Surfing industry leader Rip Curl and why they chose Servcorp as their Osaka base

Serviced Office client at Honmachi Minami Garden City

ApparelInternational CompanyBusiness Management

As more and more people are working remotely, many companies may face challenges that are unique to remote work.

In order to be more flexible as a company, Rip Curl Japan switched from renting an office space to working remotely. However, issues such as securing a comfortable work environment/business meeting rooms and document storage became apparent. That is when they turned to Servcorp’s serviced offices.

For this interview, we spoke with Mitsuharu Nishina of Rip Curl Japan, a client at Servcorp’s Honmachi Minami Garden City location (the company name is hereafter referred to as Rip Curl).

“We mainly sell wetsuits, surfing apparel, and surfing accessories to not only prepare you for surfing, but also for a variety of other adventures.”

Mr. Mitsuharu Nishina
Honmachi Minami Garden City Building
Serviced Office client

Rip Curl, a surf brand for those who seek adventure

First, please tell us about your business...

Rip Curl is a leading global surf brand that originated in Australia. We mainly sell wetsuits, surfing apparel, and surfing accessories to not only prepare you for surfing, but also for a variety of other adventures.

Of course, we support those who explore “The Search” not only through our products but events as well.

What is “The Search?”

“The Search” is a concept created by Rip Curl. We feel that people are always pursing something, not just in surfing but also in their daily lives and work.

To get closer to the goals they are pursuing, people have needs. When it comes to surfing, Rip Curl supports the explorer in achieving their goals through our products. As a company, we are constantly conducting “The Search” and asking ourselves “how can we improve?”

How did the company get started in Japan?

For the past several decades, Rip Curl had been entering into licensing agreements with domestic operators and entrusting them with planning and operations in Japan. However, it was difficult to find a stable licensee due to differences in operations and planning policies. Therefore, our head office in Australia put in serious effort and established Rip Curl Japan 7 years ago.

After I graduated from university in Australia, I returned to Japan and worked for Rip Curl. I even got the chance to work at the Australian head office and moved there, so I was back and forth between Australia and Japan for some time.

In 2020, I moved to Japan due to the retirement of the former Japan representative. It has been a year and a half since I started “The Search” as the representative of Rip Curl Japan.

"In the spirit of Rip Curl Planet, we are committed to environmental conservation in various ways such as reducing waste/energy consumption and utilizing recycled resources.”

Due to the nature of the business, environmental preservation is important

I understand that Rip Curl is actively involved in SDGs...

After all, our company is heavily involved with nature so if the ocean becomes polluted, we cannot enjoy surfing or even live. Because of this, we are more careful compared to other companies.

Our efforts include “preserving and protecting our oceans,” "environmentally friendly products,” "sustainability actions,” etc. In the spirit of Rip Curl Planet, we are committed to environmental conservation in various ways such as reducing waste/energy consumption and utilizing recycled resources.

On that note, what do you think about shared offices?

It can be said that shared offices are related to environmental preservation. For example, Servcorp’s kitchen area has one refrigerator that everyone shares. The impact would be completely different if each company had their own refrigerator. I was also impressed that at Servcorp, the lights turn off automatically in the common area after business hours.

The same is true with the offices. With a leased office, the space is expected to be restored to its original condition when you move out. Therefore, clean carpets and other items that can still be used are sometimes discarded. With Servcorp, the offices are more eco-friendly because they are cleaned and reused. During the orientation, I was also happy to hear about their efforts to minimize waste through the elimination of disposable plastic products.

That is right, Servcorp has been removing disposable plastic from our products since 2019. We also serve syrups and milk for coffee in stainless steel bottles.

I think that is a wonderful initiative. If all of us take care of our planet in a similar way, then change will happen. The clear skies of Los Angeles and the cleanliness of the rivers in Venice are proof that humans can make a difference.

<For more information>
Servcorp’s Green Initiatives – The Green Offices Project

"When I first visited, I saw the tasteful office furniture and color scheme and thought “wow!””

From renting an office to working remotely, and then to a serviced office

What type of office did you use previously?

