“Mizu” is the Japanese word meaning “water,” so that would be like an American company naming their towel “water” although that would be silly. Well, that has not stopped Mizu Towel aka Mizu Linen.
Originally posted September 28th, 2022, and updated on May 15th, 2023
Since I did a post on Chinese cutlery marketed as Japanese, I now get served ads for Mizu towels, which are the same exact template Chinese companies take with knives. Except unlike the towel companies, no knife company has named their knives niku (Japanese for “meat”).
Mizu Towels are MADE IN CHINA, and the marketer, Glen Gunawan, of this product will do everything he can to avoid being associated with China or being Indonesian. Possibly due to China’s reputation for poorly made products, he is hoping you just hit ‘click to buy’ without any thought, his ideal buyer.Chinese products being marketed as Japanese products runs rampant online, from towels, clothing, to kitchen knives. Unfortunately, all too many do not know that Japan and China are two different countries.
The Mizu Towels Review TL;DR (Too Long Didn’t Read)
Everything you need to know all summed up here in an easy to read table.
Often times these products are not owned by Chinese nationals, but by individuals from around the globe from Lithuania (Huusk “Japan”) to Finland (Kamikoto). Although, Mizu is mostly likely owned and operated by an Indonesian American operating out of Los Angeles.This is a common tactic used by individuals marketing Chinese products and the cutlery industry is filled with fake “Japanese” knives.
|What is Mizu Towels||“Natural Silver-Infused Antibacterial Fibers.”|
|Where is Mizu Towels made?||MADE IN CHINA|
|Who owns Mizu Towels||Mizu Home, LLC, possibly a West Los Angeles entity|
|Other entities by Glen Gunawan||Niji Global, Prosodos Holidings, Solutero, Goredpin|
|When was Mizu Towels founded?||2017|
|The Founder of Mizu Towels||Glen Gunawan (Indonesian) aka “Glenwasthere”|
|What are the other names Mizu Towels/Linens is sold under?||Mizutowel.com and Mizulinens.com|
|What is Mizu Towel social media?||FB: mizutowels, IG: mizutowel|
FB: mizulinens, IG: mizulinens
|How big are Mizu towels?||Smart Towel Set|
Bath Towel: 27.5″ by 55″ / 70cm x 140cm
Hand Towel: 20″ by 30″ / 50cm x 75cm
|How much do Mizu towels cost?||$50-$900 (they are always on sale tho)|
|How long does it take to get Mizu Towels||“The product is said to be shipped from Shenzhen, China”|
|What other products are by Glen Gunawan?||Sonic Soak (sonicsoak.com)|
Reviews and media collaborators
Trustpilot is just one site. to sum up the Mizu Towels experience.
The top 3 issues with the Mizu Towel brand:For the positives, buy the product yourself and find out.
1. Towels continuously shedding/lint.
2. Did not receive product/long wait (shipping)
2. Issues canceling/credit card amount.
Mizu Towel Reviews
|Better Business Bureau||Undelivered products||1.25/5.0 stars|
|Gentlemanwithin.com||“More expensive than most towels on the market. Limited color selection (Grey, White & Blue). Manufactured in China”||Full review here by Christopher Bair|
|ProductReview.au||“Not made in Japan, cheap, color fades, lint everywhere, long shipping times, great packaging, great gift, perfect towel, rubbish”||3.4/5.0 stars|
|Deceptive product claim and are a “ring” of individuals with brands from Sonic Soak, xFyro Aria earbuds, and Mizu Towel.||N/A|
|Trustpilot.com||“feeling scammed” about where the products are made, shedding,||1.8/5.0 stars|
The shuǐ towel tactics
If I told you my towel brand is called Shuǐ (Chinese for water), and that it epitomizes Chinese craftsmanship utilizing artisanal Chinese towel crafting techniques. That, along with being considered world-class Chinese artistry that is native to Xinjiang, China. I just might have you thinking this product is Chinese, BUT the people behind Mizu do not want you to think China.
Imagine if Glen, the founder of Mizu Towels, Mizu Home, LLC named his product after his own ethnicity which is Indonesian. It would be even sillier because the word for water is air?If you were Japanese, naming a towel brand Mizu would be idiotic (it’s only a cool name if you are not Japanese). That would be like an American company naming their towels water.
Here are all the typical misleading tactics used:
- Using the word “Japanese” throughout the website such as “Japanese towels,” “Japanese craftsmanship,” “Japanese towel crafting techniques,” to “world class Chinese artistry.”
- Brand name has a Japanese sounding name such as with Mizu towels which uses the Japanese word for “water.”
- Imply, imply, imply that your products are Japanese by alluding to any and everything such as mentioning Japanese cities to talking about Japanese craftsmanship and artistry.
- Careful wording such as “Mizu towels are made using the very same artisanal crafting methods native to Imabari, Japan” or “made with traditional artisanal techniques from Japan.” They cite “techniques,” not “made in.”
