Episode of Ohukuro product development & manufacturing

In this page, we are introducing “Ohukuro”, the charm cover which you can take the charm, which won the prize in equalto award 2014 and has been manufactured in the specified nonprofit corporative community works (reginal workplace hana). For more information about the development / manufacturing episode of “Ohukuro”, We asked a staff there and Ms.Tada in hana, and designer Mr. Iwata.


Could you tell us how you came up with the idea and concept of this product you designed?

Mr. Iwata: I was wearing a charm(omamori) on my daily bag but when I wore suits, the color of charm like pink or gold didn’t fit the style. Charm basically uses bright colors so I thought there are many people who have the same concern. This idea made me come up with “Ohukuro”, the cool cover for the charm. The concept “protecting charm in a cool cover” was designed for all generations. I thought it should be in use for variety of people. I applied to equalto award since they have clear objective and business content so I felt I could suggest the idea that fits this award.

equalto team staff: Cover for charm is quite rare. So it’s a product born from your awareness in your daily life.

To what point did you pay attention while developing the product?

Mr.Iwata: It was important to have the perspective of “Service-users in hana* are able to participate to the production?” while considering design. So I considered the condition of workplace such as resources in terms of people or facility. Also I tried to make the producing process easy by making production process and material simple.

*People with disabilities working in regional workplace called hana

Mr. Tada: Since we have manufactured cloth items in the regional workplace hana, using leather was already a challenge. Ohukuro is made with felt and leather on the surface and the back side is all leather. The process of making holes in leather and sewing leathers together requires accuracy so that service-users are working hard like craftsmen. I also got to check how the leather products are made when I go shopping in my daily life.

Mr. Iwata: The way of work that service-users and staffs manufacture the product was completely full of craftsmanship! They pursuit the quality of product and have high conscience as manufacturer.

Mr. Tada: Although it seems simple product but it has more than 10 process such as sewing/putting together/polishing etc. 5 to 8 service-users are in charge for each process of manufacturing. In order to complete one product, many people get involved, discuss and proceed with teamwork while making use of each specificity.

Staff A: It was first time for me to handle leather product so I practiced a lot of sewing on leather. Those process does not allow to retake so I pay much attention on detail.

euqlato team staff: Giving ideas and considering work process….. There were many challenges before it finishes.


Did you have particular persistence regarding the material of Ohukuro?

Mr. Iwata: At first, I chose the color that can be used by people of various generation and chose only one leather which can be used for a long time. Later, we considered combination with other material and I selected the sort of felt and color. We put felt and leather change on one side so that it should be more fun to compare both. The color of thread was selected in terms that the color of leather material will be enhanced.

equalto teawm staff: So the design and material changed during the product development. How exciting!

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Finally, do you have a message to the product “Ohukuro” and its customers?

Mr. Tada: Charm is something that contains the wish of the holder so I wish Ohukuro could protect it. It will be my pleasure if you could use it for a long time and hand them to your family and beloved ones.

Staff A: There are many colors in Ohukuro and looks very cute so I hope many people can use it daily.

Mr. Iwata: Although leather material had actually trouble during development, I could finish to design this product till the end with the help of many people. This product has many thoughts a lot. I wish people who took in hand will feel familiar with this.

equalto team staff: Ohukuro has various effort and feeling of various people. It will be our pleasure if many people could take it in their hands.



Kenji Iwata

Born in Aichi prefecture in 1983

After graduating from the Chukyo University Information Science Division, I will go around Nagoya, Tokyo and study design

Started design activities in Aichi Prefecture from April 2010 throughout the country

I designed the concept to make daily life more fun and gorgeous

equalto award 2014 Winning Excellence Award


Cover to protect amulets

Designed by Kenji Iwata

2,400yen (Incl,Tax 2,592yen)

Production facility introduction

Production facility introduction

Regional workshop hana