The brand "Scotch Grain" is famous in the shoe industry.
We interviewed Mr. Itake, deputy manager of Scotch Grain's Ginza main store, that stocks Il Regalo socks.
I got off the nearest station, Higashi-Ginza walked along Showa-dori toward Kyobashi from the Miharabashi intersection, and there was Scotch Grain's Ginza Main Store with its impressive white eaves.
Warm wood is used inside, and there is a tasteful stone wall in the back. There, shoes line up.
When I entered the store, I was greeted by a fashionable man wearing round glasses with a tortoiseshell pattern.
That was Mr. Itake, the deputy store manager.
Despite the sudden request, he was willing to be interviewed.
We started the interview immediately.
-What made you start working for Scotch Grain?
I attended a fashion school 20 years ago, but I was interested in shoes and was studying to make shoes myself, so, when I got a job, I called Scotch Grain itself and visited the shoe factory.
After that, I asked to be hired part-time, and I became an employee 10 years ago.
-So you were from the bigining interested in making shoes, right?
Yes. I was interested in making leather shoes from scratch.
-What made you interested in shoes to begin with?
It was in junior high school, I was a member of the soccer team and they told me to take care of my spikes. I also saw a TV special about the Florentine Mannina shoemakers, and that got me going.
-And how was it to actually work for this company?
I feel more comfortable in a small world, so I like that this store feels like an extension of the factory and the distance between me and my boss is smaller than in a normal company, and you can actually talk to people.Although it is a small company, we have been committed to making "only Goodyear welt shoes" since our founding, and that is why, I think, we have received support from everyone until now. I think our strength is that we only make shoes like this, rather than expanding in various ways and losing our originality.
-And what do you think is important when meeting your customer?
I think the fitting is important. Few customers know their exact size, so when I give them advice about it they're always surprised by the difference with the size they usually wear. Never having had their feet actually measured, they're usually very happy.
Deputy store manager Mr. Itake
-And what is the reaction of customers that you gave advice to after they wear their shoes?
We always choose a shoe size in anticipation of the future, so when the customer tries the shoe on he may find it small, but later on they find it becomes very comfortable. Some customers bring shoes that they have been wearing for about 10 years for repair.
-Shoes are something that grows.
Well, the shoes lined up in the store are beautiful, but I think those worn for many years are nicer because they wrinkle as you wear them. Leather finish changes depending on the color of the cream you apply.They may ask you, "What color will these shoes look like after I have worn them?" The finish will change depending on the color of the cream, so it depends on what you want to do.Some of our staff use blue shine for black shoes. They then come to look blueish.
-Is it okay to shine your shoes with a color different from the original?
There are no rules, so it all depends on what you want to do.You may want a color change.However, when shining shoes with cream of a different color, one must pay attention to color evenness.
-It sounds interesting!
It's fun to get into!
There is much more to tell, so I will tell the rest in the second part.
Click here for Scotch Grain's website (including how to care for your shoes!) ▼
Scotch grain Ginza main store Instagram ▼