GIFU, JAPAN – Hayakawa Seni Kougyo is a manufacturing firm located in Gifu, Japan. The city of Gifu is famous for traditional Japanese paper products, including traditional umbrellas and paper lanterns, as well as for its apparel industry, which originated with shops selling old military clothes after World War II. Hayakawa Seni Kougyo manufactures fiber products for apparel and has recently founded a new business that responds to the needs of the times.
"About 40 years ago, our founder established our manufacturing business, which produces liners, adhesive interlinings, collar stays and other items for apparel companies," said Mr. Masato Hayakawa, President of Hayakawa Seni Kougyo. "However, in recent years the business competition from China has increased and our sales have slowed down. When I became the president of this company, I seriously considered its future business strategy. I concluded that we should start a new business that would not compete with China: the manufacturing and sales of original goods. Over the past four years, through trial and error we have established a robust business creating T-shirts, banners, key chains and various other goods." Mr. Hayakawa noted that the company has had great results over this period. "We started this venture with only two or three staff members, but our sales increased strongly. Now, 50% of our sales come from this new business."
Most of their clients are businesses seeking to advertise, requesting decals to apply on taxis or motorcycle messengers. Orders from individuals, smaller enterprises and private clubs have also increased. In addition to an online store, the company has a storefront in downtown Gifu where many of the city's high schools are located. They receive a significant number of orders from these schools for items such as banners, T-shirts for school clubs, etc.
Mr. Hayakawa purchased a Roland XC-540MT as soon as it was released in fall 2009 because of an increase in his company's decal orders and a need to replace their existing printer. "We wanted to install a print and cut machine to increase work efficiency," said Mr. Hayakawa. "I visited the showrooms of many printer manufacturers to examine a variety of printers, including UV printers. When I visited the Roland DG Creative Center, I heard that the world's first inkjet printer with metallic silver ink would be released soon. I was attracted to the idea of owning the first machine with this new inkjet technology because if we were the first ones to install it, we would have no competitors at that time! So I decided to purchase it immediately."
"The XC-540MT works very well. When we installed the XC-540MT, we also started advertising our decals on our website. Since then, we have received many orders from all over Japan. Having the ability to print white and metallic silver ink expands the range of
our manufacturing products. It also contributes to the sales of additional high-value products, such as decals on transparent film for snowboards, cars, and other vehicles," said Mr. Hayakawa.
"It is a big advantage to be able to print metallic colors on a single sheet of media on demand. Actually, there are many ways to print with metallic colors, such as silk printing or offset printing, but these methods generally require larger production runs and special media.
"If we exercise our ingenuity and create designs that incorporate metallic colors and textures, we can deliver more value-added items with metallic colors that CMYK inks alone cannot match. We want to design attractive new items such as T-shirts and decals using textured pattern printing, as well as gradations and other creative effects," said Mr. Hayakawa.