technique, the tenugui towels provide better quality in terms of absorbency and softness compared to normal towels.

    Following the success of tenugui with foreign tourists in Japan, the company aims to find partners to develop its activities and achieve a agency / distribution agreement.
  • Description:
    A Japanese traditional manufacturer dealing with “tenugui” towels is looking for distributors and sales agents in the European Union.

    The Japanese tenugui has a very long history: it has been used for around 600 years. In the Edo Period under the reign of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867), Kabuki theatrical actors, who were showbiz stars in those days, added traditional Japanese patterns to their costumes. This triggered the rapid spread among the common people of the tenugui hand towels and yukatas (casual kimono-like garments worn in summer) dyed with the patterns used by popular Kabuki actors.

    Ever since its establishment more than a century ago, the company has been dealing in tenugui.

    On this occasion, it hopes to introduce tenugui with the motifs of traditional Japanese patterns to the European market. These patterns have traditionally been used in the hope of maintaining good health and obtaining protection from bad luck.

    In Japan, tenugui are very popular as souvenir items that attract the attention of overseas tourists. It is believed that they appreciate the exquisite Japanese-style colouring and the unique image of Japan created by the patterns. Ready-made tenugui are perfect souvenir items also because they are reasonably priced.

    Given this background, the company thought that tenugui could also be a hit in EU markets and would provide them with new business opportunities. To achieve this aim, the company is looking for distributors and sales agents with whom to initiate partnerships under the form of a commercial or distribution agreement.

    They currently sell the products to overseas customers through their online shop, but they aim to cultivate new sales channels in cooperation with potential partners.

    In the future, they are planning to produce hand towels with the motifs of Japanese feudal warlords, Japanese castles, ninja warriors, Japanese swords and others that may attract European users, especially Japan aficionados.

    They are also thinking of using printing technologies for tenugui products, without being confined to the Japanese traditional dyeing techniques called “chosen”. Given that the unit price of printed tenugui products will be lower, they expect to receive orders in units of several hundred pieces.

    Their array of products for Europe includes not only chusen-dyed tenuguis but also full-colour tenuguis and decorative one that can be used for interior decorating.
Partner Sought
  • Type of Partnership Considered:
    Distribution services agreement, Commercial agency agreement
  • Technical Specification or Expertise Sought:

    Type of partner sought is a distributor or agent.

    The company expects to partner companies:
    - to understand the advantages of Japanese tenugui towels.
    - to engage in sales activities for opening new markets.
    - preferably, to have existing business channels with retailers.

    SME 11-50,SME <10,251-500,SME 51-250

  • Development stage:
  • IPR Status:
  • Market keywords:
    Health and beauty aids
    Textiles (synthetic and natural)
  • Technology keywords:
  • NACE keywords:
    Manufacture of other textiles n.e.c.
  • Advantages and Innovations:
    They expect their prospective partners to already have business channels with gift stores and equivalent businesses.
    Also, the partners should be capable of advertising and promoting the advantages of tenugui towels to Europeans who are interested in Japanese culture.
    The greatest difference between the Japanese tenugui and the handkerchief lies in the bleaching process.

    For the standard handkerchief, the fabric is prepared by bleaching naturally coloured cotton for about three hours while applying tension, until it turns pure white. This process creates a uniform surface, but the cotton fluff is lost in the ironing process and due to the tension. As a result, an unused handkerchief has poor water absorption ability. Meanwhile, the fabric for the tenugui is slowly bleached for at least 20 hours to prevent the loss of the fluff and the soft feel unique to cotton. It differs significantly from a regular handkerchief providing better quality in terms of absorbency and softness.

    Tenugui are dyed with classical patterns with the use of an original Japanese technique called “chusen”
    Unlike screen-printing, the chusen technique is unique to Japan, and characterized by the fact that dye is poured from above onto the fabric. This method allows the dye to reach the surface on the other side and consequently dyes the fabric with no difference between the front- and backsides.

    Instead of azo dyes and other chemical dyes, the company utilizes sulphur dyes that produce colours when they come into contact with oxygen, and reactive dyes for stunning colour expressions.

    Produced using the Japanese-style bleaching process, tenugui towels have such a soft feel that they are also used for babies’ clothing in Japan. In addition, they become even softer as they are repeatedly used.

    Another advantage lies in the fact that they absorb sweat and then dry rapidly therefore they can be placed under a motorcycle helmet or worn on the head like a bandana.
  • Type and Size of Organisation:
    Industry SME <= 10
  • Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation
  • Year Established:
  • Turnover:
  • Country of origin:
  • Languages spoken
    • English