068: Exporting Quality From Japan w/ David De La Torre

podcast Sep 03, 2020
 

On this episode of the Small Business Japan Podcast David De La Torre talks to us about exporting quality products from Japan. The import and export business is a tricky thing internationally but as he grew his consulting company he slowly grew into the position of being able to eliminate a middle man and self distribute. 

 

After having studied business management, David took those skills to the hospitality sector in all its roots, the last ten years have been dedicated to Japanese projects and he has been on the hunt for the best brews and connecting with people who are into perfecting their craft.  When it became clear to him that the food and beverage industry was part of his destiny, where better to center himself than Japan and its craftmanship? 

Mori1984 is a craft beer that was born out all of David’s experiences within the food and beverage sector and as an experienced home-brewer being intrigued how water truly contributes to the flavor. He discovered a brewery in Niigata, a great place for soft water willing to take his recipes to the next level. Moromi Magazine exists as the future of boosting the Japanese beverage industry. 

 

Exporting Quality From Japan w/ David De Le Torre – Transcribe 

 

Transcript 

Speaker 1 

On this episode of the small business Japan podcast, I'm back chatting with David De La Torre. This is a quick tip from him regarding exporting in Japan, and if you haven't yet subscribed to the newsletter, please hop on over to the website at smallbusinessjapan.com. There you'll get a mini E-book and upcoming info on the revamping of the website and membership and community coming soon. I recently interviewed David De La Torre and we had a lot of interesting conversations surrounding the Japanese food and beverage industry and his role as a international consultant. 

 

Of various drinks and food to restaurants and hotels in different places around the world and I noticed a concept that comes up quite often and he highlighted yet again the fact that. 

We really need to be promoting the quality over quantity that comes out of Japan an. 

One of the best selling things that we have aentrepreneurs  is to be able to focus on the rare or local regional ingredients or items that may appeal to a worldwide market. And I think there's a lot of entrepreneurs out there who, at one point or another, think about stepping in the waters of the importing or the exporting business. Many times simply from the mere fact that we as foreign entrepreneurs, we may come from a different culture an. 

Naturally, we sort of compare and contrast different things that we're seeing daily life in Japan versus what we remember. What we know to be popular and trendy back home. Well, I'm going to highlight a few things that he goes into detail here about his. 

Speaker 1 

Naturally, we sort of compare and contrast different things that we're seeing daily life in Japan versus what we remember. What we know to be popular and trendy back home. Well, I'm going to highlight a few things that he goes into detail here about his Exporting. 

 

What is a mistake or hurdle you had to overcome? 

Speaker 2 

The hardest thing is not knowing how the export market was in Japan from a brand point of view, that meant you have your brewery is your own recipe, but then to take it outside of Japan, you will need a trader. So the trading will be put in a markup without added value. 

Then we landed the first couple of containers in Europe and then we realize God, we're not competitive with struggling to sell it. You know on it, how do we do? Do we push the Micro Brewery you know to compromise on the margin? We compromise on our margins or. 

We actually, you know, get some books about exports. We go and see you know, some public organization that they can give us some guidance. What paperwork do we need? Do we need an export license? Who can come and pick up the track? We can actually do the van in? And how do we do so? We opt, you know, for that that. 

Speaker 2 

Actually took us an additional nine months to maximize, but we could actually cut the trader. We could negotiate the shipping freight. 

And that was a lot of trips to Japan. A lot of going to izakayas, you know, with those people that we wanted to to lick some information to us. How to officially do it? Where are we failing? Where we should be putting the focus you know to cut the cost? That is not necessary. And then when we manage to do all that. 

We realize that we will land in the product in Europe are 30% more cost efficient. It was an attempt sent. It was a 30% more cost efficient.  

Speaker 1 

So the the trader position that you're mentioning. Is this the same as an exporter?  

Yes, OK. I see and. 

Speaker 1 

Those were primarily on the Japanese side. Yes, OK, alright, so do you have um? 

Speaker 1 

People that you work with in Japan like do you have a a sales team or a Rep in Tokyo or in Japan? Or are they sort of just subcontracting? 

We subcontract, although you know there could be a potential that we could actually have our own physical office in Tokyo, which we. 

Speaker 2 

We subcontract, although you know there could be a potential that we could actually have our own physical office in Tokyo, which we. 

