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Atsuhiro Kushida, Misato:

"Japan: "Our suppliers are like family"

"Japan is a market that prefers stability and consistency," says Atsuhiro Kushida, owner of Misato Flower Trading Company, a Japanese company that imports flowers from Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, South Africa, and Kenya. According to him, stability and consistency is important for businesses as well as customers.

Atsuhiro Kushida and his brother at the IFEX in Japan. They showcased some of their imported flowers.

Stable business relations
Misota Flower Trading Company is a good example of a business that prefers stable relations. "We work with only one quality grower in each county," says Kushida. According to him this enables them to have direct interactions between supplier and importer, which have allowed them to develop successful markets for their respective products. "The exclusivity of this business arrangement is very important as it allows both the supplier and the importer to maintain long-term business. Our suppliers are like family and there is no competition between them. We share information and support each other. Our grower in India for example went to our grower in South Africa to teach him about harvesting, the use of crop protection products and so on," explains Kusida. The imported flowers are sold in Kushida's flower shops in Nagoya. "We have four flower shops over there and what is left goes to the auction," he says.

Locations of the growers of Misato Flower Trading Company.

Stable prices
Besides stable business relationships, imported flowers also ensure stable prices. "The prices of the Japanese growers fluctuate heavily because of the large differences in temperatures per season. In Malaysia for example, where the majority of the chrysanthemums come from, the weather is stable and therefore so are the prices," says Kushida.

Stable customer preferences
When importing the flowers, Kushida has to take into account the preferences of the customers. According to Kushida, the customers also prefer stability and consistency. "Just like us, customers also prefer stable prices and therefore attach a lot of value to a consistent quality of the flower." Besides that, the customers do also have stable preferences regarding the type of flowers. "In Europe, for example, people like all new phaleanopsis varieties. In Japan, this is not the case; the white one remains the most demanded one." According to Kushida, the demand for new varieties is low. "If we import chrysanthemums for example, only 10 percent of the volume will be a new chrysanthemum variety," he says.

One of their flower shops in Nagoya. Japan.

Imports will increase
In the future, Kushida will increase its imports. "You already see it at the auction, 75% of the flowers come from the domestic market and 25% is imported. In the future, the percentage of imported flowers will only increase as the domestic production will decrease. Therefore we are looking to find and build new and stable relationships."

For more information
Misato Flower Trading Company
Atsuhiro Kushida
Email: [email protected]