Recap: last November, I was invited to visit the Shiseido Factory in Kakegawa, Japan. The first part involved a visit to the test facility for raw materials - I saw how Shiseido is currently studying how best to produce their own ingredients. They've built a self-contained unit where they can design the most beneficial environment to grow plants, and hopefully branch out to farming them in bulk in the near future!
We've seen their plans, but this time I'll give you a general view of what they currently make and how they make it in the Kakegawa factory. I don't have a lot of pictures since some areas are naturally restricted, but I figured I can still tell you what I saw.
After the tour of the test facility, Jen (the brand manager of Shiseido Philippines) and I were ushered into a lecture room. Here, two kind ladies gave us a presentation about the factory. They also did some demos on how foundation is made!
So how does Shiseido come up with its awesome beauty products? First, they research and develop new technologies. What do the customers need? How can they better improve on what they already make? Once that's been determined and formulated in their dedicated research centers, the products are tested by a team of experts. Shiseido, as far as I know, does not do animal testing unless required by law. Most if not all products and ingredients are evaluated on human skin.
Once the products pass a rigorous testing system, they are manufactured in the factories and then shipped out to stores. Foundation, powder, lipstick, and eyeshadow are just some of the cosmetics produced in Kakegawa.
I think foundation is one of the main products here. The diagram above shows how it's produced - by mixing the powder and liquid binder, placing the mixture in the compact, and then pressing it down with a heavy metal object (I didn't catch the name!).
Here's how it looks like:
My first visit to Japan last July was all about experiencing Shiseido's 140-year old heritage and consummate love for art. You saw how the brand evolved through the years and how it looks like today. You've read about the Shiseido Museum in Kakegawa, the Flagship Store, and the Parlour in Ginza. Now, I'd like to show you the Shiseido factory in Kakegawa, Shizuoka!
This is an exclusive feature as I am honored to be the first beauty blogger to tour this factory. I'm grateful to Shiseido for the opportunity, because they don't normally work with bloggers; they usually go with traditional media. I'm happy that they're beginning to support this medium! ^_^
Moving along! The Shiseido Factory in Kakegawa is about an hour and forty minutes from Tokyo by bullet train. It's a sprawling complex that produces Shiseido's makeup products, among them foundation, eyeshadow, and lipstick. If I remember correctly, each building is dedicated to making only one type of makeup!
Shiseido Philippines Brand Manager, Jen Jimenez-Yalung, with myself
The background is actually a mosaic of real eyeshadows
I'll be talking more about the production aspect of the brand on Part 2 of this post. For today, I'll be discussing one of the brand's latest projects: a test facility right inside the Kakegawa complex.
You might be thinking: a test facility? What? That's boring! Guys, it's not. This is my favorite part of the factory visit, actually. The test facility is further proof of Shiseido's commitment to excellence. It was built because they want only safe and reliable plant raw materials for their active ingredients. They seek only the highest quality ingredients which are traceable to the source.
This facility is a preview of the things to come in 2014. It's only a small area for now, but the plan is to re-create it in a larger scale should it prove successful! The photo above shows a cube where various conditions like temperature, irrigation, light intensity, and carbon dioxide are controlled to get the best possible harvest.
Here's what's inside!
I have never believed in love at first sight, until I set foot in Japan. It is a country of extreme contradictions - modern with gleaming towers and newfangled inventions, yet still traditional at its core. For example, there is a 700,000-square meter forest right in the middle of Tokyo's busiest district, Shibuya, that contains a shrine to their deified emperors (Meiji Shrine). The Japanese always remember and honor their roots.
They are also obsessively practical and detailed, at least compared to the Philippines where we have a happy-go-lucky attitude towards things. But the Japanese, well, they really think of everything! They have built-in bidets in toilets that have perpetually warm seats.
The people are also always courteous, disciplined, and prompt. Go into any shop, and you'll get a smile and a hearty konnichiwa or ohayō gozaimasu! They also always walk on the left side of the road or corridor, so as not to hassle those in a hurry.
I can go on and on really. I want to regularly visit Japan as long as I'm able. That's now one of my life goals!
I thought I'd post some random photos I took during my trip last July. :) They aren't all particularly nice photos, but each one has a small story.
JAL Airline offers a LOT of yummy food! And I like that it's healthy too.
You asked for it, so here it is! I honestly didn't expect to shop this much in Tokyo. Actually, I didn't know I got this much until I photographed everything. Take note, I've already given away a lot of stuff at this point. I bought my mom a cute bag, my dad a watch, my brother a shirt and a pair of shades. Wish I took pictures as they were nice finds.
Anyway! Like I said in my travel kit post, it's sale season in Japan right now. Those that aren't on sale, however, are still affordable as long as you keep to small shops, flea markets, and drugstores - which is where I mostly shopped. By affordable I mean under P2,000 or roughly ¥4,000. I won't say how much I spent exactly, but I had to buy another huge bag just to fit everything. (Love the pink polka dots)
I got a loooot of food. I wish I bought more miso soup paste, and more Royce chocolate at the airport! And ramen. But food is so bulky. I mostly got these in Don.Ki in Ginza, which is a crazy grocery/drugstore beauty paradise that's open 24/7! You HAVE to go there when you visit Japan.
The Tokyo Banana Roar is a popular delicacy of sorts. We got ours from the train station, where people were seriously lining up.