Speaker 2 

Came into 2021 so we would like to speed up the process especially. You know for shipping those containers. You know. Time differences keep we've relied a lot on subcontracting freelancers in Japan, which actually most of the work that we do can be done remotely. 'cause we're almost like a trader ourselves. You know, within the traders. 

Speaker 2 

So a lot of things can be subcontracted. The volume is significantly increasing, so there is. There's going to going to be a moment that having a physical person on a physical office, it will make sense for us, right? 

Speaker 1 

Well, that's good. That's good growth. 

Speaker 1 

The whole international exporting market may seem a little overwhelming for some people, but now you're almost an exporter from Japan in a way with your new trading position. Is this one of part of the the package that you're promoting to them? Yes. 

Speaker 2 

On, uh, the good thing is we have a brand called angry knife is not that developed, it's mostly, you know we exporting catering equipment, we and the beginning of the conversation. We will say you know you want to have nice blades. Unfortunately the nice blades or the place that you want the colors are the suit. The shapes are they suit your. 

Speaker 2 

Your desk there in Japan there is one or two importers already in your country, but everybody is using them so you don't stand out. You don't become Instagram friendly, so the good thing is that we have air freight logistics ongoing every week and we have seen freight logistics every week. Most of the times we will surely have one or two pallets. 

Speaker 2 

On our seafreight with Saki or it could be sushi vinegar. You know for an additional customer, so we will actually challenge them and say listen, you know your food costs, you're not gonna pay anything. Why don't we learn the product you know in UK and then we send samples to all the restaurants. 

Angry knife will actually come into it. We've done the front console, then we covered the catering equipment and now what we want them is to know about your product. Soy sauce is. 

Speaker 2 

Possibly one of the easiest things to sell nowadays for diverse reasons. Reason number one. There will be two big main names out there and that's it. And as you know, every days sushi is seeming will have a different profile of soy sauce, cooking soy sauce or you know so. 

Speaker 2 

Possibly one of the easiest things to sell nowadays for diverse reasons. Reason number one. There will be two big main names out there and that's it. And as you know, every days sushi is seeming will have a different profile of soy sauce, cooking soy sauce or you know so. 

You can actually advocate when you educate somebody that somebody can never go back to use those products again. 

Speaker 1 

Yeah. 

Speaker 1 

I just wanted to let everyone know that we are revamping the small business Japan website and are getting ready to launch a membership filled with courses, resources and a like minded community of aspiring and successful Japan related small business owners. An entrepreneurs. If you're thinking of starting your business. 

For growing your business and network, then this is the place for you to stay up to date with the community news. An receive early bird discounts head on over to the website and subscribe to get you started. I also have a free mini ebook with podcast links for you called 18 small business startup tips from some of today's top Japanpreneurs. 

Now back to the show. 

Speaker 1 

I'm wondering some of the people that you're selling to then, are you aiming at more of a higher end restaurant or 'cause? I'm assuming if you're if you're talking about you're carrying more craft products from Japan, you know that. And Japan is definitely known for quality, but often you know that comes with a price tag. 

Speaker 1 

I'm wondering some of the people that you're selling to then, are you aiming at more of a higher end restaurant or 'cause? I'm assuming if you're if you're talking about you're carrying more craft products from Japan, you know that. And Japan is definitely known for quality, but often you know that comes with a price tag. 

Speaker 2 

You are correct and one of the things on my main aim I made motive will be Quality over quantity. I can't stop emphasizing that even to new people coming into the trade quality over quantity. That means people will value your job. People who values quality knows how to assess your product. You are a skills and it will look at you as a set and they will actually say. 

When I call you, I Have fun talking to you. I learn a new thing with you everyday you know, whereas volume it's just there is just a product you know it doesn't talk for itself and nobody will feel the passion to talk. 

About that right right, it's just nothing. 

Speaker 1 

Comes back, yeah, the conversation will end very quick. It just the volume in there which there is a profile. 

Speaker 2 

Of, let's say restaurants or bars that they're looking for that you know, which is perfectly fine. Our main name will always be quality. Name a restaurant, 5 star restaurants. You know we currently doing a five star hotel project. They will be open next year in London. There's going to be T where an. 

Cast iron away from number you know. In Iwadare an there's gonna be you know there they will have a two Michelin star Restaurant is currently being renovated. They will have from Niigata. You know, a whole Damascus steak knife you know made for them with their logo. Those projects I will say it brings you. 

Speaker 2 

Pride or what you do, but the pride comes out of the expressions that you can get from the client. 

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