Garin Dart, Bluesilver KK’s General Manager has been in Japan for nearly six years and brings his experience in planning parties and events gleaned in London to the event hosts of Japan. By utilizing many channels of sourcing and by always keeping the customer’s best interests in mind, Garin Dart and Bluesilver are uniquely placed to work with celebrating Tokyoites.
How long have you been in Japan?
I arrived in Japan on July 21, 2003, just in time to experience the stifling humidity of this glorious country.
Why did you start your business?
I had the same company in London from the late ‘90s and after a few years in Japan I could see a huge gap in the market for a company that covers the total organization of events and promotions. There are many companies in Tokyo that do event planning but none that I have come across that cover the total event at a cost-effective price.
Can you tell us a bit about your company?
Our philosophy is very simple, we are totally transparent in what we do—the client pays the cost price that we pay for all goods and services—this price is usually far less than the client can negotiate on their own so the savings are apparent from the start. We then charge a management fee of 20 percent for our time and expertise. This takes the worry and time commitment away from the client, allowing them to concentrate on running their business. We are also in the process of expanding and are looking for our first fixed site so we can offer events and parties in our own venue.
What are the Japan-specific challenges you face here in terms of your business?
Exchange rates fluctuate dramatically and due to the high cost of hiring props and equipment in Japan we try to buy from the US and Asia whenever possible—this further reduces the cost to our client. As storage and transport are expensive in Japan, many hire companies rent out equipment at nearly the same cost as the purchase price—whereas in the UK we used to work on one-tenth value for a day’s hire. We are currently building a large catalog of equipment and props that we intend to hire out independently in the near future—our target being individuals, hotels, and other party organizers.
What kind of advice would you give to aspiring professionals here?
If you want to start a company in a foreign country, start off with a solid business plan, get professional advice, and hire a good accountant, and a good lawyer from day one. Make decisions based on clear objectives and don’t take no for an answer. There is always room for negotiation if you have a good product or service.
What do you do for fun in Japan?
When time allows I enjoy having friends over to the house. We are fortunate to have a decent garden so summer barbecues on the deck are always fun. I enjoy cooking, fine wines, and traveling and try to get out of Japan at least twice a year. We’re expecting a baby at the end of May so that will shake things up a bit I’m sure!