What Is ZOZO?
This company was founded in 1998 by Japanese billionaire, entrepreneur, and art collector Yusaku Maezawa. It was originally a business that sold imported CDs and records. A startup at the time, the company launched the online shopping website “ZOZOTOWN” six years later, which features brands from across the globe. ZOZOTOWN has become one of Japan’s leading fashion retail websites, while the business has also developed impressive technology like a 3D measurement mat and a 3D body-measuring suit.
Money and Investors
Since its launch over 20 years ago, the fashion business has raised upward of ¥1.1 billion ($10.5 million) from seven different investors, according to Crunchbase. The company had a seed fundraising round for its business in February 2006, during which five investors chipped in the equivalent of roughly $160,000.
The company then reported a significantly more lucrative funding round the next year, raising the equivalent of $10.47 million in a venture round. Investors include a mix of individual investors and Japanese firms, including Okura Minekki, Takanobu Muto, Watanabe Shun, Yamada Jun, Tokio Marine Investment Services, and ITOCHU Corporation.
Building Off a Big Audience
The business already has a big audience, which it is hoping to convert to its new beauty and cosmetics site ZOZOCOSME. In a press release, the company said that roughly 70% of its active members are female and spend an average of $417 each per year. Also, considering the high purchase rate among Generation Z and Millenials, the company is confident it can convert its existing customers into patrons of its new venture.
ZOZO is hoping to cater to the inconvenience of the coronavirus pandemic, which has prevented people from going to stores in the same way they did before. Along with its plans for a cosmetics and beauty website, the company is expanding its business with ZOZOGLASS, a device that — following the same playbook as this company has utilized for prior devices — will help solve the remote shopping problem by matching people’s skin for makeup from the comfort of their home.
This business is planning expansion at an opportune time: the pandemic has expedited the trend away from brick-and-mortar stores and welcomed the advent of new technologies to make remote life easier. Furthermore, ZOZO has such a strong reputation and large audience that its expansion into new sectors should come relatively easily.
About the Author
Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.