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TOKYO — Disney and Dooney & Bourke are launching a line of handbags and small leather goods, hoping to tap into Japanese women’s penchant for character goods and cutesy accessories.

This story first appeared in the November 20, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The initiative features a lineup of tote bags, wallets, small shoulder bags, pouches and subway pass cases. Made of plasticized canvas with leather trim, they feature two design motifs, one of a black-and-white Mickey Mouse comic strip and the other featuring red Minnie Mouse bows against a black background. The silhouettes and shapes are quite similar to the bags Dooney & Bourke created for the Disney theme parks in the U.S. and Disney Store e-commerce site.

The goods will retail at the Disney Store’s 46 locations in Japan as well as its Japanese e-commerce site as of today. Prices range from 3,500 yen, or about $43, for a cosmetics case to 28,000 yen, or $344, for a large tote. They are made in China.

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The Japanese subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co. unveiled the goods Monday at a press presentation here, where Japanese models posed playfully for snaps with tartan jacket-clad television presenter Terry Ito.

Toru Ando, vice president and general manager for Japan’s Disney Stores, explained that the animation giant’s retail network in Japan is increasingly catering to young working women, young mothers and college students with a fashion-oriented merchandise mix heavy on accessories. The Dooney & Bourke bags specifically target women in their 20s and 30s, he said.

“We sell many things as you can see, but bags are one of those four pillars we think that we can do the best,” said Ando, adding that the other areas of focus are plush toys, mobile phone accessories and jewelry. “We really, really think there is a huge opportunity ahead of us.”

The Disney executive declined to give a sales forecast.

Ando, a former Ermenegildo Zegna Japan and Gucci Japan executive, said the Disney Store has seen success with the low- and midrange handbags it has sold in the past and it hopes to capitalize on that momentum.

“Because of my background, I know women here love bags and accessories, small leather goods,” he said.

In line with Disney Japan’s fashion push, Ando said the company is preparing to expand its jewelry offering next year, although he declined to give specifics.

Earlier this month, Disney Japan opened a new Disney Store retail concept catering to young women. Located in the Kashiwa Takashimaya Station Mall in Chiba, the store features ivory interiors with floral accents.