BALLYMENA KNITWEAR SETS FASHION TREND IN JAPAN

Oct 01, 2004

Stylish knitted gloves from a Ballymena company are becoming an increasingly popular fashion accessory in Japan.



During the past four years, Capemist Gloves, an Invest Northern Ireland client company, has seen its business in Japan grow to provide over 15 per cent of turnover and is now aiming to achieve similar growth in South Korea.

The clothing company, which is based at Cullybackey and employs 25 people, also supplies knitwear branded by Paul Smith one of the UK’s top fashion designers for sale in Japan.

Mervyn Blackburn, Capemist’s Managing Director, recently took part in an Invest NI trade mission to both markets and returned with a batch of new orders from major stores and trading houses like Kanematsu Corporation and Nakazu Trading in Tokyo and the Ho Corporation in Seoul.

“Our success in Japan is the result of an investment in design and dedicated marketing that included participation in Invest NI trade missions to Japan and other parts of the Far East, as well as attending sectoral exhibitions,” Mr Blackburn said.

“The Japanese are also especially keen on Western fashions which they see as being high quality and stylish. They are attracted to our gloves because of the designs and the finest quality wool and thermal yarns used in their manufacture,” he added.

Capemist’s distinctive designs are produced in-house by two designers. As well as dealing directly with key Japanese customers, the company uses agents in Britain, including the Creative Fashion Network, Japan Strategies, Abbeycairn and Creagaran to develop its business in the Far East.

Commenting on Capemist’s export success, Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development Services, said: “This company is a good example of how a small business in a traditional sector can achieve growth through investing in design and branding, and by focusing on niche export markets; the type of activities that the Kurt Salmon Action Plan recommended should be undertaken by local textiles and clothing companies to ensure growth.

“Capemist has used our trade programme to develop successfully its marketing capability. By taking part regularly in market visits to the Far East, this company has identified business opportunities, made important contacts and is building close relationships with agents and customers.”

“The achievements of a local company in a very difficult global business environment is extremely encouraging. Exports won in Asia are significant because these are exceptionally competitive markets”, she added.

Capemist Gloves is a family-run business that was established in 1983. It also manufactures hats and other knitted accessories.

Share this Article

Sign up for News

 Enter Code

Latest Features

Innovation and offering real customer benefits key to success in Canadian market
Michael Barton, Regional Manager Canada
Jan 17, 2018
Why the Chinese market is ripe for exploration
Jennifer Liu, Regional Manager Hong Kong, Macau & South China
Jan 11, 2018
Deal done on phase one of the UK’s departure from the EU
David Roberts, Invest NI Economist
Dec 12, 2017
Why you should be investing in innovation
Dr Vicky Kell, Director of Innovation, Research & Development
Nov 22, 2017
Opportunities in South East Asia - an overview
Nick Caldwell, Regional Manager Singapore
Nov 21, 2017