Case study for the introduction of "UJF-6042MkII e" by DAIDOHBAGS was featured in the printing industry magazine "The Pritec Next Stage, Extra Issue, Digital Printing Business Book, Fall 2022."
The following is the published article in its original form.
Launching the "AnNon." brand to market original bags -
Direct printing on leather material with Mimaki printer
Leather bag manufacturer, DAIDOHBAGS intends to utilize flatbed UV-LED inkjet printer "UJF-6042MkII e" from Mimaki Engineering to launch marketing of its own brand products.
The company started out in 1959 as a handbag manufacturer based in Taito-ku, Tokyo. Domestic handbag production is basically a cottage industry with a division of labor among specialists. The company outsourced the manufacture of handbags to artisans since its inception, but eventually proceeded to open company-owned factories abroad. The first factory was opened in China in 2006, then in Bangladesh in 2013, beginning integrated production of handbags from the procurement of leather materials to the final product. In 2015, the company relocated to its current site in Misato City, Saitama Prefecture, to begin domestic production.
"We’ve shifted entirely to domestic production and now manufacturing 60% of our products in-house. It is rare for companies like us to be able to provide for everything from purchasing to the end products within the factory. We are no longer in an era where mundane products sell in vast quantities. We have to respond to the trend toward small-lot production," says Naoki Matsunami, president of DAIDOHBAGS. The company mainly supplies OEM and ODM products to high brands, and is capable of handling orders for small lots through integrated production.
DAIDOHBAGS previously maintained its proprietary brand and was also involved in handbag wholesale, but eventually gave up the idea as the number of handbag specialty stores carrying products from various brands decreased. Clientele for the wholesale of Daidoh-branded handbags did not grow as planned. Under the circumstance, the company specialized in manufacturing and designing on consignment for the past 15 years, devoting to manufacturing behind the scenes for established brand owners. However, the ambitions of president Matsunami to one day own his proprietary brand is still very alive and well, just waiting for the next opportunity.
Around autumn last year, President Matsunami began rekindling his plan to market his own branded products, selling the handbags on the Internet. Upon witnessing a Mimaki Engineering UV inkjet printer introduced by a business partner, he saw the potential for producing original design prints in small lots.
Normally, when printed material is required for handbags manufactured by DAIDOHBAGS, the company outsources the printing process for the procured leather material to a silk-screen printing company. The premise for silk screen printing is mass production, making small-lot production impractical, and some patterns, such as gradations, are difficult to produce with silk screen printing. UV inkjet printers are unaffected by such limitations, and the risk of holding inventory is extremely low. It takes several weeks for outsourced printing to be completed, while products will be completed and ready within three days with in-house production.
"We first tried to outsource the printwork to a business partner equipped with a UV inkjet printer, and they quoted us 5,000 yen per piece. If I had my own printer, I could reduce costs even considering the ink, time, and depreciation. So, I decided to purchase one." This May, the company was approved for a public subsidy, and there was a prospect of introducing the system under good conditions.
Fixation to almost all materials handled
Prismatic Expressions, with White and Clear Ink
DAIDOHBAGS got their brand "AnNon." aloft. The name is derived from the Japanese word "An-Non (安穏: peace and tranquility)," and is intended to bring peace of mind and restfulness = peace. It also carries the metaphor for "an = is" and "non = is not". From here, the question "Are there items that naturally make you smile? Or not?" is presented, and the message leads to the suggestion: "Try to have your favorite item by your side."
By the end of this year, the company is planning to launch a website for selling proprietary branded bags at prices ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 yen.
"We are now going through a series of test prints on various leather materials. We didn’t have problems with ink fixation on most of the materials we handle. The ink will not crack when the material is bent, and the coating shows no streaks characteristic of inkjet printing. The ink fixes on uneven materials, and the dense white ink allows white designs to be applied to dark-colored materials. In case of leather handbags using two-toned designs, the different colored materials need to be sewn together. But with 'UJF-6042MkII e' we can forget the sewing process."
Ink composition of the printer is CMYK + white + white + clear + primer. Clear ink is intended for use as glazing. UV light irradiation using LEDs as the light source prevents the expansion/contraction even when processing heat-sensitive enamel materials. Fabric printing is also under test, enabling a wide variety of expressions using various materials.
Within the website marketing proprietary-branded handbags, DAIDOHBAGS intends to lineup fabric and enamel bags and various "leather-made goods" including straps and POPs placed on store desktops along with leather handbags. "We will be able to go for things we couldn't do before. Increasing the variety of products will be a simple thing." President Matsunami is looking forward to diversifying his products.
He commended the operability of the printer saying, "You can use it just as if it were a home printer. It is not difficult at all. At the moment, I’m the only one using the printer, but eventually I will get my employees to use it as well. Once printing is started, we don't have to hang around the machine while its running, and I think we will be able to carry out other tasks in parallel." For companies promoting multi-skilled workers, this will also lead to effective use of human resources.
Future acquisition of design patterning capabilities
Cultivating demand for original prints
The company undertakes the design of bags, excelling in fashioning originally shaped bags. However, they were previously forced to resign to outsourcing the creation of patterns.
"Someday, I hope we will be able to design original patterns, and we also encourage our OEM customers to use original prints on their products, but there are not many designers who can plan and draw patterns. We are having a hard time getting ahead in this aspect."
The primary purpose of introducing "UJF-6042MkII e" is to establish the corporate brand for online sales. However, DAIDOHBAGS ultimately seeks to reflect free ideas in proprietary products while providing original prints to their brand-owner business partners by cultivating in-house patterning design capabilities.
President Matsunami has a passion for manufacturing as a handbag maker: "Leather bags have been by my side since I was a child." He has closely observed the shifting of demand with the times. Today, many products are being produced in small lots and in a multitude of varieties. Originality suiting individual tastes is gradually coming into demand. Expectations are high for "UJF-6042MkII e" to meet the company's new manufacturing challenges.
- IndustryManufacture of ladies' and men's bags and accessories, mainly leather-made
- Address2-674 Togasaki, Misato-shi, Saitama, Japan
- Phone number+81-48-960-0600