Originally, we had a large office where about 15 people could work in our Osaka office (headquarters). However, having a fixed office increased the infrastructure that needed to be managed, such as general affairs and servers. Because of this, I felt like my workload was increasing.

For example, every time you work remotely you have to connect to the company’s server via VPN and you also must serve tea to people who are in and out of the office. In order to improve our flexibility as a company, we closed our Osaka office and moved the head office to Shonan.

After nearly 8 months of remote work, I strongly felt the need for a small office and meeting space. This was because administrative work in Japan revolves around the use of paper, and we needed a space for accounting work. I also felt that face-to-face business negotiations and meetings were important for sales, so I started looking for a serviced office.

Did you consider the option of renting an office again?

The contract period for renting an office is long, meaning you can’t move around easily. You also have to pay large amounts in deposits and key money that have nothing to do with the actual services you receive. We wanted to increase flexibility, so renting an office was not an option from the beginning.

Going off of that, Servcorp’s serviced offices are superior in many ways. First of all, there is no security deposit or key money, and the set-up costs are low. Since office furniture is there from the beginning, there is no need to purchase any and you can also bring in items you need. Next, the internet and phone lines are already set up so the process from moving in to operating in the office is relatively quick. In our case, we brought in some cabinets and were able to set up the office and start our work within two hours.

<For more information>
Servcorp’s Serviced Offices

"The cheerful greetings from the receptionists motivate us to work hard.”

Employees who work alone remotely are freed from loneliness

Are there any areas you paid close attention to when selecting an office?

We looked at initial and monthly rental fees, contract length, and if there was room for negotiation when renewing the contract.

Of course, the most important thing was the working environment for our staff. I happened to visit the home of an accounting staff member and was heartbroken to see their workspace. It was small and the walls felt like they were closing in on me, and I thought “was he working all alone in a place like this?” Because of this, I realized the importance of a nice office environment where our staff could work comfortably while doing “The Search.”

Some other things we looked for was an office atmosphere that would make it fun to go to work and whether we could be inspired by other tenants.

How do you feel about moving into the Servcorp office?

I am very satisfied. When you leave your office, there is pleasant background music, a lovely common area, and windows overlooking great scenery. It brings me peace of mind.

Our staff can choose from a variety of drinks available in the common area before heading to the office, and the cheerful greetings from the receptionists motivate us to work hard.

<For more information>
Servcorp’s coworking spaces – what you get

Receiving a greeting in the morning can make a huge difference...

That is exactly the case. The Honmachi staff in particular are very energetic, which motivates us and helps us every day. In a way, our employees who worked alone remotely were relieved from their loneliness because they can receive lots of business inspiration.

"Some other things we looked for was an office atmosphere that would make it fun to go to work and whether we could be inspired by other tenants.”

An office you can show your clients with confidence

Why did you choose the Honmachi Minami Garden City location?

First, because it was close to our previous office, and second, because the Honmachi station location was a good match for our clients.

It is not only the location, but the building itself is also beautiful and impressive. When I first visited, I saw the tasteful office furniture and color scheme and thought “wow!” I ultimately chose this location because I wanted to work in an office where our clients could experience that same “wow” feeling.

How did your clients react when they visited?

After signing with Servcorp, our clients always give us compliments.

Every time, there is still that “wow.” The atmosphere is wonderful and the reception staff is courteous, making me feel at ease. I think Servcorp has helped improve our company’s image and I can confidently say that this is an office I am proud of.

What kind of work do you do at your Servcorp office?

We use the Honmachi Minami Garden City location in Osaka for accounting, administrative work, business negotiations, and as a hub for business trips.

We can also use other locations such as Shinjuku and Shinagawa. When our clients are in the Tokyo area, our sales staff can go there to discuss business. Rather than hosting business meetings at a cafe, we use Servcorp locations to emphasize our position as a major player in the surfing industry.

Lastly, what kinds of companies would you recommend Servcorp to?

I would highly recommend this for foreign companies like ours that have their headquarters overseas and are looking to start a Japanese branch. The Servcorp staff is all bilingual, making it easy to have visitors from our head office. I also recommend to companies that want to improve flexibility and keep their costs low.

Thank you very much!

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