A chain of 13 lingerie stores, Cuddle & Kiss, have opened in Japan this Autumn under the direction of Sheffield-based, national award winning entrepreneur Julia Gash.

Julia is the CEO of Bag It Don’t Bin It Ltd. (BIDBI), an eco-bag company based in Sheffield that makes sustainable tote bags under private label. She is also the curator and chief designer for Talented, an ethically-focused and ecologically-made fashion and accessory brand in Sheffield. She started BIDBI in 2007, ever since business awards have been flowing in. She just bagged UK Director of the Year 2014 last month, and Talented is shortlisted at Sheffield Business Awards to be announced next month. Besides she also started a new company, Julia Gash Enterprises, to manage the many international design commissions she was getting for her own work.

The Japanese conglomerate World Co Ltd. who owns Cuddle &Kiss spotted her talent too. World Co. was initially just a stockist of Julia’s bag label, Talented. But after they found out Julia’s rich experience in lingerie business, they invited her instantly to be the brand consultant and design director for the new lingerie store chain: Cuddle & Kiss.

Julia ran a lingerie shop from 2002 to 2008 in Sheffield. Her shop later became known internationally for its forward thinking approach to retail and lingerie designer collections.

Now Julia brings a new approach to lingerie in Japan with her modern, nostalgic style that pays homage to European retro chic culture. Over the past few months she had been creating the brand identity, ideas and guidance for the shop décor, merchandising and providing advice on the development of the collections.

Julia collaborated with a Sheffield design agency, The Nu Agency, to create the cool and distinctive logo for the lingerie brand. As a result the new Japanese lingerie brand, Cuddle & Kiss, now operates thirteen stores throughout Japan, aimed at the young professional woman.

She said: “I’ve brought my knowledge of European lingerie design and retail and took on board the cultural difference to create something that’s fresh, aspirational and beautiful.

“It has been a fascinating journey, in which I have learned so much about the Japanese attitude towards femininity and sexuality and how it differs from the western perspective.

“It's great that Sheffield design having such a presence on the other side of the globe,” she added.

Julia just came back from a three-week Asia-Pacific tour during which she had many business meetings with Asian clients. She was impressed by the Asian business model and retail market throughout her journey.

She recorded her experience of travelling alone in several countries in her blog: Julia’s postcard from Japan, Julia’s postcard from Korea, Julia’s postcard from Taiwan, Julia’s postcard from Singapore and Julia’s postcard from Hong Kong.

Julia said: “Over the past three weeks I have been travelling around Asia, on my own, from country to country, meeting to meeting, and everything has gone like clockwork. This is testimony to the efficiency and helpfulness of the Asian people as much as anything else and at all times I have felt completely safe, respected and welcomed.”

Needless to say Julia has also made a positive and unique contribution to the eastern and western business bond.

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