When Los Angeles-headquartered guitar-maker Fender announced Tokyo’s Harajuku district as the location for its first-ever flagship store, it was the realization of a long held aspiration on two fronts — retail, and a consumer-facing Japan presence.

President for Asia-Pacific Edward Cole, who gained a reputation as a “rock ‘n’ roll” CEO when working for the American fashion house Ralph Lauren, has been pushing for Fender to branch into retail in Tokyo since he joined the musical instruments brand some nine years ago.

From a meeting room at Fender’s office adorned with paintings, custom guitars and cushy furnishings, Cole, a musician himself, breaks down the business play.