But were you ever curious on the history of UNIQLO? Who is the mastermind behind our minimalistic day to day outfits? If we told you that the brand name was a mistake, would you believe it?
UNIQLO was founded way back in 1949 in Ube, Yamaguchi and instead of a casual wear retailer, it was a men’s tailoring business, Ogori Shoji. However, when the business was inherited by the owner’s son and current UNIQLO founder, Tadashi Yanai, he wanted to diversify the range of their product into casual wear. That’s when it was rebranded to Unique Clothing Warehouse with the first store launched in Hiroshima.
They started expanding their empire globally. However, when they registered for their office in Hong Kong in 1988, a staff made a mistake. The brand was initially a combination of the two words of “unique” and “clothing”, UNICLO.
But because the staff misread the alphabet C as Q during the registration, it went ahead with UNIQLO instead of UNICLO. Yanai too, thought Q was cooler, “Rather than being angry, I was pleased but shocked. We thought this was cool, so it became Q.”
Despite the mistake made, the casual clothing retailer thrives prosperously until today. Up to this date, UNIQLO has more than a thousand stores in 25 different countries across the globe. Even just in its own home country alone – the land of the rising sun, Japan – UNIQLO has 800 outlets altogether.
The empire of UNIQLO has made the founder, Tadashi Yanai, who is also the CEO of the retail group Fast Retailing, the richest man in Japan with an estimated net worth of USD30.7 billion (~RM128.6 billion) according to Forbes. Grateful for the mistake that prospered his business, Tadashi Yanai stated in an interview with CNA Insider, “I think it was a good idea, and I’m glad.”
Has a mistake ever become a silver lining for you before like it did to Tadashi Yanai?