The day may be nearing when ordinary people can take a spaceship to the Moon.
Elon Musk's space development firm SpaceX aims to take the first group of private citizens on a journey around the Moon, and Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa has been announced as the first passenger. He's the founder of the popular online fashion mall ZOZOTOWN.
"Staring at the moon has fueled my imagination," said Maezawa. "It's always there and has continued to inspire humanity. That's why I couldn't pass up this opportunity to see it up close."
The trip on the Big Falcon Rocket ship is scheduled for 2023.
Maezawa's online fashion outlet ZOZOTOWN has grown exponentially. While it was believed that people wouldn't buy clothing unless they could try it on, ZOZOTOWN has turned that view on its head, selling some 6,400 brand items, mainly to younger generation shoppers.
Operator START TODAY CO., LTD. has seen a 10-fold increase in sales in the past decade, with operating profit exceeding 30 percent, the highest in the retail sector.
ZOZOTOWN bodysuits are the key to its success. Customers put on the Zozosuit and link to a smartphone app to upload their measurements. The site uses the data to provide a customized fit.
ZOZOTOWN recently added men's business suits to its lineup of T-shirts and jeans, and is looking to expand globally with its strategy of providing the perfect fit at competitive prices.
The 42-year-old Maezawa has launched a number of successful businesses in Japan. After graduating from high school, he played in a punk-rock band that eventually debuted on a major record label.
As a sideline 20 years ago, he set up a company to sell imported CDs and records. He gradually built an e-commerce fashion business, laying the groundwork for the launch of his firm START TODAY.
Maezawa says he has turned a number of ideas into successful businesses. He says he came up with the idea of the measurement bodysuit 7 or 8 years ago and finally put it into practice after testing the technology.
Maezawa is also known for his candid posts on social media. He was once in a heated online debate about the rising cost of transportation due to Japan's labor shortage. He has also written posts about his purchase of a contemporary art piece worth about 90 million dollars, and his relationship with a famous actress. His private life has attracted a massive following.
Maezawa says he will invite several artists to join him on the Moon flight, so they can use the experience to create art. He says he looks forward to seeing how that is expressed in different art forms.