We had the opportunity to visit the head office and factory of Scotch Grain, as their directly-managed stores (Ginza main store/Osaka store/ecute Ueno store/Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi store/Yurakucho store) carry Il Regalo socks.
The factory is located about a 10 minutes walk from Higashi Mukojima Station.
Hirokawa Shoes Corporation Head Office
Sky Tree can be seen, and I couldn't help but snap a picture of the head office with the Sky Tree in the background.
Mr. Hirokawa, the president, and Mr. Mikawa, the sales manager, showed us around the factory.
Mr. Hirokawa, whom we met for the first time, is a nice person with a mild character and firm beliefs who spoke passionately about his desire for integrated in-house production.
This is the only Japanese manufacturer that currently has an integrated in-house production system, and is making great efforts to make shoes efficiently and carefully, with the utmost consideration for comfort.
In 2021, it expand the factory to improve work efficiency and, to reduce the impact of leather price fluctuations as much as possible, it placed orders for one year at a time. It also introduced new machinery. New machines to improve efficiency (and promote efforts of our craftsmen to become proficient with these machines) were introduced. It installed more than one machine as a remedy for breakdowns.
I was just amazed by such high quality shoes at such a reasonable price.
The machine that suspends the toe part
was the most impressive I saw.
I was impressed by the craftsman's skill in using this complex tool.
Not just anyone can make high-quality shoes with machines and materials and the skill of the craftsman who handles them is extremely important.
It is through human hands that beautiful and comfortable shoes are made.
EXECUTIVE GRADE MASTERPIECE
When I entered the factory, I was surprised to see many young craftsmen.
Recently, there has been a concern that the population is declining and that the younger generation will not be able to inherit the skills of the craftspeople.
However, I strongly felt that Hirokawa Shoes is a company capable of attracting skilled young people.
A craftsman polishing shoes using whiskey
There was a time when it used up to about 70 bottles of whiskey a year to polish shoes.
Scotchgrain is used to the maximum to avoid wasting leather.
The model "Spider" is made by cutting out the neck part where wrinkles are noticeable and sewing 19 pieces of one leg together like a patchwork, while the model "Matrix Spider" is made of leather with scars and insect bite marks, each piece of which has been cut by hand. Matrix Spider" is actually sold. Mr. Hirokawa told us that this cutting work is really hard and laborious.
I was very impressed by his determination to use all the leather, even when it requires such hard work.
Neck part with wrinkles
Matrix Spider Spider
I was impressed also by Mr. Hirokawa and Mr. Mikawa's determination when taking on new challenges and their enthusiasm for shoe making, which I believe are reflected in their products and employees, which in turn has led to their large number of fans.
Please visit Scotchgrain's stores.
An exciting experience awaits you!
Mr. Mikawa, Sales Manager Mr. Hirokawa, President
My thank you to Mr. Hirokawa, President, Mr. Mikawa, Sales Manager, and all the craftsmen.