A sweet brush fairy tale in Japan – Final Chapter: Koyudo
Koyudo was the last planned manufacture visit during my Kumano adventure. If you aren’t yet a happy owner of a Koyudo brush, you may be wondering if they are really clever or if they are just here to be cute…
When you see very fun and cute brushes you don’t necessarily associate them with efficiency or great quality, you throw a suspicious look at them and wait for others to step first … Am I right ?
I was apprehensive until I tried them, (thank you Nikoleta)… and after my first order I was so pleasantly surprised that I needed to try more… then the situation got out of control but I am no good at showing self-control anyway and I never will As a result, today Koyudo have a special place in my heart – and my wallet…
I sent them an email asking if I could visit their manufacture, they simply replied “Please come to Koyudo. It is waiting.” OK…. so I guess I should just go there and knock at their door, right ?
Actually I was a bit concerned because although the told me they were waiting I wasn’t sure they would speak English or that I would be arriving at the right place or who I would meet. Koyudo communications don’t always appear the most friendly since they are kept to their minimum but beware, this is not because they are not friendly, as you will see, just like their brushes they are insanely sweet and funny. If the language wasn’t a barrier you would be amazed by their energy and their kindness. Believe me, they are just on the mysterious side because there is a language barrier that is sometimes a blocking point. On the other hand, you can’t really blame them, they do the effort to offer international shipping despite that barrier and they really try their best. Just remember that even though sometimes it’s a painful long wait for your ordered brushes to be made, rest assured, the pain is worth the wait.
I had to meet them at 2:30pm, when we knocked at the door I was still with my friend Yumie but she was going to leave, Yumie spoke to them in Japanese and I just prayed for them to remember I had an appointment. Well, guess what ? They certainly hadn’t forgotten about it, they welcomed me like a vip queen they were excited like little bees and I was blown away, I felt so much happiness and movement going on around me that I was overwhelmed, I didn’t know who I was meeting, who they were exactly… There is no way I can remember their names, I did ask them by email so when I’ll get their reply I will update this post if I made a mistake. My apologies for that
When I arrived, the manager came to say hello, Mr Seiji Uematsu. Then they suggested we took the car and went to the manufacture.
It’s not at the same location, just a short car ride from the offices but when we got there the manufacture was funny and cute, like a little pink box…
In a way, their personalities fit very well with the brand, you have no idea what to expect and when you get to know them you are in awe
Koyudo has been established in 1979 and today they produce more than 100’000 pieces a month. When you walk along their production site you see them very calm but very active, concentrated, they told me their cat’s paw is hand-sculpted and to make one it takes 2 days… They have several type of goat hair, some brushes are softer than others, it will depend on the model and the function. One of the very first brushes I got from them is the “White Mushroom“, looks like heaven, feels like angel hair. If I take the brush and do a survey on the street, I don’t think : 1) they would believe it’s goat 2) they would stop patting it !
It’s all very clean and organized, I was happy to be able to see them at work but every time I was spotting new brushes I wanted to run, get close to them and check out those brushes !
They also manufacture calligraphy brushes but what makes them stand out is their creativity, funny shapes with extreme good quality and material, all that combined together for our wildest dreams
I was driven to the manufacture in this car with the Koyudo advert at the back, it felt surreal I was telling to myself “omg I am in a Koyudo car!!!”
After the manufacture visit, we came back to their office, in the next picture -I hope I am not mistaken-, is Nakatani. She was smiling all the time, making sure I was fine, so energetic and funny. Shame I couldn’t speak Japanese because I was really sad not to be able to ask them many questions and to talk more in details about their brushes and also about themselves.
If you don’t think they could be touching with just a simple message… well think again :
Nakatani handed me this message just before she had to leave, she didn’t speak English, obviously she managed to write it while I was having tea with her colleagues. I found that really sweet and I am sure anyone would appreciate this
So I was sitting there with them, drinking tea and playing with their beautiful brushes, how could that not be paradise for a brush lover ? I didn’t know where to look, I wanted to hold them all at once I needed at least two days in front of this cabinet, but I had only minutes… well, it looked like minutes… but I may have been there hours…
I saw many brushes that I hadn’t seen before, I told you before that I was going to be a nice girl and be wise and not buy many brushes during my trip… yeah… well that didn’t happen. I was naughty, a more evil version of the Gollum, the only limit to my purchase was my budget because if I could I would have left with the contents of the whole cabinet (and more).
