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Japanese Shoes: Bespoke & RTW Super Thread - Page 262

post #3916 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefan88 View Post


Funny that you put those two forward.
Hosting Hiros first trunk show in Europe 2. and 3. September in Norway.
As for Marquess, I cannot recommend him enough. He's a real pleasure to work with. Super friendly and helpful.

 

Well, I'm just drawing a comparison based on the the prices quoted by each maker. 

Spigola, HY and Marquess are roughly in the same ballpark for bespoke shoes (Fukuda-san is somewhat more expensive). 

I agree, I've corresponded with them both and found them to be very very helpful, friendly and approachable. As well as very sincere.

It was a headache, trying to decide who to go to eventually. 


Edited by ThunderMarch - 8/5/16 at 10:23pm
post #3917 of 4060

One thing Japanese makers (of many genres) love to do is continue working as a one-man or small operation but take on as many orders as possible without upping production capacity, creating year-long wait lists. Fugee bags, five years, really? Maybe you should have more than two people.

It doesn't really make sense from a business standpoint and certainly isn't good from a business succession standpoint, but generally an apprentice will emerge somewhere along the lines later in life. I think it's more standard in Europe to create artisan "factories" and scale the size of your team. The Japanese commitment to quality prevents handing off eyeballs on the process. It's really a double-edged sword.

post #3918 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprout2 View Post

One thing Japanese makers (of many genres) love to do is continue working as a one-man or small operation but take on as many orders as possible without upping production capacity, creating year-long wait lists. Fugee bags, five years, really? Maybe you should have more than two people.
It doesn't really make sense from a business standpoint and certainly isn't good from a business succession standpoint, but generally an apprentice will emerge somewhere along the lines later in life. I think it's more standard in Europe to create artisan "factories" and scale the size of your team. The Japanese commitment to quality prevents handing off eyeballs on the process. It's really a double-edged sword.

This isn't necessarily true for the shoemakers in Japan. For example, Hiro Yanagimachi has a team of four full time employees (last one an apprentice who was hired last year, since they planned to go international they wanted to take height for that), Marquess has three apprentices in the workshop now (he's been growing quite fast really, to meet the raised interest in his work), Yohei Fukuda two (where one has been there quite a while now I believe, might be "more" than apprentice now) and I believe he has interest in getting one more in, if he finds the right person. So they try to meet demand, as well to keep the quality standards high.
post #3919 of 4060
I believe Mr Sony still makes every television himself, by hand.
post #3920 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

I believe Mr Sony still makes every television himself, by hand.

If one talks electronic stuff and "craftsmanship" (and are serious 😉 ) there are some really amazing producers of speakers around doing very impressive stuff. Some are still one man operations.
post #3921 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post


This isn't necessarily true for the shoemakers in Japan. For example, Hiro Yanagimachi has a team of four full time employees (last one an apprentice who was hired last year, since they planned to go international they wanted to take height for that), Marquess has three apprentices in the workshop now (he's been growing quite fast really, to meet the raised interest in his work), Yohei Fukuda two (where one has been there quite a while now I believe, might be "more" than apprentice now) and I believe he has interest in getting one more in, if he finds the right person. So they try to meet demand, as well to keep the quality standards high.

Indeed. Marquess are 6 all together, and Fukuda were 4 I think.

 

post #3922 of 4060
It's curious how people in the west have a notion of some lone Japanese craftsman toiling away, culturally and genetically unable to accept anything but the very best for his customer whatever the cost. Paradoxically, there's just as many Japanese customers who wouldn't buy shoes from his local Japanese makers, believing that a western firm who's reputation is based on the skill of a guy who died 100 years ago will be able to produce better work.

Truth is, there's wonderful craftspeople dotted all over the place. Shoemaking isn't a particularly lucrative practice, particularly when you're starting out and based in an emerging region like Japan, so those making the sacrifices to do it will be the true enthusiasts. As the industry there grows, you might find more people getting into it for the money rather than satisfaction, just as there is in the west where more people are able to fall into shoemaking at a big established firm by accident.
post #3923 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

If one talks electronic stuff and "craftsmanship" (and are serious 😉 ) there are some really amazing producers of speakers around doing very impressive stuff. Some are still one man operations.

Hehe, there sure are - the world of hand wound electric guitar pickups is a fascinating one too!
post #3924 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post


This isn't necessarily true for the shoemakers in Japan. For example, Hiro Yanagimachi has a team of four full time employees (last one an apprentice who was hired last year, since they planned to go international they wanted to take height for that), Marquess has three apprentices in the workshop now (he's been growing quite fast really, to meet the raised interest in his work), Yohei Fukuda two (where one has been there quite a while now I believe, might be "more" than apprentice now) and I believe he has interest in getting one more in, if he finds the right person. So they try to meet demand, as well to keep the quality standards high.

 

As I stated in my post, I was referring widely to all genres.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

It's curious how people in the west have a notion of some lone Japanese craftsman toiling away, culturally and genetically unable to accept anything but the very best for his customer whatever the cost. Paradoxically, there's just as many Japanese customers who wouldn't buy shoes from his local Japanese makers, believing that a western firm who's reputation is based on the skill of a guy who died 100 years ago will be able to produce better work.

