May 19, 2021 marked the start of yasashii kurashi – a week of sustainable lifestyle events – at the popular JR Nagoya Takashimaya department store in Japan, where, for the first time, three Estonian producers of organic and natural cosmetics are also represented: Luuv, Aesti, and Hoia HomeSpa. During the week, a total of 27 Estonian organic products will enter the Japanese market.
While promotional campaigns have already delivered organic food items such as Roosiku chocolates, Põhjala Teetalu teas, and Honest Nektar honey to Japan for continued sale, this is the first time that natural cosmetics made in Estonia have been offered to consumers in Japan.
The exhibition that has been put together introduces various sustainable and organic lifestyle products from Estonia, and the vision behind them. The presented brands and products include the design brands that participated in the project ehe* estonia, born from nature, the so-called Avinurme baskets previously presented at MUJI retail stores, and – available for purchase for the first time – Kirikergo chairs decorated with the patterns of the national sashes of Estonia, designed by Kerttu Laane.
Krista Kulderknup, CEO of Organic Estonia, an association of Estonian producers of organic goods, explained that this entry to the Japanese market is the result of strategic and long-lasting teamwork, and that the portfolio of Estonian organic products sold in Japan is planned to be gradually increased.
Organic Estonia is a joint marketing platform for businesses with export potential. ‘The task of our team is to help businesses that are entering a new market to overcome any barriers and attain visibility together in a retail chain or online store. The success we have achieved today in the Japanese market confirms that it is easier for Estonian businesses to export and launch their products together than by acting alone,’ Kulderknup stated.
Janne Funk, Organic Estonia’s export advisor for Japan, noted that the organisation’s activities in the target market serve a clearly defined purpose: to consistently achieve greater visibility as a unified front. ‘Our collaborative efforts in connection with food items and natural products in the Japanese market have been going on for several years, and these joint activities, which also shape the image of our country, are particularly important for small- and medium-sized enterprises,’ Funk explained, adding: ‘The feedback that our products have received has been even better than expected. What is valued most in Estonian organic and natural products is their high quality and innovativeness, which is mostly the realm of new small producers. The use of pure, local raw materials in products has also received attention.’
Organic Estonia’s export-related collaboration with the representative of the Japanese market started in 2019 and has now reached the next stage of activity, where, in addition to organic food products, they have begun testing the sale of natural cosmetics.
HOIA Homespa is a natural cosmetics brand operating in Saaremaa, Estonia, whose products are handmade in an environmentally sustainable manner. HOIA products that are now on test sale in Japan include a variety of serums and herbal lotions, which have already received excellent feedback.
LUUV is a family business that was established in 2017 as a vendor of pure, natural skincare products. The LUUV products on offer include Ecocert Cosmos Natural-certified Magnesium Cream and Gloss Balm lip balm, which are 100% vegan, made from vegetables such as beetroots, potatoes, radishes, etc.
AESTI makes effective and user-friendly beauty products from prized Estonian peat. Aesti products selected for the test sale campaign include hair, body, and facial care products.
Good luck to all Estonian producers in Japan!