Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quality Over Cheap Labor

Didn't I read somewhere that Sanrio was looking for a cheaper manufacturer like in China? My first initial reaction was my concern for the products that I would buy from Sanrio. To me, products from China tend to be cheaply made and not worth much your value of a dollar. Even if I hear that things are improving in China, my main concern are the quality of the design and material coming from Sanrio. There are times I have visited Sanrio boutique stores and thought to myself that some of their products look cheaply made.

In recent years, more and more of the plushes look to have the appearance of a cheap product. They look like they have been sewn up by an amateur. It didn't help that the plushes appeared to be made with cheap material. But not all plushes that were manufactured in China looked cheaply made and usually, I would assume these plushes were made in Japan. 

Last year in February, I bought a huge Hello Kitty die cut face pillow, but with closer inspection, I found that if I was not careful that I could end up tearing the material of the pillow. I was dismayed over this fact over the next couple days because I assumed that I was getting the value of what I paid for this expensive Sanrio product. 

Maybe before I buy another plush or pillow from Sanrio, I should inspect the manufacturer tag. "Should I risk it?" would be my first thought when handling a Sanrio item. The more I think about it-- this shouldn't be my deciding factor in whether or not to buy the product from Sanrio. Shouldn't Sanrio care about their reputation to be selling quality stuff rather than mass produced cheap products? They should if they want to gain millions of new fans around the world. Nothing comes out of it doing things half-way. You have to take the long road to success without taking any short cuts. Isn't their goal to be known worldwide?

You can read the entire article here or continue reading below.

Sanrio up a tree after Hello Kitty items found to be made in China

By TOSHIHIRO OKUYAMA/ Senior Staff Writer

Sanrio Co. has been clawed by some of its Hello Kitty items on sale at the company's flagship store in Tokyo that were prominently displayed as being domestically manufactured, but were made in China.
Sanrio, the official home of the beloved cartoon cat, is checking the products at its outlets in Japan to ensure that their country of manufacture is being properly designated.
The company was forced to take the action after a Chinese student and her classmates in a master's program in journalism at Waseda University and an Asahi Shimbun reporter pointed out the discrepancies to shop managers earlier this month.
The shop, Sanrio World Ginza, debuted in the capital’s Ginza district in 2009 as the company’s largest flagship shop in the world. It sells about 10,000 items varying from accessories to clothes to stationary.
The students visited the shop between November and this month as part of their investigative reporting classes.
They noticed signs that were put up at several shelves with an illustration of Hello Kitty atop Mount Fuji, which said in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese that the products under this sign were made in Japan.
But the students discovered that despite the sign, some products had an attached tag that said in English that they were “Made in China,” including tote bags and folding umbrellas featuring Hello Kitty. Some products had a price seal that was attached in a manner that gave the impression that shop officials wanted to hide the made-in-China tag.
The law against unjustifiable premiums and misleading representations prohibits displaying products in a way that could mislead shoppers about the country of origin.
An official with the Consumer Affairs Agency said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun that the discrepancy between the sign and the products’ tags is problematic.
“Some people may buy items after seeing the sign at the shelves without checking the tags,” the official said. “Whether the act constitutes a violation of the law depends on the individual case.”
Last August, Sanrio delivered its outlets signs and points of purchase advertising that said that the items are Japanese made to coincide with the launch of its “Made in Japan series.”
Products made in Japan are particularly popular with foreign tourists, who visit the Ginza shop in high numbers. Chinese tourists tend to shun items made in their home country and opt for those made in Japan.
Manager of the shop said the mistake was not intentional, and that it was the result of a misunderstanding by a sales clerk handling the display. Company officials say that the Chinese products were inadvertently mixed with the Japanese ones on shelves with the sign at the Ginza outlet.
An official with Sanrio’s publicity section said the company ordered immediate corrective action.
“We reviewed the display that may cause a misunderstanding,” the official said. “We also gave instructions about the display at other outlets.”
The company, based in Tokyo, is investigating its 220 shops in Japan for possible errant and misleading displays.

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