Truth is, there's wonderful craftspeople dotted all over the place. Shoemaking isn't a particularly lucrative practice, particularly when you're starting out and based in an emerging region like Japan, so those making the sacrifices to do it will be the true enthusiasts. As the industry there grows, you might find more people getting into it for the money rather than satisfaction, just as there is in the west where more people are able to fall into shoemaking at a big established firm by accident.

 

I am a Japanese man. My (academic) point was that many makers here will pursue unswerving quality control to the detriment of what would be scaleability in a traditional Western-informed business sense. This is true of numerous cottage industries and the zillions of unprofitable but barely self-sustaining 1-man operations. Again, my focus was not limited to shoes.

post #3925 of 4060
That's the same as anywhere though, there's plenty of western glassblowers, saddlers, potters, cheesemakers etc who resist scaling up in order to keep their hands on to what they're passionate about doing. You don't really choose whether you can scale up anyway, rather you can choose not to if you become successful enough to justify it. I doubt Masamune hammered every one of his swords all by himself.
post #3926 of 4060

Yes. But do they make waiting lists of 5-10 years? When I say "quality control," I don't literally mean "quality," in the sense of finely refined luxury goods -- not sure why you took that meaning from my comment. I mean what you refer to above -- being hands-on in the process and being unable to relinquish your baby. A 10 year waiting list (maybe not for shoes, but other crafts) creates undue scarcity even when the item is not luxurious -- simply a big bottleneck of unfulfilled orders. That's oftentimes just a failure to scale because of myopic need to have oversight over everything. I'm not necessarily knocking it, I'm something of a control freak myself, but it's an unfortunate situation for the consumer. That being said... I believe the consumer is partially to blame for this, given the effects of herd shopping behavior and buy-in.

 

I'll give you a stupid but salient example: waiting for 2-3 hours to try the "latest" bowl of inexpensive soup/cake/donut at a store that has two employees and seats for four people. The wait time is completely out of proportion to the experience, but there is a powerful herd mentality at work. The proprietor fails to capitalize on the opportunity by scaling accordingly and the (sane) consumer misses out by not being willing to wait 2-3 hours.

 

Paradoxically, precisely because of this herd mentality, the long waiting list may be a side effect of flash-in-the-pan buy-in by a particular type of domestic consumer that (let's be honest) is extremely sensitive to newness and group behavior. When that group migrates, it might be up in smoke. Those that scale and create a more reasonable and sustainable turn around cycle can nurture a lifelong customer base. So your examples of the 4-6 man teams above would be good examples, and I'm sure they will stand the test of time in what is already an oversaturated market. The Sartoria Corcos of the world, which fail to widen the bottleneck, I'm not sure those will be left standing after the current consumer tires of really small suits and moves on.

post #3927 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefan88 View Post

Indeed. Marquess are 6 all together, and Fukuda were 4 I think.

Alright, so Yohei already found a new guy? Or do you include the closer in those 4?
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprout2 View Post

As I stated in my post, I was referring widely to all genres.

Yes, I understood that, but since you were posting it in a shoe thread I thought you included shoemakers in that statement, hence my reply.
post #3928 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post


Alright, so Yohei already found a new guy? Or do you include the closer in those 4?

I know there were 3 others in his workshop when I visited. Don't think the closer was included. One of them was working on fitting shoes, but he looked pretty damn good.

post #3929 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefan88 View Post

I know there were 3 others in his workshop when I visited. Don't think the closer was included. One of them was working on fitting shoes, but he looked pretty damn good.

No the closer is an outworker, so must be a new guy then, which is great!
post #3930 of 4060
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprout2 View Post
 

Yes. But do they make waiting lists of 5-10 years? When I say "quality control," I don't literally mean "quality," in the sense of finely refined luxury goods -- not sure why you took that meaning from my comment. I mean what you refer to above -- being hands-on in the process and being unable to relinquish your baby. A 10 year waiting list (maybe not for shoes, but other crafts) creates undue scarcity even when the item is not luxurious -- simply a big bottleneck of unfulfilled orders. That's oftentimes just a failure to scale because of myopic need to have oversight over everything. I'm not necessarily knocking it, I'm something of a control freak myself, but it's an unfortunate situation for the consumer. That being said... I believe the consumer is partially to blame for this, given the effects of herd shopping behavior and buy-in.

 

I'll give you a stupid but salient example: waiting for 2-3 hours to try the "latest" bowl of inexpensive soup/cake/donut at a store that has two employees and seats for four people. The wait time is completely out of proportion to the experience, but there is a powerful herd mentality at work. The proprietor fails to capitalize on the opportunity by scaling accordingly and the (sane) consumer misses out by not being willing to wait 2-3 hours.

 

Paradoxically, precisely because of this herd mentality, the long waiting list may be a side effect of flash-in-the-pan buy-in by a particular type of domestic consumer that (let's be honest) is extremely sensitive to newness and group behavior. When that group migrates, it might be up in smoke. Those that scale and create a more reasonable and sustainable turn around cycle can nurture a lifelong customer base. So your examples of the 4-6 man teams above would be good examples, and I'm sure they will stand the test of time in what is already an oversaturated market. The Sartoria Corcos of the world, which fail to widen the bottleneck, I'm not sure those will be left standing after the current consumer tires of really small suits and moves on.

Kotaro has recently brought in two new apprentices to help him out. Also: small suits? 

 

/Oliver

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