Originally posted on Jfashionandtech
Image via Wikipedia.
The Company Who Made Hello Kitty
Image via Sanrio town.
According to an article in the New York Times, the character Hello Kitty alone is worth about 5 billion dollars.
Sanrio was founded in 1960 in Tokyo, Japan, but didn’t make Hello Kitty until fourteen years later. Hello Kitty is a recognizable icon in popculture and made Sanrio successful.
The company has a focus on cuteness and creates characters with this theme. Sanrio originally sold stationary, but with Hello Kitty’s popularity, they expanded their line to products such as accessories, plush toys, and clothing. In just six years, they expanded their business to California.
Hello Kitty’s popularity surged in the U.S. in the 90’s, and it was common to see preteens and children use Sanrio items from multicolored pens, to t-shirts, notebooks, and backpacks.
Who Was Their First Character?: The company is known for their character Hello Kitty, but she was not the first character created by the company. The very first Sanrio character was Strawberry King.
Image via Sanrio.com
Sanrio’s Popularity In America
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Cartoons helped boost popularity of the Sanrio brand oversees, one of the more popular one’s being a show called”Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theater.” In 2008, a CG show called “The Adventures of Hello Kitty and Friends” was released.
Sanrio’s Theme Park
In 1990, Sanrio opened up an indoor theme park in Japan called Sanrio Puroland. The company went from selling small accessories and plush dolls, to making a theme park based on their characters.The theme park features rides with the characters, cafes, shops, and also musicals. Visitors can also walk into Hello Kitty’s ‘house,’ as well.
Years Later: Aiming for Nostalgia
Sanrio has had a shift in their marketing over the years, releasing products aimed towards the adults who grew up with their characters. Their webpage features a store where designer bags, art prints, necklaces, credit cards, and office products are available.
A Decline in Popularity?
Sanrio stores, which used to be a frequent site in American malls, began to close in recent years. In 2014, two major stores were closed located in Manhattan, New York and also at the Mall of America.
Sanrio is opening a temporary pop up store in Times Square until January 2015 and later plans to open a permanent shop in Flushing, NY. However, with the closing of previous Sanrio stores, will this boutique be successful?
Future + Sanrio Outside of Boutiques
Image via Hottopic.
Outside of Japan, Sanrio sells most of their products through other stores rather than their own boutique. Even though Sanrio is not as popular as it was in the 90’s, Hello Kitty is still commonly seen in major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Toysrus.
One of Sanrio’s newer characters (Gudetama) has gained a bit of popularity through the website, Tumblr. Hottopic has recently released a collection with Gudetama items, possibly in response: Gudetama stickers, and shirts are some of their newest products.
In the future, it looks like Sanrio will continue to follow on the trend of releasing designer products for adults, while also trying to appeal to a younger audience, a new generation to pass on Sanrio’s cute characters .
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