My first decade as a manager had been incredibly rewarding in both corporate and personal spheres. The Stacy Ames launch—along with a host of smaller projects tied to the Bobbie Brooks fashion house—not only changed how Takihyo did business but also revolutionized women’s fashion in Japan. Never before had a large company taken such a leap of faith into an unknown territory with such positive results. There’s a saying in Japan: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” In other words, it’s better to stay with what’s been done in the past, and don’t try anything new. However, our experience with the Stacy Ames brand disputed this axiom; the brand’s newness stuck out and in the process brought legitimacy to manufacturing and wholesaling Western-style women’s wear in Japan.
Of course, fashion had been changing all over Japan. The climate had been ripe for such a transformation, but no one, including me, foresaw the strength of demand for Western-style women’s wear. Takihyo’s initiatives led to dresses flying off the racks in weeks.
In addition to offering Western-style clothing in Japan, completing the Marunouchi Building—Nagoya’s first high-rise—under budget and ahead of schedule with the Takenaka Construction Company was a major accomplishment. There were high-rises in Japan, of course, but none in Nagoya. The other construction companies building high-rises in Japan were based out of the three major cities—Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto. I viewed the Marunouchi ...