ーーWhen did you start with Kurabo?
Nakano I've been a proud part of Kurabo for ten years now
ーーWhy did you choose Kurabo?
Nakano One of my first jobs was at a retail shop as an apparel salesperson often handling jeans, and I was interested in denim.When I was looking for a job after college, I met a respected executive from the fashion/textile world.I heard about Kurabo and learned that this denim mill had the longest history of producing denim in Japan.I chose to pursue a position with Kurabo because they use the best cotton, and spin their own yarn andI knew that I could learn so much and also take pride in representing such a company.
ーーWhat is your current position with Kurabo?
Nakano Promoting and selling our denim fabric to oversea customers.
ーーMainly to which country?
Nakano I was in charge of Europe till a while ago, but recently it changed to USA.
The interview file #1. Mitsuo Nakano who is flying around the world for fabric promotion.
Mitsuo Nakano, is an ambitous young salesperson sharing about the legacy of Kurabo denim - Kurabo denim is positioned at the forefront of the fashion industry.Nakano took time out of his busy schedule to talk frankly about Kurabo, about his personal experience, and about the history of the highly respected denim brand.
The beginning with Kurabo.
＜I was in charge of Europe till a while ago, but recently it changed to USA.＞
ーーWhen did you start with Kurabo?
＜I also love the variation of food in Hong Kong＞
ーーIs your base in Japan?
Nakano Yes, usually I'm contacting to customer by mail or phone.I'm traveling to US about once per month to work with our US representative Artisan Cloth.
ーーWhich city do you go in US?
Nakano Mainly LA and NY.
ーーDo you have any problem speaking English?
Nakano This s not a problem as I speak english in business and in my normal daily life.I studied English from an early age, and also went to a university specializing in foreign language.I was also able to spend 6 months studying in Canada and Spain.It was a great opportunity to study foreign language and culture.
ーーYou have a lot of experience traveling the world. What is your favorite countly to visit?
Nakano I often go to US and Europe in business, but my favorite is Hongkong. Actually I have been there for 6 years.
ーーWhat is your favorite thing about visiting Hongkong?
Nakano It was easy for me because it was close to Japan.There are so many sourcing offices for global apparel brands, and foreigners to meet.I also love the variation of food in Hong Kong. I can go out for Japanese food and it's the same quality and taste as Japan
Nakano san frequently travels with a large bag full of a variety of jeans and denim innovation.
＜"AQUATIC" which is a denim that doesn't fade＞
ーーWhat type of customers do you work with?
Nakano I'm promoting denim fabric, so my main customers are jeans brands primarly..However, one of Kurabo's new innovations is called "AQUATIC" which is a denim that doesn't fade.So Aquatic is a great alternative for jeans, hats, and caps but it's also perfect for sofa covers, place mats and so on.So, it's becoming an exciting option for upholstery, and other markets and I'm excited to promote this globally.
＜Overseas clients are usully specific with a "yes" or "no" about fabric choices.＞
ーーWhats the difference when meeting clients in Japan vs an overseas customer?
Nakano Normally Japanese meetings start by exchanging name cards, and everyone is very polite..Oversea customers start with a hand shake hand and it's a more casual setting.If a customer starts with a hug to be more friendly, sometimes it makes me a bit nervous becausein Japan we don't have this culture. (LOL)Also overseas clients are usully very specific with a "yes" or "no" about fabric choices.So I always feel very clear on the customer direction and interest.
＜I'm usually bringing 2-3 large bags full of various denim samples＞
ーーHow many items are you developing?
Nakano Sometimes we end up with over 200 denim fabrics at an expo, even after consolidating.The amount of fabric qualities Kurabo has developed historically is infinite.
ーーWow so many?
Nakano I'm usually bringing 2-3 large bags full of various denim samples and many times the bags are overweight based on airline requirements.Traveling with so many bags, I am also frequently required to go through an extra inspection at customs.
＜I love salt and pepper denim.＞
ーーWhat is your favorite type of denim or characteristic for denim?
Nakano I love salt and pepper denim.After washing, fabric shrinks, and a marbling effect happens called "salt and pepper" in the industry.to Japanese customer, most people understand as "shibo-shibo denim".It is difficult to explain to someone who doesn't know jeans production.But I've been focusing to promote this kind of fabric since I was charge of EU business.
ーーCan you develop this "salt & pepper" characteristic in denim?
Nakano Yes, Kurabo has been a specialist in yarn spinning for 130 years, so we have special techniques to create many characteristics in our yarn which results in very special fabrics.
ーーDo most people in the fashion industry love "kurabo denim" ?
Nakano Yes. I'm proud of Kurabo senior management for what they have do with our company.Kurabo is the 1st company to industrialize Japanese denim fabric in 1973.We have been supporting and developing fabrics for 40 years for brand partners around the world.We have taken our many years of experience to establish very strict quality control referred to as "Kurabo Standard".Kurabo Standard" has allowed us to consistently offer the highest quality of fabric to our clients.
The unique nature of denim development.
＜We can make a large variety of appearances . ＞
ーー What do you enjoy the most about denim development?
Nakano We can make a large variety of appearances with our many yarn innovations.We are developing fabric from yarn with uneven structure, dyed, woven, and finished.We always review the quality before washing - and when our customers apply their creative washing we get very excited to see even more unique characteristics from the fabric.
＜Working with denim provides vast opportunties for different looks.＞
ーーDo you also fail to develop?
Nakano Of course. Sometimes I can not get what I expected.But there is always something interesting to learn that we can improve on the next time. Working with denim provides vast opportunties for different looks.Even when we make a mistake, sometimes it is actually an interesting result that someone likes.
ーーDo you have anything you'd like to share with your customers?
Nakano I am so happy to share my experience and knowledge with my customers.Any time we can provide information or tools to our clients to help them succeed is a pleasure.I'd like to support my customers with great fabric and in any other ways that I can.
Motto：First of all,Think normally