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Origin and Progress

“We should do something about the prices of cosmetics in Japan.” Tokyo Jitsugyo Co., Ltd., a former body of Chifure Corporation, was established in 1947. It was an ordinary cosmetics manufacturer employing the door-to-door sales approach. President Matsuo Shimada, the founder of the company, found when he traveled abroad to observe cosmetics markets that the prices of cosmetics in Japan were much higher than those in the advanced countries in the Western world. In the belief that there would be no prospect of the healthy development of the cosmetics industry so long as tremendous gaps remained between the manufacturing costs and the retail prices of cosmetics, founder Shimada initiated the development of "cosmetics priced so that everybody can buy and use without any concern," and in 1962 the ¥100 cosmetics were launched. Then Zenkoku Fujin Dantai Renraku Kyogikai (National Federation of Regional Women's Organizations (Zen Chifuren)), Japan's largest consumer organization, became a supporter of the underlying philosophy. The corporate philosophy to "offer cosmetics priced so that everybody can buy and use without any concern" has not changed from the inception of the company to the present.

The Birth of Chifure Corporation It was in 1968 that Zenchifuren and Tokyo Jitsugyo Co., Ltd. jointly initiated the cosmetics business. It was based on their common belief that "we should reveal to consumers the fact that cosmetics are not magic water and that they may do harm to women depending on their genetic-makeup or physical condition. But in reality, numerous cosmetics manufacturers try to stir up the illusion that cosmetics can beautify the skin, and then try to sell their products at unreasonably high prices. We would like to market quality products at reasonable prices that reflect the costs of manufacture" It was the idea of Ms. Tanaka of Chifuren to leave out the last sound "n" from "Chifuren" and put it before "Cosmetics" to make it sound like a cosmetic name. Then, Chairman Yamataka proposed that hiragana characters be used in writing. Thus, Chifure Corporation was born.

Cosmetics Born from the Voiced Concerns of Consumers As Zenchifuren and Tokyo Jitsugyo Co., Ltd. initiated the cosmetics business, they agreed to the following principles in order to share the same thinking behind developing consumer-oriented cosmetics. First, needless to say, the products must be low-priced, and for this purpose the container designs should be simplified and standardized. In addition, any unnecessary outer packaging is also avoid. Second, manufacture safe products. More specifically, completely avoid the use of artificial colorants in skincare cosmetics, inhibit the amount of aromatics to a level just enough to mask the odor of the raw materials, and minimize the use of preservatives. Third, disclose information on ingredients. It was meant to foster discriminating consumers by advising them of the basis for differences in the prices of cosmetics. It was also for the sake of safety to enable a user with an allergy, for example, to check in advance, and see if any ingredient that she is allergic to is contained in the preparation.

Launching refillable containers for cosmetics In the early 1970s waves of large price increases surged in, brought about by sudden inflation and the Oil Shock. Like all other manufacturers, Chifure Corporation experienced an extremely difficult management situation. Nevertheless, we were determined to maintain our prices in an attempt to help stabilize the prices of goods. What eventually arose as a solution was refillable containers for cosmetics. Having been devised as a means to reduce costs without lowering quality, refillable cosmetics also served as the means to promote resource-saving activities.

Establishing a toll-free number for the User Service Desk Since the initial product launch, Chifure Corporation has reflected in its products what the consumers say they want, how they want to use them, and how much they are willing to pay. It has always been our practice to analyze these factors when setting a fair price to the purchaser, rather than maximizing the return to the company by hiking the selling prices, while focusing on the ease of use, rather than ease of production, and also on the content, rather than the appearance. In short, the basis for Chifure Corporation lies in collecting as many comments and suggestions from the consumer as possible. The Consumer Service Section was established in 1980 for this purpose. In 1987 it was renamed the User Service Desk to further promote active communication with the customer, and a toll-free number was provided in 1992. Each comment or suggestion by a customer carried through the toll-free number to the User Service Desk serves as an important contribution to merchandising know-how.

Tackling environmental issues The EcoMark Products featuring the catch phrase "friendly to the earth" started in Japan in 1989 when environmental issues were attracting global attention. EcoMark Products refer to those product screened and approved by the Japan Environment Association, based on advice from the Environment Agency, as products useful for the preservation of the earth's environment. Chifure Corporation's non-chlorofluorocarbon (non-CFC) hair spray, setting lotion and hair treatment, all launched in 1981, were approved as the first EcoMark Product. We also developed filter bags made from a recycled resin material for use with triangular drainers and the drain outlet in the sink to address the rising issue of contamination of lakes and marshes from domestic waste water. With the motto "Cherish what you already have," Chifure not only has produced the revolutionary idea of refillable containers for cosmetics but also is still making continued efforts to save resources, including merchandising refillable lipsticks.

An outstanding consumer-oriented enterprise In 1992, the corporate policy of Chifure Corporation was officially recognized: Chifure Corporation became the first non-monolithic company to be granted the Minister of International Trade and Industry Award for Outstanding Consumer-oriented Corporations initiated by the Industrial Policy Bureau of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in January 1990. It was recognition of our consistent consumer-oriented corporate policy since the establishment of the company, including the achievement of low-priced cosmetics, disclosure of information on the ingredients and their quantity, simplification of containers and packaging and a minimal amount of advertising, even during the hard times that attended the oil shock.

50th anniversary for Chifure Corporation and 30th anniversary for Chifure Cosmetics Chifure Corporation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1997. It was also this year that the Chifure Corporation Management Philosophy was established. The year 1998 was the 30th anniversary for the Chifure Cosmetics brand. Chifure Corporation has steadily expanded its distributors nationwide even in the current harsh business environment brought about by the collapse of the bubble economy and is used by an increasing number of customers, including the younger generation.

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