Essential Explorations at MUJI
Launched as a private brand in 1980 to counter the increasingly brand-conscious consumer in Japan, MUJI offered beautifully designed, fairly priced, no-frills quality goods. The once modest private label brand with 40 products had expanded significantly by 2019 to more than 7,000 products with more than half its 975 stores outside its home market in Japan. It had even expanded into the service industry, opening hotels. President Matsuzaki of Ryohin Keikaku, MUJI's operating company, was charged with reorganizing the product portfolio and prioritizing new initiatives, tasks complicated by the absence of a clear definition of "MUJI-ness," the meaning of which had always been intentionally left open.