One hundred sixty months - that's how long we have been staying in Mandarin Gallery, with more than quadruple the size of the original boutique. We’re getting more established, and we know it, given that even those supposedly award-winning companies are walking behind our shadows. I know imitation is the best flattery, and finally, we empathise with Hermes and Louis Vuitton. Singapore is projected to attract more foreigners, especially ultra-high-net-worth individuals and family offices. And in retail, just as in the case of atomi, we are changing to stay ahead of the curves, reinventing to cater to the shifting demographics. Copycats and wannabes will always sneak around in my shadows or adore the tail lights of atomi.
Too often, we have seen provenance being touted as a selling point by those who do not have authenticity and legacy. In the case of atomi (and our association with Japan), Mitsuko and I hope to emulate the likes of Hermès (and their French luxury lineage and legacy) and Patek Philippe (Geneva's last independent, family-owned watchmaker) by creating our eponymous brand. We want to start our lineage, just like how we started our own family and brand, and live together in Japan and Singapore.
We are confident in the making 2023 a year to take the lead and gain market share in Japan after building up an established brand - atomi - in Singapore. We will take the offensive, put our foot on the accelerator and get off the starting line. And where better to start than in Japan? We have the brand, we have the vision, and we have the team to help us to venture to Japan after dipping our toes overseas several times in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia.
While we are early evangelists for Japan’s designs, lifestyle, culture, cuisine and legacy, investing in Japan is not recommended for all. Likewise, being an entrepreneur in the start-up scene, a business owner in the retail scene and consulting firm for Japanese companies is not a walk in the park. I still remember clearly that on March 11th, which happened 12 years ago, many were worried about visiting Japan, and the radiation leaks, aftershocks of the earthquakes and the potential of more tsunamis. atomi did not waiver in our business model. We have stuck to our vision since 2009, renewed our line-ups and deepened the trust between willing partners.
Likewise, during the pandemic, many avoided Singapore and the retail business with Japan was severely affected. Still, again, we stand in solidarity with our counterparts, our business associates and our partners. Everything is a test of our commitment to promoting Japan in general, and our perseverance won support from our customers, most of our partners and associates. Rather than poaching brands with a presence in Singapore or existing relationships, we have the integrity to develop new partnerships and bring new brands and concepts to the market.
Those who want to leave us, please better go to us sooner than later because we have so much to do. atomi is to develop new retail in Singapore, bringing fresh concepts into our brands and building up our understanding of the markets. In Singapore and Japan, we have to develop our authentic style of managing the businesses, creating long-term partnerships and building trust between our customers, partners and ecosystems. Such things take time to happen, and there is a proper protocol. Building up a brand with a good reputation takes much work, and it would take decades to do so, but bringing down a brand can happen overnight.
Many outstanding individuals are joining the retail industry, and we want to invite them to join us and chart the journey together. I have the privilege to lecture at the university and have engaged with many young talents who will be the consumers of the present and future. They represent a new idea coming onboard as we renew, refresh and recharge atomi every semester, every batch and every single one of them. All of them contribute to the growth of atomi. And we want to invite more to join us. This is the atomi way.