Imagine you wanted to make your chalk so appealing… build a brand that appeals to the users so much that professors will start hoarding it like meth and start dealing it in secret… that it will become a cult classic. One that makes a professor (of Mathematics!) say that he is convinced they are made from angel tears? And a mini documentary will be made that will be watched by 18 million people!
Hagoromo chalks are made in Japan (of course they are).
Imagine you’re sitting in your small chalk factory at home… I mean it’s just boring old chalk. Imagine how insecure you will feel when you plan it out.
Does this mean the Hagoromo founder definitely planned the whole thing and meant all this to happen? Not necessarily. And even if he had, could he have had the confidence that things would definitely turn out this way? No, he would have been stupid (without knowing what we know now) and insane to think he could become that. Think about all the other chalks available in the USA, and around the world.
Let’s analyze how and why it actually happened. Firstly, the quality of the chalk. It surely must be silky smooth and super consistent. If you’ve ever used bad chalk, then you know how bad it can make you feel. Chalk that writes inconsistently, doesn’t stick to the board, and the worst are the ones that make the screeching noise.
And the fact that they were made in Japan presumably added to the romance. Japan is known for their craftsmanship and attention to detail.
In the video, the professors talk about how the chalk makes them feel confident. And someone says it feels like you can’t write a wrong theorem with it. But, why does it matter? They’re professors after all — masters in their field. Shouldn’t they feel super confident about what they teach, regardless of what chalk they use? Students on the other hand are known to feel insecure about not understanding lessons. But that feeling of confidence matters. When you press that piece of chalk on the board and it writes ever so smoothly and precisely, it makes a difference. It’s like the feeling you get from walking on hardwood floor wearing dress shoes (and a full suit). It makes you feel powerful. And it is because that feeling is so powerful that this chalk became what it is. A piece of chalk itself seems very insignificant because of its size. But when you think about it, it is the instrument that helps to put out content created by highly qualified academics, and consumed by
By the way, I would have guessed having people buying your products in bulk to hoard would save you from going bankrupt. But maybe that was not enough.
They say they’re remaking them in Korea. And one professor says now he regrets hoarding them because they turned out to be not so rare after all. But I bet the Korean ones don’t feel just as good as the original ones. And if he did not have a few years supply of the original chalk at home, he might regret not buying them from the original company. The Korean ones could be identical to the original ones, but knowing that they are not, can make them less appealing to some people.
One of the main reasons chalk and chalkboards have survived markers and whiteboards is the tactile sensation and feedback it gives to its user.