International -- Readers Report
MAIL-ORDER DOESN'T HAVE TO MEAN LONG-DISTANCE (int'l edition)
In response to "Japan is dialing 1 800 BUYAMERICA" (Marketing, June 12): This company has been making a determined effort ever since 1989 to establish a strong, stable, local business in Japan. Our philosophy is not to make a quick buck but rather to hire locally and build a business that will be able to survive exchange-rate swings, trade wars, and even the vagaries of fashion. Patagonia sells its merchandise through three stores in Japan, a Japanese-language catalog, and a network of approximately 85 specialty outdoor stores throughout the country.
The knowledge we gain from a local presence--from quality and service expectations to direct input of color and design ideas--is tremendously important to us in a global economy.
As the former director of Patagonia Japan, I have been encouraged by the recent success of American companies operating in the Japanese market. More American corporations must cut through the hype, choose their opportunity, and go for it.
Edward M. Schmults