Sunday, May 31, 2020

Trip To Robson Leather - Two New Projects!

So it's been over 8 years since I last visited Robson Leather at their shop in Edogawa-ku, Tokyo, but from what I recall, things haven't changed much - the same high quality leather and carbon interior parts, for all types of cars - even the shop's interior looks the same...except of course for Masa Nakamura's son Daihi, fluent in English, is now around to deal with their international clients (if you message them on FB in English, you will get a proper response in English!).

I had been communicating on and off with them both since last year's Nismo Festival, when Masa proudly informed me that, after several months of negotiations and having passed Nissan's stringent requirements, Robson had finally been given a license to use Nissan's trademarks on its products.   As far as I know, they are the only shop in the aftermarket interior space with such a license.  For those of you unfamiliar with what this means, having a license means that the owner of the intellectual property (such as a patent or trademark) has entrusted certain individuals/companies the right to use such intellectual property, under certain conditions.  In most cases, licenses are given only to those who pass certain criteria, such as quality, reputation, etc.  - not anyone can get the license. Those who do use the Nissan trademark without permission are technically, stealing Nissan's property.

In any case, I had some ideas for my GT-R's interior, and despite the voluntary lockdown they agreed I could swing by for a short visit.  So last Saturday I arranged to drop in (with the Lexus) and as soon as I parked and stepped out of the car, both came out masked but with grins underneath to greet me.

I had a few things to show Masa so I unloaded the box in the rear seat and he immediately set about opening it up.

Meanwhile Daihi invited me to check out a prototype R32 GT-R office chair (it was a super used and cheap seat they bought on Yahoo Auctions - hence you can see it's actually bent!)

Still, a very comfy office chair. Hmm.... time to ditch my Herman Miller Aeron office chair?
Of course being a senior member of Nissan's legal department, I asked where the Nissan "official licensed product" tag was - while it wasn't on this chair, they did show me an actual product with the label - in this case a R32 GT-R seat headrest cover.

This means that Nissan has given permission to Robson to use the GT-R logo. 
They also showed me an R35 seat office chair - but it clearly wasn't as comfortable as the R32 seat.

After discussing my potential projects with them, this being my first visit in 8 years, I asked if I could go upstairs to check out their office. It hadn't changed much in that time, that's for sure!

So here is where customers can sit down and choose various options for their leather/alcantara/carbon fiber orders
Here you can see some of the different colored leather samples they have. On the table a craftsman was working on adding some Alcanatara to a car dashboard...
Pink steering wheel? Or light green? Gold too. No problem!
Finally, if you happen to drop in but aren't ready to place an order, you can at least walk out with SOMETHING by Robson - check out their stock of seatbelt covers, shift boots, and seat headrests...
So if you drop in and absolutely HAVE to buy something...
Clearly these guys are GT-R centric, even though when you check out their website you see lots of BMWs and Benz's (and other JDM cars, of course) with their work.

More importantly and for the purposes of my car - I can tell you that we have two projects going. One is relatively straightforward and I hope to reveal in the next few weeks. The other - I may have to bring my car in for them to take precise measurements. If we do move forward on this I will be the world's first, but it will take a few months to complete. Stay tuned!


マット said...

How exciting! Please tell us more about your plans!!
Love the photos. It's always interesting to be able to see the workshop that creates all the wonderful leather bits on my car. Thank you~

Aki said...

Hi Matt,

Very funny - but yes of course you will hear about my plans soon enough! Yeah next time in Japan I'll take you to Robson myself!

Hope you are well,