Muji is a Japanese retail company which sells a wide variety of household goods. Its earth-friendliness and no-logo policy make it popular among the youth. In fact, a friend of mine in Xiamen even flied to Shanghai to buy some Muji skin care products.
The company opened its first shop in Beijing this year, located inside Joy City Plaza of the famous Xidan area. Inside I found goods ranging from pens, notebooks, apparel, and even appliances.
A trademark of the company is inventive uses for materials that might otherwise have been discarded or ignored. This result in products made from recycled materials and sold at low prices. For example, a 10-pack envelop made with recycled paper cost only RMB 10 to 20.
Shop assistant could not speak English. However, the price tags are clear, and you can't bargain.
What I Appreciate:
What Customer Appreciate:
No expensive packaging, earth-friendliness products
Once there was a group of young artists who wished to show the world their skills. So they decided to open a shop. After a while, they wanted to do something unique. So they decided to open a handmade notebook shop. Thus, ¡°Xing Mu Shou Gong¡± (May the Mu Family Prosper in English) was born.
I visited its outlet near the famous Drum Tower on the Slanted Pipe Lane.
A young man greeted me. He introduced himself as one of the partners who opened the shop. As we chatted, it was clear that these young people were incredibly passionate about their work. They designed everything inside, from the products to the entrance to the walls. They spent so much time, that it has become their second home.
I flipped through the shop¡¯s guestbook. The majority of writings contained message from visitors. The rest are responses from the shop owners, so the guestbook communicates both ways.
The young men who opened the shop made all the products themselves, including notebooks, clocks, pens, and bags. For notebooks, they use natural brown paper and cowhide, with various sizes and designs. Most patterns are Chinese folk style.
The notebooks all have an old-fashioned look. They look simple, yet very original.
Customers may ask for custom designs. For example, you may bring a photo to put on the cover of a custom notebook. Prices are affordable, generally from RMB 15 to RMB 300.
What I appreciate:
Old-fashioned feel of the notebooks
What customers appreciate:
Unique product, custom orders, guestbook
Those of us who keep journals or diaries can be pretty picky when it comes to picking out the right notebook. And that is where Xingmu Handicrafts comes in. This shop offers over a hundred types of handmade notebooks, all made from craft paper with a single cotton thread binding the pages.
You can tell that the three shop founders are very passionate about Chinese paintings from the book covers. The pictures on the cover, all drawn by the shop owners themselves, look absolutely amazing with designs based on Chinese brush-painting and paper-cutting. The top selling notebook has a Beijing opera mask on the cover. Definitely a unique design that you can enjoy looking at every day.
The price for a common notebook is RMB 10, while even the most expensive notebook costs only RMB 30. The guys can speak a little English, and can certainly talk to you about their designs.
What I appreciate
Notebooks with various covers
What customers appreciate
Great looking covers
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