[Background of birth] Until the birth of the “KUROKIN brand” that opened up a new era of tools

the beginning is twenty five year ago. "Cool tools" I saw in Germany

ーーI heard that the beginning of development goes back 25 years.

Nozaki :yes. i still 28 I was about the age of 20, and I was about to decide whether or not I should become president.
At that time, Japanese tools were first focused on price, function and quality, and design was second.
However, I was surprised when I went to see a global tool exhibition held in Cologne, Germany.
All the tools are very smart and cool.
Salespeople are also dressed in suits and have business talks with champagne in one hand, and they are very sophisticated.
When I saw it, I thought, "This is it."

ーーDo you want to make the tool industry cool?

Nozaki :that's right. I used to work at a television station, but when I succeeded my father as president of Fujiya, many people asked me, "Why did you come to such a plain industry?"
It was frustrating, and I decided to make it an exciting and fun industry.
There is another reason why I wanted to boost the tool industry.
The construction industry is facing a labor shortage.
Craftsmen in cool work clothes use cool tools and work with pride.
I wanted to create tools that young people would admire.
If the work style is cool, there should be more people aiming to become craftsmen.
I wanted to support the industry from product creation, which is the duty of a manufacturer, and to make it more exciting.

Manufacturing that competes on value rather than price

ーーWhat did you do to make the industry cool?

Nozaki : We commissioned an external designer and started with the package design and renewal of the company logo.
We thought that it was important to appeal the good quality of the product in the package in order to get them to choose from the products lined up in the store.
that is 2002 I mean the year.

ーSo you put a lot of effort into the design.

Nozaki :yes. 2010 Around this time, Japanese manufacturing began to shift away from low-cost, mass-production models, and people started to demand value that brings richness to the heart.
In other words, it is important to create products that are market-oriented, listening to users' opinions, rather than product-oriented, which sells what you have made.
That's where design comes into play.
We wanted to create products with high brand value, differentiating them with cool designs that users want.

--So you're saying that the era of selling numbers has changed to the era of selling value-added products?

Nozaki : In other words, management is also a design.
In order to attract excellent human resources in Japan, where the population continues to decline, we must create exciting companies by creating not only cool products, but also cool workplaces and cool factories.
Also, in order to increase sales, the company had to grow from a specialized manufacturer of pliers and nippers to a comprehensive tool manufacturer.
For that reason, I wanted to gain the ability to compete on the basis of brand rather than price.

ーーDo you have an in-house designer now?

Nozaki : 2015 In 2016, we created a design department and welcomed designers.
that is KUROKIN I'm Ota, one of the developers.

Ota the designer

After that, we continued to strengthen the design department, and now 3 Designers of people are doing branding by designing products, packages, homepages, catalogs, materials for new graduate recruitment.

Birth of cool Japanese brand tools

ーーKUROKIN was born in 2016, one year later. How did it come about?

Nozaki : This is a private trip to Los Angeles.
There were matte black cars zipping around town, and it was really cool.
When I came back to Japan and casually talked about it with members of the design, marketing, and product development departments, they said, "Let's make a black tool."
At first, it was a playful and lighthearted feeling.

ーーWere black tools rare at the time?

Nozaki :That's right. In fact, in the past, black tools were not preferred among craftsmen.
For some reason, they had the image of being cheap, and people preferred colors that stand out, such as red and yellow.
But recently, black is the representative color of luxury. In particular, the combination of black and gold is favored by craftsmen.
So, I thought it would be interesting to make it based on black and add gold as an accent.

ーーWhat kind of tools did you develop?

Nozaki : At first, I started making and selling clippers.
Then, we released our main products, pliers and nippers.
We put out a small amount and watched the reaction of the market, and the high-class coloring was very well received.

ーーIt was also a hot topic on SNS.

Nozaki : A craftsman's waist bag KUROKIN photo with SNS I was uploading it to you.
I used my favorite tools to coordinate around my waist and express my own style.
I'm sure there must have been a latent need for "I want to work in a cool style" from before.
It's just that there was no product in Japan that could fulfill that.
People who wanted cool tools used foreign-made tools.

ーーThat is what the Japanese brand KUROKIN has achieved.

Nozaki : Now it has grown into a brand that can be said to be the representative product of the company, and many craftsmen are using it.
Since then, there has been an increase in the number of design-conscious tools on the market.
KUROKIN has opened up a new era of tools.