In the early 1930's, Mikasa was established as an international trading company based in Secaucus, New Jersey. The company, while wholly American, looked to Japan for inspiration. Named in honor of Prince Mikasa, the youngest brother of Emperor Hirohito, Mikasa soon established itself as one of the most recognized Japanese brand names in the West.
Although Mikasa found success as an import-export trading company, a strategic decision was made to add ceramic dinnerware to the company's line of products in 1948. By doing this Mikasa discovered an untapped market that it was able to successfully grow. Importing merchandise produced by a network of over 150 manufacturers worldwide, the company itself never attempted to "manufacture" any of the dinnerware it sold. Rather, the Mikasa branded items were imported from Japan, Ireland, England, France, and Germany.
Business exploded in the 1950's, and tableware became the staple business for Mikasa. Customer requests were pouring in from all parts of the country, and department stores including Bloomingdale's and Macy's could not shelve enough stock to meet demand. Consumers found Mikasa ceramics to be very strong, versatile, and stylish.
By the beginning of the 1960's, Mikasa had established a reputation as "the pioneer of American casual." They refined their product range by introducing new patterns in unique groups known as "lines." For example, the Studio Nova line was produced for the "young-at-heart" casual diners who would likely eat their meals in the kitchen. Home Beautiful appealed to those who wanted durability and affordability. Last, but certainly not least, the Christopher Stuart line reflected the taste of the consumer who "wants a broad selection of styles."
The 1970's brought new retail store locations. Already firmly grounded in the United States, Mikasa expanded its operations to represent its very diverse lines. Showrooms and warehouses appeared in Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Expansion during this time was very easy for the company. They were able to predict consumer trends in tableware with great precision, and successfully execute on those forecasts. In addition, Mikasa had the competitive advantage that came from outsourcing. By not manufacturing product, it is able to contract with several factories at once, keeping costs down, and adding great diversity via an expanding number of lines and patterns.
In an effort to stay as competitive as possible during the 1980's, Mikasa added
stainless steel flatware and other household accessories to its product offerings. Having conquered the "oven-to-table" and the "dishwasher safe" market, Mikasa continued to look for new opportunities adding casual chic to fine bone china, and decorative accessories.
Click here to see a list of all of the Mikasa china patterns carried by Replacements, Ltd. Today, Mikasa continues to leverage the momentum it has built over the decades since its start. In 2001, the company merged with J.G. Durand Industries, and as has been its history, will continue to trade under the name Mikasa.