small talk - Vol.01 Specialized cleaning factory workshop
Cleaning is a service industry that we are all familiar with, but perhaps not many people know about the behind-the-scenes aspects of it. In this article, I would like to give you a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes atmosphere of the leather cleaning factory, which you don't usually get to see.
Photos and text/Kensaburo Kikuchi
The atmosphere of a cleaning factory where you can hear the quiet sounds of machinery
The starting point for the REFLEATHER factory was 16 years ago in 2006.
Before that, Kadoya had issues. This is the last thing that remains after we have continued to enhance the aftercare of our leather products, including resizing and repairs, which we have been doing since our founding.
It's easy to imagine how many inquiries to companies dealing in leather products include questions about cleaning leather products, especially since they also make products made to order.
It can be said that REFLEATHER, a specialized leather cleaning factory, was born as a result of sincerely listening to the voices of its customers.
A cleaning factory specializing in leather is located in Asakusa, Tokyo, a town with a deep leather history as the birthplace of leather shoes.A small counter is set up at the entrance to allow customers to directly bring in their products. When you stand in front of the counter, you can hear the low-key sounds of machinery typical of a cleaning factory coming from the workshop in the back.
After the product is inspected at reception, pre-work inspection is carried out at the factory. Decide on the overall plan, including the contents of the wash and the procedures before and after. When we think of cleaning, the image of washing leaves an impression, but in reality, it is the work that requires such judgment that requires experience and knowledge.
A sink that is usually filled with water mixed with a special chemical solution. Separated sinks are used for step-by-step washing and for handling requests for various situations. Before pickling a requested item, each item is often treated differently on the workbench, such as special treatment or partial washing.
Inside the factory, there are things that can be called tools, things that can be called machines, and things in between, all of which move and exude a well-used look. The reason we are drawn to the words "factory" or "factory tour" may be because of the atmosphere it creates.
The appeal of a factory is its simple, simple, unadorned functional beauty, which is perhaps the same as the beauty of leather products and motorcycles. I'm delusional, but I think this is not as wrong as I thought.
In a private room on the mezzanine floor of the building, a craftsman wearing a large professional mask was working on the groundwork before coloring, which he does when he receives a request for a complementary color. Inside the quiet room, the workshop was the main focus and the craftsmen were in the background, so I took a photo of it as it was.
Leather jackets waiting to be shipped after cleaning. A service born from customer feedback is only complete when it reaches the customer and satisfies them. Of course, repeat customers who do regular cleaning will likely form a long-term relationship with you.
In the 16 years since the factory's establishment, the number of requested items has reached over 30,000, and I hear that some of them are often complex or difficult. Perhaps you could call it the tranquil atmosphere I felt in the art room when I was a student, but the atmosphere that filled the factory made me feel the accumulation of time.