Some more beauties…
The material is just the best, you cannot imagine it can get any better at all, since I love long handle brushes I think that if they had made them with longer handles it would even be better for me. It’s probably my only regret.
I want so many of these ! I had a second brain crash when I had to chose which ones I could take with me, the main problem was also that some were not even available yet, therefore I had to give up on them.
Kabuki world… maybe you don’t really like kabukis, since I discovered the “White Mushroom” and some of their Kabuki beauties I do… Just keep in mind that not all have the same softness, some are softer than others.
When I was leaving I saw Mr Kawasaki working on the packaging… I just wanted to stay there and play with every single brush ! Wherever I looked I could see brushes
Mr Nishimoto from Koyudo asked me if I had something planned for the evening, since I was free of course, they took me out for dinner ! We were 5, Mr Nishimoto, Mr Kawasaki, Katou, Reina and me. I was supposed to take care of myself in this typical restaurant, prepare my food, cook it, but I had no clue what to do, so at the end they had to cook for me
Here with Reina on the left and Katou on the right. Reina is Katou’s daughter. I loved to talk to Reina, she was explaining and showing me on her phone what music she loved and what she loved to do on her freetime, she dances hip hop… Korean hip hop of course… ! we had so much fun, she goes to school in Hiroshima so she joined us for dinner, Mr Nishimoto was translating and I enjoyed so much our evening.
Katou works at Koyudo, I cannot even describe how kind she was, how caring, always making sure I was all right. I will never forget them !
The pics have been taken with the phone so the quality is terrible and just a few were saved
So… onto the brushes… because you may want to see what came with me ?
As you can imagine, I left with a few brushes… I was given a big discount on some of them, that’s why I could afford so many.
These are the ones that are (or were) officially available. The Mickey brush is not available anymore but I wanted it for a long long time, unfortunately when I first placed my order some months ago they told me it was not available for export (Walt Disney regulations). My first brush question was “Can I buy the Mickey one ?” I love it so much, the quality is stunning and the hair, although at the outside it looks to be thicker hair, it is incredibly soft, does not poke at all, I am delighted.
The BP018 is the kind of blush brushes you just want to have. It has been on my shopping cart for ages but my cart was always too full so I had to chose. This time when I saw it in person, I couldn’t let it go !
The BP036 is a must have too, same softness than the Shu Uemura 5R. For detailed crease work or placing of product, no fall out whatsoever, very pleasant on delicate skin. Seriously, go for it if you are looking for this kind of brush.
The Fu-Pa01 is the white version of the first black Fu-Pa01, although the black one is very soft, the white one is softer, appropriate for liquid foundation, the hair seems at first too soft (silk-like) for blending foundation but it actually works very well , I don’t need to finish the application with a more rough one to really give an airbrushed finish. Specially at this moment since I am having little health problems, well basically it’s just migraines but very very painful where I can’t even touch the skin on my face, applying make up with extreme soft brushes is the only way I can manage a make up routine and I am so lucky I have the softest
These are the brushes that are not available right now, the top one is the LSY901, then there are two little ones with a special flower design. If they become available I’ll let you know.
As you can see the blush brush is similar to the one from their set but it’s not the same, I don’t know which one I prefer yet, if I had to choose I think I would prefer the head of the BP018 (denser) and the handle of the red one.
I can share with you some pics of their catalog, just for you to browse, if you have any specific question about the brushes in the pics below, just tell me in the comments, I have plenty of these brushes and I may be able to help if you need some precise info.
I apologize for the quality of the pics, my migraines are not helping and I don’t have the courage and energy of taking them again, but I still wanted to share this beautiful adventure with you.
That’s it for the manufacture visits… I hope it was interesting for you, for me it was a life-changing trip.
After this post I’ll have a lot of reviews to publish ! Not only the products I have bought in Japan but some holy grails that I have been using recently