Japanese towels are having a moment among luxury and specialty home retailers. Take a quick look at DWR, Need Supply Co., Houzz, Rejuvenation, or West Elm for reference.
And among the endless options manufactured in Japan, Imabari has created a solution for comparing quality and durability: Towel Sommeliers. Professionals in ultimate luxury to help shoppers select the best product to suit their needs based on the 123 companies producing towels within the Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku.
Launched in 2007, the Towel Sommelier program brings the “imabari towel” logo and certification process to life from endless options from a variety of brands. Each representative completes a qualifying exam to hold the position. Learn more about the process here.
Our visit to Imabari Towel Japan's flagship location in Tokyo helped us understand how the program works to highlight living environment, usage, and health as indicators for purchase behavior. A conversation with Towel Sommelier is much like that with a Wine Sommelier - expept the comparisons don't include Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Château Rayas.
The concept of “sommelier” being used to inform and sell products like tea or vegetables is not unusual for consumers in Japan and we're wondering if this type of customer service will see an expansion much like what we predicted when we first spotted Beauty Concierges in 2013.