Trend in Japan Web Japan
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Japanese Brand Sets Its Sights on New York (December 22, 2005)

Bags adorned with fur
The designer label Samantha Thavasa sounds American or European, but it was actually born in Japan, where young women who cannot resist the brand's handbags have carried it to success. The bags' cute colors and designs, high quality, luxurious look and feel, affordable prices, and - last but not least - endorsements by foreign celebrities have combined to spark a boom in sales of Samantha Thavasa purses. The label also encompasses a jewelry brand, Samantha Tiara, which is doing well too. With Samantha Thavasa bags and Samantha Tiara jewelry poised to arrive in New York in spring 2006, this Japanese label may soon be taking the world by storm.

An Accessible Celebrity Brand
College girls and working women in their twenties are among Samantha Thavasa's most loyal customers. The trademark bright colors (mainly pink and white), rhinestone embellishments, and heart and ribbon motifs give the bags an unmistakable presence. The distinctive brand logo and curved wooden handles make it easy to spot a Samantha Thavasa bag at a glance.

A bright pink bag

Samantha Thavasa has hit upon the highly effective marketing concept of encouraging women to change their purses every day to suit their mood, just as they change their outfits. Many of the label's devotees are happy to adhere to this concept by owning multiple Samantha Thavasa bags. A style-conscious woman likes to be able to step out of the house feeling confident that none of her friends, classmates, or coworkers will be carrying the same handbag as she is, and Samantha Thavasa helps women to minimize this risk by unveiling over 200 new bags each season in an array of materials, colors, and designs. Another attractive feature of the brand is fine Japanese craftsmanship; all of the materials are produced in Japan.

Celebrity Designers and Models
Another successful strategy employed by Samantha Thavasa is the recruitment of foreign celebrities as promotional models and bag designers. The brand's star-studded roster includes the Hilton sisters, Beyonce Knowles, Victoria Beckham, and tennis idol Maria Sharapova. This fall and winter, actress Penelope Cruz and her sister Monica Cruz joined the list.

A summer bag

Meanwhile, the jewelry brand, Samantha Tiara, generated a buzz in Japan by using popular Korean actor Lee Byung-hun as a promotional model and designer. Belying its celebrity following, Samantha Tiara items retail for around ¥20,000 to ¥50,000 (about $167 to $417 at ¥120 to the dollar). These prices, which are within reach of many young women willing to scrimp and save a little, are a major selling point. Rhinestone-studded hearts and initial pendants are among the most popular items.

Coming Soon to New York
The Samantha Thavasa label was created by Samantha Thavasa Japan Ltd. The first Samantha Thavasa boutique opened in March 1994 in Tokyo's trendy Shibuya district. The brand was subsequently featured in a number of fashion magazines targeting women in their early twenties, and its popularity exploded. The designers and the sales clerks are a major asset to the brand, because they are all young women with first-hand knowledge of what the customer wants. And what the customer wants, in both handbags and jewelry, is cute.

In the past five years, Samantha Thavasa Japan Ltd. has seen its sales quadruple to ¥11.2 billion (about $933 million). The company now has about 100 stores in Japan, and in the spring of 2006 it plans to set up its first overseas outlet in New York, a global fashion hub. Considering the reception the brand has enjoyed in Japan, it will be no surprise if Samantha Thavasa bags soon become a familiar sight on the streets of the Big Apple.

 Page Top

Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

Related articles
(November 9, 2005)
Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackFashion Home