INTERVIEW

SHIMIZU Toshiaki

Executive Officer

When I was a rookie by SHIMIZU Toshiaki – Always seeking one and only method.

- Tell us your early career and your rookie moments.

I was one of those new employees who annoys my boss by not following the instructions as I preferred trying to work on my own methods.

I had not been comfortable following “norms” since I was young in the first place. Maybe I play in a band is one of the reasons that I always stuck to being an original rather than copying someone else.

Having said that, I was still a steady worker so I used to look into the archive before working hours and tried to learn some skills or ideas from the past project proposals. And after work, I proposed my methods to my senior employees and had discussions with them.

I owe it to my boss and senior employees of that time for giving me a helping hand to someone like me who did not even know what working really means. They were always on my side with laughter and watched over me struggling through trial and errors to seek an original method of mine.

My intention was not just to stand out in the workplace but sought for better ways to provide better services for customers. Those attempts are parts of who I am today, and I still work with this idea in my mind.

- Tell us your motto in work gained through your career.

My motto is to always start thinking from scratch.

People tend to act on assumptions. When they are stuck in conventional social norms or theory, the outcome will be ordinary as well.

It is important to have knowledge to broaden your perspective to build a significant achievement but entrenched knowledge could sometimes limit your creativity. I always try to leave those knowledge, experiences and stereotypes behind, and work on my tasks from scratch.

Astonishing promotion representing ZOZO’s mindset.

- Tell us your unforgettable day at ZOZO

We came up with a promotion named “ZOZO number” in 2011, for social media engagement. This promotion was kind of out of my expectation but it turned out to be successful.

The goal of the promotion was to greatly increase our Twitter followers rapidly before we start the end of year sale. We had meetings pretty much every day but the CEO did not like any of it.

Eventually, we came up with an idea, that to give a million yen worth of ZOZO points as the prize to a customer who drew a winning number ends with “2020.” We prepared second prizes for other numbers as well so that the total amounts were massive.

ZOZO’s sales-size at that time was not as big as it is now so I was honestly concerned a lot, but I also thought these kinds of ideas would represent our mindset “Imagine the unexpected. Chart the unexplored.”

In the result, we gained 350,000 followers through the promotion and it was much more than we expected. I would never come up with such an intense idea on my own. This experience has been stuck in my head, and reminds me of those moments when I’m brainstorming.

Supporting society, co-creating with people.

- How would you envision ZOZO in 10 years?

I want ZOZO to be a place that provides social values in its unique way in a relationship with a variety of people

I think, comrades usually mean your colleagues or coworkers in a group company in most cases.

However other than those, more people are involved and have some influences in your life. When you go to work, for instance you take a train, walk on the street, and grab your lunch at a convenience store. All these people you meet en route enrich your life.

I never worked only for myself but for all the partnerships and relationships beyond boundaries called “companies.” And I believe the importance of this idea will be increasing even more.

When the company looks at business with this mindset, it will be supported more so as is providing more values.

- In 2022, ZOZO added the statement “Explore your style. Make you delighted.” to its strategy. How do you describe “style” in your words?

In a nutshell, it is harmony.

I have played in a band for a long time, so I have some opportunities to go on a stage too. When I go on a stage, I pick my outfit imagining the scene with audiences who come to enjoy my music.

Because it may ruin the stage if I wore my favorite outfit but it was not appropriate and created disharmony. This is not applied only for stages but any occasions.

Everyone has their preferences. And it could truly become their style only when they captured the atmosphere and harmonized with the surroundings.

Finally found quintessential smoothness for writing.

- Tell us your essential piece for work.

I always loved writing and a fountain pen and pen case are my favorite. Although we live in this digitally-driven world, I find beauty in analogue items. I have some favorite stationeries on my desk, which motivate me at work.

I am very picky about stationeries so I finally found the best notebook with fine paper after trying dozens of notebooks. I also bought fountain pens from around the world and now I have 5 favorites with me. These two pen cases are made with quality fabrics and craftsmanship.

Writing means something like a coffee break for me. When I grab a pen, it calms me down while clearing my head. I make some rooms to breathe by using analogue items, in this digitally-driven world.

Executive Officers SHIMIZU Toshiaki Hospitality Division / HR Division