Every Cloud has A Silver Lining
Another major turning point came in 2010. Tanaka received an e-mail from a product developer at a faucet maker that had just gone out of business. Tanaka called him straight away. It turned out that he was highly qualified and would have no trouble finding a position in any stable enterprise, but he said he wanted to work at Tanaka Metal factory, a company that couldn’t even afford to pay him a bonus. That was the major turning point. He succeeded in improving the component technology such that they reached a point where the micro nano-bubble shower head “Ariamisto Bollina” could be commercialized. TanakaI was determined that this product would be his company’s savior.
Let’s explain this product. The “Ariamisto Bollina” incorporates a system that can produce micro nano-bubbles from air contained in water. The micro nan-bubbles coming from the shower head have a diameter of 0.1 micro nanometers. A micro bubble with a diameter of 50 micro nanometers will float to the surface of the water at a speed of 1.3 mm per second, whereas the micro nano- bubble remains as a bubble in the water for approximately one year. The micro nano-bubble is small enough to get into skin pores and wrinkles to absorb and clean out any oil, dirt and sweat. Tanaka explains that because the water contains a lot of air, it will feel soft. In addition to beauty and cleaning action, we can expect to get a greater warming effect from the water as well as greater water saving. The micro nano-bubbles are generates by the self-developed patentedμ-jet (myuu jet). This is an internal device set inside the shower head. When water flows through this device, it created a whirlpool similar to the center of a typhoon. A change of pressure and speed increase in the device creates the very small micro nano-bubbles. To get this effect we usually need a large expensive device costing millions of yen, but the μ-jet utilizes the flowing water technology acquired from producing faucet parts. It is small and cheap and has been certified by the Chubu Bureau of Economy Trade and Industry. The innovative “Ariamisto Bollina” was a breakthrough in shower head technology, but it did not sell smoothly from the start.
Perseverance Reaps Rewards
Originally the micro nano-bubble shower was priced at about 15,000 yen but Tanaka thought if he could set the price of the Ariamisto Bollina at less than 10,000 yen (9800 yen) it would most certainly sell. However, that was still too expensive for any stores to carry the product. Around that time, the Tokyu hands Department store product buyer introduced him to a professional salesman who had the nickname “The Sold Out King”. (Meaning he could sell anything). That was the reason Tanaka decided to begin demonstration sales. Some employees were not in favor of this method but he explained it as being a dancer needing a stage to perform on. Without a stage a no matter how good the dancer is, the dancer is just performing for him(her)self and unknown to the world. Tanaka decided that having a “dancing stage” for his product was important. In December of 2012, they tried demonstration sales in the Tokyo Hands Ginza store. On that first day they sold 30 units. The store was impressed and the demonstration sales continued every weekend in Tokyo. Tanaka’s perseverance gained a reputation with other stores and they also began stocking his product. Then an unexpected miracle happened. I was invited to appear on the business economics documentary program “Gaia no Yoake” (The Dawn of Gaia). The response to the shower head was overwhelming. Sales increased from 250 million yen to 400 million yen. Profit spiked from 1.4% up to 25, 6%
The future of micro nano-bubbles.
Now, Tanaka is cultivating ideas with customers. The Bollina shower head is being produced in varying colors or with laser engraving in response to specifications from companies, stores and beauty salons. He anticipates that the products could be used as promotional items in stores. In addition, he is investigating the use of micro nano-bubbles in other industries and hydroponic fields. Experiments with hydroponically grown radish sprouts have shown the length of the roots to be 4 times longer using micro nano-bubble water as compared to standard tap water. In this way, Tanaka is conducting new product development in various fields using the micro nano-bubble technology. He is also thinking of developing his business overseas.
Tanaka has had approaches from a Hotel in Singapore, as well as contacts from other countries such as China, Taiwan and Korea. In order to conserve the precious resource of water, Tanaka would like to utilize the company’s water saving technology around the world.