Starting anew resolutely; from a piano instructor to a company CEO
She continued to work as a piano instructor after graduation and led a smooth life, but at the age of 34, due to family circumstances, she joined the company managed by her father. She was entrusted to work in entirely new fields, such as new customer development and product development, and again she succeeded in attracting customers with resourceful product proposals. She steadily brought in new customers and produced hit products. However, due to the continuous arguments with her father, who was also the company’s CEO, she quit her job before three years were up.
Whilst wondering what to do next, she found a book titled “How to Found a Small Company” on her bookshelf, and decided to found her own company.
“I had absolutely no knowledge on how to run a company. I thought that an unannounced sales visit wouldn’t be one, if I made a cold call beforehand (laughs). They would tell me that they couldn’t understand what I was trying to sell, or that they couldn’t arrange an appointment for me if not through some reference, and each time I would think to myself, “These people are losing money by turning me down (laughs).”
Even when turned down, Tominaga had faith in her products. When she first started her company, she visited a major apparel chain and was told that they were not looking for new businesses. However, as soon as she presented her plans, a deal went through smoothly. She kept on accumulating results, and sales reached 60 million yen after a year from starting the company, and in the second year, it grew to reach an annual sale of one hundred million yen.
Other than these activities, Tominaga is committed to projects that make use of music, which is an important part of who she is today. She is undertaking roles in projects which tie medicine and music, such as staging free concerts and producing educational DVDs and music tunes that help vocal development.
Tominaga is currently involved in a project in cooperation with the 1st oral surgery department of the school of dentistry of the University of Osaka, called “KOTOBAKIREI Project.”
This program is targeted towards children having problems with pronunciation, as well as those more able, so that they can enunciate better and vocalize in a natural way. As it can be adopted for both Japanese and foreign languages, she believes that it will even help early age English learning. Those involved in this project are considering market expansion, beyond Japan.
Tominaga, who has a good international awareness, is involved in another activity called “Japanese Cool Products,” where fine products from Japan are introduced overseas.
The 2011 Tohoku earthquake triggered her idea to further spread the “fine qualities of Japanese products” worldwide. In November of the same year, she staged an exhibition in Rome, Italy, which was a success with the public. There, she felt that “Japanese goods would be received favorably around the world.” Currently, she exhibits and sells Japanese goods at a shop in Rome, with her sister who lives there.