KOBE YOKUTSUTEN Representative: Yuka Sasakura
The beginning of the KOBE YOKUTSUTEN
KOBE YOKUTSUTEN started as a retail store that buys and sells shoes that are still wearable but are discarded.
As I stood at the store and listened to what customers had to say, I learned that many people had problems related to shoes and were compromising without being able to solve them.
I'm also short (153cm), so I like shoes with heels to some extent, but even if I try on various pumps both domestically and internationally,
I couldn't find anything that satisfies me in both comfort and design.
Therefore, I decided to develop pumps in-house based on the concerns and desires of my customers and myself.
And so was born, a 9 cm heel that does not wobble.
Looking at the pumps on the market, it seems that many of them are made by forcibly combining existing wooden molds (shoe molds) and heels.
It seemed that the sense of stability when walking was often impaired.
So, I decided to make it from a wooden mold that fits perfectly with the heel.
Based on that model, the 9cm heel pump [K001] was completed first.
I wanted to make the 9cm shoes comfortable enough to wear on a daily basis, so I decided to use pig suede, which is easy to care for.
Even if it gets wet with water, it will not stain easily, and some scratches will not be noticeable.
Among them, we chose high-quality leather that has a particularly good color and is easy to adapt to your feet.
We made and tried on samples many times, and it was worth it to continue making fine adjustments.
At this time, it was an OEM debut (manufactured under the name of another brand), but it was very well received beyond our expectations.
6cm heel that fulfills all your ideals
After 9cm, I made a 6cm heel .
These pumps are so easy to walk in that you'll forget they have heels, but the style will make you feel better and more people will want to wear them.
To that end, we focused on the following.
Choose your size carefully
I thought my foot size was 24cm-24.5cm.
However, when I had the opportunity to measure my feet, it was actually about 23cm.
It seems that because the width of the foot is wide, it feels small when matching the length, and there is a difference in size between the left and right, so it seems that it was not possible to grasp the correct size.
When I found out my true foot size and width, and put on shoes that fit perfectly, I was so moved that I walked a distance that would have taken me on a train.
I wanted everyone to experience the same excitement, so I wanted to make it possible to purchase different sizes for the left and right so that you can choose not only the size but also the width.
No matter how durable and well-maintained your shoes are, they support the entire weight of your shoes, and as you wear them, they change shape.
Even if you wear clothes that are out of shape, there is no adverse effect on your body, but the deterioration of your shoes can lead to hurting your feet and distorting your body.
So shoes should be considered consumables and should not be expensive.
lots of colors
Shoes don't come in as many colors as clothes.
Since there are many sizes and it is difficult to increase the number of types, only basic items such as black that are safe and easy to match are made.
Even if you find a color you like, you may not find the right size.
Therefore, we aimed to develop a variety of colors so that you can always find what you want.
These many commitments are very difficult to sell normally, but I thought that all of them could be fulfilled if they were made to order.
And KOBE YOKUTSUTEN has become the current style of making pumps after receiving an order.
The difficulty of custom-made
Custom orders are usually time consuming and costly.
Therefore, we created a pattern for the contents of the order, and decided to create a system that would make it as easy as possible to place an order, and deliver it quickly and at a reasonable price.
However, when I actually started planning, I faced many problems.
In order to reduce costs such as freight charges and improve maneuverability, it was necessary to carry out all manufacturing in Kobe, the base.
However, the mainstream of shoe manufacturing in Kobe is mass production.
As far as I know, there are no factories that make products with different specifications in small lots.
We started by asking a small percentage of people who agreed with our goals to help us with the shoe manufacturing process little by little.
Since there is no service to serve as a model, especially in the beginning, I sometimes caused trouble for both the factory staff and the customers, and I almost broke my heart many times.
However, I believed that creating such a system would lead to more value than ever for not only the customers, but also the creators and sellers, so I gradually created the ideal system. .
That's how the production line solidified, and in order to create opportunities for everyone to try them on, we started holding pop-up stores at department stores and other locations nationwide.
Department store quality standards
Department stores strive to ensure that customers can purchase high-quality products with peace of mind.
We have strict quality standards.
Perhaps because shoe manufacturers in Kobe were good at mass-producing low-priced chemical shoes, there were many cases where the products did not meet the standards and were returned.
However, thanks to that, we were able to review and improve our processes and inspection standards, and we were able to manufacture each pair of shoes with quality that met department store standards.
I can't meet the deadline
At the time, it was rare to find products that could be easily made to order, so we received more orders than we expected.
And in fact, if you try to mass-produce each pair of shoes with different specifications, you will face a number of problems that reconfirm the difficulty.
There were times when I was scolded by stores and customers for not being on time for delivery, and I had to head to the Kanto region just to deliver a pair of products.
Every time such a problem occurred, we created rules and systems to eliminate errors as much as possible, and solved them one by one, and we were able to achieve stable manufacturing.
Updated based on customer feedback
I regularly visit stores because I would like to hear directly from customers, and I often hear of customers not only worrying about shoes, but also wanting to wear pumps.
In order to fulfill that wish, we value the opinions of our products and use them to improve our services and product development.
For example, "I want a strap so that it won't come off easily."
"Thick heels are good", "Soft lining is better", etc.
We have made it possible to select options to meet the different needs of each customer.
In addition to improving the comfort of our shoes, we are gradually increasing the number of sizes available in order to reduce the number of customers who feel sorry for coming to our store.
 No choice
There were a lot of voices saying that they compromised and endured when choosing shoes. I felt that I wanted more customers to enjoy choosing shoes.
 There was a shoe I liked, but it was discontinued
I found a pair of shoes that I was satisfied with, but when I tried to buy the same pair of shoes, they were no longer available in stores. The stock of shoes sold in stores varies, and due to the distribution system, there are few stores that can answer which factory they are making and which wooden pattern they are using. I felt that there were many customers who were disappointed when they couldn't understand most of the cases when they asked if they wanted shoes with that type of footwear at the store. So, at KOBE YOKUTSUTEN, I wanted to do the manufacturing in-house.
→  I really want to wear pumps
Recently, I've been wearing sneakers or things with low heels, but I really want to wear heels. However, for various reasons (my feet have become deformed due to age, I can't wear unstable shoes because I have a child, I feel very uncomfortable with blisters, I get tired easily, etc.), I can't wear commercially available products. , There were many voices saying that they just didn't wear them because they didn't have shoes to wear. One thing that left a deep impression on me was a woman in her 70s who came to the store after seeing the announcement and wondering if she could wear it. She likes fashion and didn't like Mrs.'s design, so she had compromised until now. Also, a female in her teens who can only wear lace-up shoes bought shoes that were about 3 cm larger than her foot size when she measured them. Because the instep was thin, it seemed that I repeatedly fell forward and felt the toe tight and increased the size. When I tried wearing shoes with narrow insteps, they were perfect.
The Future of KOBE YOKUTSUTEN
→ For each design, we are still making improvements to make it better, referring to customer feedback and our own senses.
Development costs money, but we want to provide products that are really good and loved for a long time.
Custom order (semi-order?) as a matter of course
→I would like to increase the range of items and spread D2C know-how like our company so that custom orders can be made a matter of course.
We want to create an environment where customers can enjoy choosing shoes from many options without stress.