Reflection of study: MUJI – The minimalism of Asian

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(MUJI Horizon,2003)

MUJI, one of the successful commodity retailer in UK. Comparing with other similar company like IKEA, Oliver Bonas …and etc. Why MUJI can maintain its style and do not adjust its products for Britain and still keep its popularity? Just because of the curiosity of Asian culture or aesthetic ? Later this article is going to discuss about MUJI’s minimal spirit and using the knowledge of the lean canvas and value proposition canvas to explain why MUJI gets such a success in UK.

The leader of minimal lifestyle in Asia : Japan

(Different countries’ minimal lifestyle)

Comparing western countries’ minimal design in public’s lifestyle, the unique factor of  Japanese minimal lifestyle is that it is combined “Zen” spirit. they care more about the peace in their mind and back to nature. As the photos we can see that their furnitures are usually wooden , use warm light and cold colour to decorate their home , those materials are usually thought can make people calm down.

Design is not the act of amazing an audience with the novelty of forms or materials; it is the originality that repeatedly extracts astounding ideas from the crevices of the very commonness of everyday life. – Kenya Hara (Art director of MUJI)

 

MUJI gets the core spirit of Japanese minimalism and keeps continuing to ask themselves what’s the problem we face in the daily life but we choose to ignore it?

However, the lifestyle between Asian and UK is quite different, how do they overcome the cultural difficulty and get a great success in the market? In order to figure out this question, I decide to use ” lean canvas” and “value proposition canvas” to help me understand it.

The lean canvas

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The canvas can help us to understand that its corporate strategies. Then, according to the canvas, we could realise that British are not just attracted by Asian aesthetic, the most attracting point is that MUJI focus on what people really need everyday and make their product as simple as possible. Of course, those products also keep their high quality. Moreover, even MUJI has lots of competitors in UK but they just locate in urban area because urbanites are more willing to accept new brand.

The value proposition canvas

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When I checked their UK official website, I found that its “aroma diffuser” is their top selling product and I felt surprised because as my observation in Taiwan, many students go there for stationary and adults go for clothes.

According to the value proposition canvas, it can help us understand customer’s behaviour and I also collected some reviews from Amazon. Therefore, I understand that UK people care more about the quality , safety use and multi-use.

In conclusion, reducing the solving process and understand what people really need is the main factor that make MUJI successful in UK. Maybe some people think MUJI’s spirit is “less is more” , however, to me , its spirit is ” less is less”. It not only make product as simple as possible but also let people realise that we always make everything too complicated, reduce what we need and we will get more happiness. This idea is what I need to think about for Dragon Den…

Creativity is to discover a question that has never been asked. – Kenya Hara (Art director of MUJI)

References

“Minimal Living Room”  majorleaguebeginnings.com

“In pictures: Less is more, minimalism in Japan”(2016), bbc.com

 

“MUJI corporate advertising” ndc.co.jp

 

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