Sumida Edo Kiriko Museum, Hirota Glass Craft Ltd.
Hirota Glass Craft Ltd. span off in 2004 from Hirota Glass Co., Ltd. which has a history of more than 100 years since its foundation. The aim of the spin-off was to initiate retailing with a target set to general consumers by opening "Sumida Edo Kiriko Museum", a direct sales channel attached to our craft studio. Then, after new products were created one after another, our product line-ups have now gone beyond classic tableware to various interior products. Such widened ideas are “thanks to our being in Sumida City,” says Tatsuo Hirota, the third generation manager. We quested for the reasons for this.
Its parent Hirota Glass Co., Ltd. has been persistently wholesaling its own glass-made tableware to department stores and wholesalers since its inception in 1899. However, after peaking in around 1996-97, sales dropped sharply to two thirds in only 5-6 years due to a recession following the bubble economy. Thus founded was Hirota Glass Craft as an arm specialized in retail, poised to sell directly to general consumers. This means we started retailing for the first time in the 105th year since its foundation. We of course wondered at the beginning whether product line-ups could remain unchanged and how we should advertise ourselves at all, etc. Then we found Sumida’s recognition system for "Sumida atelier shop."
A atelier shop means a direct sales store attached to a craft studio. When approved by Sumida City, maintenance and refurbishing costs for the shop are partly subsidized and the City publicizes it both inside and outside the City. We were approved in our inception year 2004 and this encouraged us significantly. Especially big impacts were from the “Special Week,” one of the 3M Campaign* events, held by the City every year. It is like an industry exhibition where City’s officially approved manufacturers display products and we have many visitors acquainted with attractiveness of Edo Kiriko, receiving great response from them. Since then, our shop has become widely known thanks to personal communications and media reports, which has driven our retail business to take off.
*Note: 3M Campaign is an initiative that Sumida City started in 1985. 3M implies Museums, Meisters and Manufacturing shops (studio shops). Connecting these "3 Ms" organically, the City aims to boost PRs of its industries, its own images and vitalizing the region.
The Sumida atelier shop also hosts workshops among approved companies. Sometimes new products are born in such occasions. Last year, for example, we created a “byobu (folding screen) studded with Edo Kiriko in a tie-up project with Kataoka Byobu Store by the Narihirabashi bridge in the City. The byobu attracted a lot of attention and was highly appreciated when exhibited at the "Tokyo Traditional Crafts Challenge Award" contest sponsored by Tokyo City. Besides, new ideas have been brought out one after another, such as developing a door oshi-ita （a shallow decorative alcove）crafted with Edo Kiriko (photo below = Sumida Edo Kiriko Museum）and an Edo Kiriko crystal tower resembled to TOKYO SKY TREE ®. This is also thanks to a lot of stimulation received through meetings with other businesses cultivated in Sumida City
In 2010, we won an approval of Sumida Brand Certificate "Sumida is Modern*" with “Edo Kiriko ‘sui (chic) and waza (craftsmanship) series’” developed by us and colored with black and red (photo below). For Edo Kiriko, many colors including red, indigo, Edo-murasaki (purple) and amber have been used but black has never been used in its long history. In our challenge for the “Sumida Brand,” we decided to develop a black color which was said to be impossible and it was this product it took a half year to create.
Sumida’s every certificate system is what inspires company’s ambitions. We believe that is why many manufacturers have still been working hard. This belief may explain our being at present is “truly thanks to our location in Sumida”.
*Note: Sumida brand certificate "Sumida is Modern" is a Sumida City’s initiative to certificate products created by local companies, aiming to generate/appeal Sumida’s attractiveness such as through developing products to be used by a lot of consumers. It was launched in 2010.
Address: 2-10-9, Taihei, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Address: 2-10-9, Taihei, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Phone: + 81-3-3623-4148