- Sales all day everyday which is something all these Chinese products and marketers focus on which is “sale,
$600, now on sale for $200.”
- The “About Us” is never about the people or company behind the brand, but it is always another chance for them to market “Japan, Japan, Japan.”
- 5-star reviews a plenty, and you won’t find a single negative review because they are that good bro.
- We’re running low on stock, and OH NO, Covid-19 has created an overwhelming demand, so we’re panicking to keep things in stock although use code “staysafe” at checkout.
- Indonesian people treat others like you as idiots. Culturally this is a recurring theme which is the opposite of Japanese culture and why these companies continually use the same tactics on Americans over and over again because it is business as usual (how else can these individuals afford to send their kids to UCLA, but they never took a class in branding).
- Where is Mizu towel produced? Below is the direct quote by Mizu Indonesian towels:
“The crafting process of Mizu begins in Japan and is completed in a specialist factory in China. This factory’s expertise is towel making for the Japanese market and for Japanese companies. We do this to ensure that the towel is high quality and follows Japanese craftsmanship principles while remaining affordable.”– Mizu Towel, Glen Gunawan
Here are a few unique tactics used by Shuǐ:
This brand has been scrutinized by others, and there is a YouTube video questioning if the brand is a scam.This is a common thing amongst Chinese brands that also pretend to be black-owned businesses.
- They raised over $480,000 (GoKickMe on YouTube is calling out the effort as a scam) on INDIEGOGO, and they still want more of your money because they only were able to pull in $250,000 off of Kickstarter.
- Utilizing media outlets to establish their credibility, so they tout Mashable, Trendhunter, and Realsimple on their website.
- International student credentials is stated on their website “created by graduates from UCLA, MIT, McGill, PhilaU, and University of Portland.
Thank you of course to the YouTube community and a creator named GoKickMe because he has a video called “Is it a Scam? Mizu Towel – Not Made in Japan – Crowdfunding Review.“
Marketers embarrassed to be associated with the Chinese or China
What are the chances that a marketer selling Chinese branded products would name themselves “integrity” (正直).Integrity is core to branding, not deception.
If they were to tout Xinjiang, they are known for the cotton which is where they say they are getting their cotton from. If that is truthful, large Japanese and other foreign companies are known to use and also tout that they use Xinjiang cotton (“made from Xinjiang cotton famous for its superb quality.” – ABC Australia). Except you will not hear that from Mizu.
The Xinjiang controversy
More than a million Uyghurs, who are Turkic-speaking Islamic minorities, reside in the North-West of China. The controversy is that this group of people is supposedly being rounded up and placed in re-education internment camps that Beijing is touting as “vocational training centers.”
Glen is Indonesian, a country with a population where almost 87% are Islamic, like the Uyghers, yet he does not market that or anything about Xianjiang.A people who share a common faith.
So where can you buy real Imabari waffle towels?
Why “yes” you can, and here are a few credible resources and companies you can purchase products from. Oh, and btw, it took me even more time to research my list below because now I am doubting everything.
Where to Buy (Companies in Japan):
- I-ori.com/Imabari towel online out of Ehime, Japan (English language) – a 100% Supima cotton “YUKI – towel of Japan snow will set you back ¥990 to ¥5,500 yen which at the time of this post is $9.38 to $52.10. Note, I just realized the “currency selector is on the left sidebar.” This is supposedly the #1 Imabari towel brand worldwide.
- Imabari Towel (e-commerce is Japanese language only) – I know they are Japanese because unlike Chinese companies, they make it impossible to purchase anything unless you can read and understand Japanese. I also can’t tell if this is a governing body that is meant to promote Imabari, or if they are a brand.
If you are looking for the real deal, Imabari waffle towels that are made in Japan, the Citizenry in New York City is your best bet.If you are looking for a US-based seller.
Where to buy Imabari cotton products (companies located outside of Japan):
- The Citizenry: It took me a while to decide whether to put additional ecommerce companies down, but based upon an extended amount of research, it appears the Citizenry is on the up and up. I say that because of the videos they have to communicate their brand on Facebook to them announcing that they plan on opening a store in the Fall of 2020, in SOHO, NYC (I don’t trust anything, so I research the hell out of things).
Resources about Imabari cotton products:
- Japaninfo.com – “Everything you need to know about the famous Japanese Imabari towels!“
In conclusion, Mizu is a product marketed by what many feel is a huckster
Potentially a good product that unfortunately leans on the Japanese to market themselves.
My favorite Chinese brand (that has sort of slacked recently) is Anker out of Shenzhen, China, and I feel bad for the Chinese because of all the deceiving individuals they have marketing their products globally if they are not D-T-C like Anker.They place their focus on a quality product and customer service.
After researching this brand, I am starting to think that all these brands must be part of a conglomerate because the tactics are almost copy’n’paste and identical from knives to towels. So it might be, and I will let you know when Google decides to serve up some more ads. Till then, I’m going to go use my Niku “meat” knife to chop some vegetables.
iPad mockup by Image by syifa5610 on Freepik