Episode 10

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Published on:

18th Jul 2022

Kaizen your Kiwi business to success in the Japanese market with Dave Mair

Hold onto your jandals, Dave Mair is on the show talking about why Japan is so good at what it does and how Kiwi companies can connect and work more effectively with Japanese business partners. He has some great anecdotes from his time in Japan and how he took that learning back to Aotearoa New Zealand to generate great success at Skellerup. We all know of Skellerup as the iconic NZ maker of Red Bands gumboots - another iconic NZ footwear, as well as their groundbreaking rubber products used throughout the dairy industry. 

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In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How Dave went from Judo obsessed to working at Panasonic in Japan
  • The Japanese business insights and learnings from meeting “Mr Sano” for lunch once a week, bringing that wisdom back to NZ and implementing it to transform NZ business
  • Where Kiwi businesses most often fail when it comes to Japan - and it’s not a market entry problem!! 
  • Dave’s top advice for first timers heading to Japan on business
  • Dave’s analysis of Jandals in Japan, how lucky are we?

About Dave

Finding his way to Japan to learn Judo, David Mair started working at Panasonic. After returning to New Zealand he worked at Interlock and started to use the concepts of “kaizen” and “kaitaku” to make incremental improvements. Now the CEO of Skellerup Group, Dave is also a former executive director of The a2 Milk Company, Deloitte Top 200 Chief Executive Officer of the Year for 2021 and winner of the INFINZ Leadership Award in 2022. 

Connect with Dave

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-mair-029b6113b/ 


Connect with Jayne and Catherine

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jandals-in-japan-podcast/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jandalsinjapan/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jandalsinjapan 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwdbd0QSHSLlOSPcpceHOcA 

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About the Podcast

Jandals in Japan
Bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
The best new show about doing business in Japan, bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
How do you build a brand in Japan and nurture a loyal customer base?
What do you need to have in your tool belt if you are thinking of coming to Japan to launch a business here?
Japan is often considered to be in the "too hard" basket but we are here to open up the black box of doing business in Japan.
We will share stories from successful kiwis selling their products and services in the land of the rising sun.
They'll tell you their tips for success and pitfalls to avoid.
They'll share their challenges and what they did to overcome them.
They will tell you things you can't find in textbooks or on the internet.
We will also be sharing the latest intel and insights on Japan from our on-the-ground presence
And you'll hear some super business culture and other tips from us sprinkled throughout.
Grab a glass of sake and let's get into it.

About your hosts

Jayne Nakata

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Jayne Nakata is a Southland girl who arrived in Japan in 2002, planning to stay just two years. 20 years later she is still living in Fukushima Prefecture with her Japanese husband and two children. When the triple disaster hit in 2011, Jayne made the commitment to stay in Fukushima and contribute to rebuilding the area. She is the host of the award winning podcast Transformations with Jayne, which is a favourite with international women living in Japan. She is also the double award winning podcast producer and manager for PodLaunch with Jayne.

Catherine O’Connell

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Born and bred in Christchurch, Catherine O'Connell landed in Japan in 2002, on a one year contract, and 20 years later she's planted her feet firmly in Japan. She built a wealth of business and cultural experience working at the coal face of brand-name Japanese corporates as in house legal counsel. Catherine took a leap of faith down the entrepreneurial route launching her own multi award-winning boutique law firm in Tokyo in 2018, being the first Kiwi and first foreign female to do so. She is Vice Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and helps businesses thrive in the Japan market delivering business insights meshed with legal instincts. Catherine is also host of the award-winning Lawyer on Air Podcast.