Traditional Japanese Wajima-Nuri lacquerware specialist Wajima Kirimoto uses Neat devices to offer customers worldwide a more tactile, up-close and personal online presentation of its beautiful artisan products.
For over 200 years, the Wajima Kirimoto family business has produced wood and lacquer products in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. Wajima Kirimoto’s creations range from Wajima lacquerware to furniture and architectural interior design, portraying moments of tranquility.
Pre-pandemic, Wajima Kirimoto promoted and sold its products directly through galleries, shops, and department stores. However, like millions of other businesses worldwide, Wajima Kirimoto had to find new ways to survive, thrive and drive its business when government lockdowns kicked in.
After initially using Insta-live, Taiichi Kirimoto, 7th generation, began Wajima Kirimoto’s remote sales activities. But Kirimoto found that the time, effort, manpower, and accuracy of Insta-live’s audio and video weren’t enough to provide a good enough customer experience for its service-minded goals.
At the same time, an acquaintance of Taiichi Kirimoto, a loyal Neat customer and champion of our devices, Ms. Masuda, manager of the IKEUCHI Organic Kyoto store, introduced him to Neat (watch our IKEUCHI Organic video).
As a result, in July 2023, Wajima Kirimoto created a shop designed around our most powerful video conferencing bar, Neat Bar Pro, opening its Urushi Studio Main Store in Wajima’s city center as a base for its remote customer service, and has flourished ever since.
By combining Zoom with Neat Bar Pro and a 65-inch monitor, Wajima Kirimoto can better connect with overseas customers and hold more naturally engaging remote meetings with business partners and suppliers.
Neat Bar Pro and its automatic framing function allow me to present products throughout our store to new customers online without help. The high-precision image quality means I can show them subtle product or sample colors and textures like never before. Plus, the audio output’s so good that I can still hear people clearly, even far from the device.Taiichi Kirimoto, Wajima Kirimoto, 7th generation
Clearer, more tactile product presentations
The high-definition audio and video quality on Neat Bar Pro enables Taiichi Kirimoto to give clear, uninterrupted product presentations, all the while feeling as though he’s engaging with customers right there in Wajima Kirimoto’s Urushi (color lacquer) studio workshop and main store.
Before, the colors and textures of the lacquerware were difficult to convey over video. But, with Neat Bar Pro, Taiichi Kirimoto and Wajima Kirimoto’s Vice President, Ms. Junko Kirimoto, can realistically show even the subtlest details.
Now they can give customers and business partners a far more tactile experience and a more significant grasp of Wajima Kirimoto’s products, almost as if those customers and business partners are physically in the store.
Better yet, Taiichi Kirimoto and Ms. Junko Kirimoto discovered that the clarity of Neat Bar Pro’s cutting-edge capabilities culminated in developing a close, personal connection with many of their online clients. Consequently, they and their customers felt already closely acquainted when people could finally travel to Japan and visit them in Wajima.
The clarity of Neat Bar Pro created a personal connection with many of our overseas customers during our video meetings. So, when they finally visited our store, it was as if we already knew each other, and there were hugs all around.Ms. Junko Kirimoto, Vice President, Wajima Kirimoto
Encouraging others to set up video-enabled spaces
Taiichi Kirimoto is a Wajima Lacquer Revival Project Executive Committee member, thus involved in the renaissance of Wajima lacquer, serving as the Wajima Creative Design School president. The Wajima Creative Design School supports young managers and other creators of traditional Japanese Wajima-Nuri lacquerware in Wajima.
Besides that, he also organizes Wajima Kogei Sando, where artists and buyers can interact to promote Wajima lacquerware, tourism in Wajima, and sales of artists’ works.
In turn, Taiichi Kirimoto and his family’s efforts inspire other craftspeople to set up video-enabled spaces for people to watch them work, thereby keeping the time-honored custom of creating Wajima lacquerware alive long into the future.
Neat Bar Pro has enabled us to create a live commerce experience where people can get a realistic one-on-one explanation of Wajima lacquerware from me that’s just for them. In that sense, the device is more than just a video conferencing system. It’s a tool that lets us feel closer to our customers, no matter where they are.Taiichi Kirimoto, Wajima Kirimoto, 7th generation
Discover the beautiful Wajima-Nuri lacquerware lovingly crafted by Wajima Kirimoto
Find out more about Neat’s pioneering devices or see them in action in our “always on” Virtual Demo – Neat Devices and Experiences webinar. Better yet, book a demo.
On Jan 1, 2024, a massive magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit the Noto Peninsula (Ishikawa Prefecture, west coast of Japan), where the Kirimoto family lives.
Thankfully, the earthquake didn’t kill or seriously injure any Kirimoto family members, relatives, or employees. Still, the fires it sparked burned down or destroyed the houses of Wajima Kirimoto’s owner, Taiichi Kirimoto, and some of his employees’ properties.
At the time of writing, Wajima Kirimoto has resumed online sales of its remaining stock. However, among the devastation, the earthquake badly damaged some of Wajima Kirimoto’s Urushi studio’s machinery and tools, so they need repairing or replacing to continue production as soon as possible.
We at Neat would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to the many people who died or got injured from the earthquake’s impact and knock-on effects and to anyone else left homeless or whose businesses have suffered. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all!