We invited Mr. Fukuhara, who has been in charge of brush production at Brift H for a long time, and held an "Edoya Night" at our store "THE SHOESHINE AND BAR" located in Toranomon Hills. We had a great opportunity to listen to Mr. Fukuhara talk about his passion for making Edoya brushes and the secret story behind the production of his brushes.
Edoya is a long-established brush and brush company, founded in 1718 (Kyoho 3), which means 305 years ago this year. Originally, the company started as a brush maker for the Shogun's family in the Edo period (1603-1867), and with the flow of modernization, brushes were introduced from the West in the Meiji period (1868-1912), and the company began to produce brushes other than brushes.
Today, the store is still located in Nihonbashi-Odenmacho (Kodenmacho station), where the company was founded, and is a popular place for customers from all over Japan and the world to come to for high-quality brushes.
The reason why we asked Edoya to make Brift H brushes started 16 years ago, before Brift H opened, when Hasegawa, a 23 year old young man who did not know where he was going, knocked on Edoya's door. I visited Edoya without making an appointment and found that I was the one who could make the best quality brushes.
I visited them suddenly without an appointment, packed my bag full of magazines and newspapers I had come across, and with Brift H's business plan document out, I frantically talked about my vision for the store and how I wanted them to make the best brushes possible. Looking back on it now, I am ashamed to admit that I was an annoying, naive young man.
It was Mr. Fukuhara who was polite to me and listened to me attentively. After many meetings, including the development of new original brushes, we were able to display Brift H brushes made by Edoya at the opening of the new Brift H store.
The shoe brushes were originally made during the off-peak summer season to keep the craftsmen's hands free. Now it has become our best-selling product. Behind this is the unrelenting effort of our shoe polishers, who have changed the specifications many times and constantly updated them to withstand the hard use of professional shoe polishers.
The Edoya brushes are characterized by the "hand-planting" method, in which the bristles are planted one by one by craftsmen. The craftsman grasps a bundle of bristles of hairs with his hands, bends them in a V-shape, and plants them one by one into the hole of the brush with a tegus. It is very important that the bristles are planted forcefully and that the amount of bristles is optimal.
In the Brift H special order, this process is changed to iron wire, which is planted more forcefully to prevent hairs from falling out. Unlike nylon wire, this is a dangerous method that can cut the hand if done poorly, so only one craftsman is said to be able to do this.
In addition, to strengthen the hairs, Fukuhara injects water-soluble wood bond into each hole with a syringe to harden the hairs. After injecting the bond, he dries the hairs and injects a second time the next day, which is a very labor-intensive process. This makes the brushes durable enough to last for years, even if we polish dozens of pairs every day.
Finally, Mr. Fukuhara's inspection is worth mentioning. He spends about 20 minutes combing through each brush with an iron comb. After combing the bristles over and over again, any hairs that are broken or not properly planted will pop out.
These hairs are carefully extracted and cut. That's why Edoya brushes are so comfortable to use from the very beginning without any bristles falling out. I was very convinced. I was so impressed when I imagined Mr. Fukuhara inspecting the brushes with a mindless heart.
Because of these many processes to complete one brush, we can only deliver a few dozen brushes every month. We can only complete about 40 to 50 brushes each month, including horse hair, pig hair, and goat hair brushes.
We sell them on the official Brift H mail order site from 12:00 on the first day of every month, and we are currently only selling them by mail order so that we can deliver them to people all over Japan. However, many customers have told us that it is difficult for them to buy it, and that they are too busy at the beginning of the month, so we will increase the number of days we sell it starting in May!
We will start selling from 12:00 on the 1st and 15th of every month!
We will have two more chances to buy, but we will not be able to increase the stock available for sale, so please forgive us for that. We hope that customers who have had difficulty buying at the beginning of the month will take advantage of the sale on the 15th.
Good tools are essential to enjoy a comfortable shoeshine life. For us shoe polishers, too, we cannot make our shoes shine without tools. It is because we have great tools that we can concentrate on our skills and polish more shoes.
Even we, who work hard every day, use an Edoya brush for about 10 years until the bristles are worn out. Considering this, I am sure that those of you who use them at home as a hobby will be able to use them for a lifetime.
Why don't you try to get the world's best shoe brush?