2016年10月24日月曜日


Feel Limited.


Mr. Kodai Kawai






When I saw you at the very first time, you were in the middle of making a logo for one of the companies with some metallic materials. The powerful piece and your concentration for work caught my eyes. What brought you to the world of ironmongery?




My father established the ironmongery company called “Feel Ltd.” and this is the 11th term. I joined them five years ago. We handle custom order metal products for the apparel companies and restaurants, and we also handle ready made products like keys and hinges. Since we were on the position of broker at the beginning, we did not manufacture ourselves or attach products at the field. But ever since I joined them, we started these services as well.



As for the work record, we worked for Starbucks coffee, McDonald’s, Uotami under Monteroza Corporation, Saizeria, and Ueshima coffee. The latest one is Shake Shack at Gaien, Ebisu, and Tokyo International Forum.





I have joined establishing “zens” since 2014 (http://www.en.zens.tokyo/ ) which is the directorship service company of airbnb, and I worked with the current CEO, Mr. Machida and the first-class architect, Mr. Yokoyama. Our aim was “cheering up Japan”, so we put our effort on creating the most suitable space.  As through working with them, my work has been slowly acknowledged by other designers and architects, and they gave me orders. About these clients, I see the faces of people who actually use my products and I can talk to them directly.






It seems like the second generation for the company would usually get on the prepared railroad easily. But why did you decide to do something totally new and rather challenging?




I worked for the real estate company as a sales representative for several years. Before joining my father’s company, I worked for the metal processing factory for three years just to accumulate experience and knowledge. At the real estate company, we had business with some robust growing application development firms and IT start-up companies. We had high motivation and spirits towards our own firm and I was able to enjoy the life has a sense of speed.

Then I joined the completely different world “workman”. Therefore, I felt a huge gap between.



When I was working as a sales representative, there were many occasions that we cannot close deals even after spending so much time. On the other hand, there were occasions that we could easily close deals with just a little time. As for the workmen, more they work, it certainly leads to the outcome. Their life style is well-regulated and they make an honest living.



However, I have realized that I did not have any passion for the thing I made. There was no “delight” when I completed a piece. We just work consistently to make a beautiful piece and deliver it to the client. If we do not receive any complains, we are tentatively relieved. That’s it. That is why there are no feelings of “desire to improve” in the workmen. Workmen usually do not receive “good” feedbacks form the clients, and this is the reason in the root.



This is the reason that I started making variety of things in the completely different field from construction to be related with clients directly. I made some furniture for my friends with some listings after work. I sold these things at the flea market in Yoyogi park sometimes. It was the first small step for me to hand out my own pieces to the clients directly.






You have mentioned that you do not have any passion for the things you made. But as for the technique, what aspect do you pay extra attention when you are working on a piece?


I point out or propose necessary things related to the design which I receive from the designer to make it in real. As through the proposal from the workman to the designer, the image will be converted into the real. The most important things are the brain and the feeling. If you think it is impossible to make it, you can never make it. As long as the design is clearly imaged, it is possible to make it. Of course, there are things that I do not know when I have a meeting with my clients at the first time. But it is important to use your brain fully and prepare for making it possible with your feeling. In order to improve myself more, I would like to cut down the time to think and judge immediately at the first meeting.






I am conscious of making a piece close to the designer’s stand point of view. There are many moments that you want to check with the designer until it is completed. But more you check with the designer, it would not go smooth. Therefore, it is necessary for us to be able to see and understand the things at the same level as designer’s value from the beginning.

In order to do this, I ask many questions to the designer at the first meeting, and I try to read the designer’s taste and tone from his response. I apply these taste and tone to the variety of places in the process of making a piece. The great piece cannot be created if it is too much of designer-oriented nor showing myself. I have to maintain the good balance between.






What new challenge would you like to step in next?


I would like to put my effort on the development of human resources. Cultivation on the workmen’s mind is especially necessary. Most part of our mind is difficult to change once we grow up. Workmen live on the fixed routine automatically and they do not see someone’s happy at all. Therefore, their mind run low. We need to set up the state before going to this phase. Workmen’s aspiration is more important than learning high skill. How do they send their messages to others, and how do others receive their messages? How can they keep telling their fascination to others?



I would like to be the first workman who is doing something fun to engrave the milestone. I want them to feel they can find and do something new and fun rather than the limited world.





To make it possible, it would be great if people can recognize who I am based on my value. I think I can build a long lasting relationship with who understands the way how I live.

I am still struggling and wondering whether my virtue and judgement would apply for my father’s company.  But I want to keep challenging on something new without fear.

However, I do not do cheap things. We must not be too cool, and we should not look too happy when someone else looked at us. The word of “workman” gives better impression like living on the distant life rather than “CEO”. I feel worthless if it is too distant. Therefore, we add value on the basic “workman” position. “I thought you are just a simple workman, but you say something cool!” When I see this surprise, I am happy.



We are not the designer, and our work will not be completed until our clients are satisfied even though we make a beautiful piece. Therefore, all the workmen work on the pieces with stern look. I have to make workmen enjoy even though the work is restrained. We cannot make an excuse and fake with our expression.





Can you send the audience last message?


If you are bored of current job, why don’t you join us becoming a workman?



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