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Member Introduction: Babybjörn - Putting a New Bounce into Child-raising
NEWS | Features

Member Introduction: Babybjörn - Putting a New Bounce into Child-raising

22 March 2019 | Written by administrator


When Babybjörn first laid their eyes on Japan around 30 years ago, child-raising was still very much a one-sided responsibility. But, since then, as more progressive and more gender-equal ideas have permeated across the country, people's attitudes toward child-raising have gradually transformed. As a leading provider of baby products, Babybjörn has played an important part in making this change happen. SCCJ visited Babybjörn K.K. Representative Director Makoto Fukai to learn how the company intends on nurturing the industry's future henceforth.


Babybjörn is a family owned company headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.The company was founded by Björn and Lillemor Jakobson in 1961. Babybjörn currently has offices in 50 countries around the world. Their mission is to develop good, functional, and safe products for babies and children up to the age of three. Today, the company has a diverse product portfolio - ranging from baby carriers to baby bibs.


Mr. Fukai has been the head of Babybjörn K.K. since its estabilishment in March 2011. Their office is conveniently located within a stone's throw away from Tokyo station's Marunouchi frontage.


According to Mr. Fukai, Japan is one of Babybjörn's most important markets.


"Japan accounts for around 20% of the company's gross revenue worldwide, making it the second biggest market after the United States".


Although Babybjörn K.K. as a company has operated in Japan for less than 10 years, their products began selling at various retailers across Japan from 1990.


"We first became known as the distributor of plastic baby bib's or Sutai. These didn't exist in Japan until we entered the market. Before that, there were only cotton baby bibs" explained Mr. Fukai.

In fact, it was Babybjörn that made the word Sutai - which is synonymous with the Japanese word for baby bib - a household name. "Many people don't even use the traditional Japanese word Yodarekake anymore. They just say Stai now" added Mr. Fukai.


Today, the company sells around 170,000 of their baby bibs on an annual basis. This is a significant number, considering the number of new-born babies in Japan currently stands at 920,000 per year.


Babybjörn K.K.'s next hit product was their baby bouncer. Mr. Fukai explained that this was initially marketed as "A new product. A well-designed product. A product from Sweden. Something that wasn't available in Japan up until that point".

But after it gained its foothold and became a recognizable brand, Mr. Fukai and his team changed their tune and began marketing their baby bouncer's as an experienced-centered life-style product.


"By adopting the Swedish way of child-raising, you can make the entire experience for both the parent and the baby more enriching. Eventually, that was how we marketed this product" explained Mr. Fukai.


This approach of theirs seems to have hit the right chord. Today, in terms of market share, the company holds the number one position for this product category in Japan. It also accounts for around 40% of Babybjörn K.K.'s total revenue. 


As Japan grew and became one of their most prominent markets, the company started making localized products that better suited the needs of Japanese customers. Mr. Fukai gave one of Babybjörn K.K.'s signature products - the mesh-type baby carrier - as an example of a successfully localized hit product. This product, which today accounts for around 50% of Babybjörn K.K's total revenue, first saw the day of light in Japan, but eventually became popular in Babybjörn's other markets, too. "It's a good product for a humid country like Japan and other Asian countries. The fact that it's mesh-type is the reason why it's so popular. Also, many people see it as a high-spec product. It has an appealing design. Not just for mothers, but for fathers too. I think this product is one of the main reasons why Japanese fathers like our company's products. Many Japanese fathers think our products are both stylish and cool" explained Mr. Fukai.

Although the decline in birth rate is an ever-present issue in Japan, when asked about Babybjörn K.K.'s future business strategies, Mr. Fukai seemed unshaken.


"Our customer's needs have diversified over time. The demand for our company's baby products ertainly exists. Many parents don't want to simply buy any old baby product. They want to buy baby products that will further enrich their relationship or 'bonding' with their child. They want to use baby products that will benefit their child's future, too. We value such needs. Our products reflect such needs. That's why we place a lot of emphasis on quality. We have a very craftsman-like approach to product development. We do our best to communicate our product's benefits to our customers."


We would like to extend a warm welcome to Babybjörn K.K. as a new member of SCCJ. You can find out more about Babybjörn K.K. at: