A few days ago I was walking through drugstore retailer Ainz & Tulpe’s Harajuku store when the fabulous retro-looking packaging of Ueba Esou’s Gofun nail polish range caught my eye. That very same day, in a different part of Tokyo, I saw Gofun again; this time in a store selling traditional Japanese handicrafts. Besides the Gofun polishes, the store also carries Ueba Esou’s hand cream range – less retro-looking but equally charming. I started to research the brand and guess what – Ueba Esou isn’t a cosmetics company at all: they are a Kyoto-based manufacturer of traditional Japanese artist paints.
Tag Archives: Japanese beauty brands
I was walking around Shibuya today (my must-visit stores in this area include Cosmekitchen in Hikarie department store, the big Tokyu Hands and, of course, design depato Loft Shibuya!) and saw this interesting example of gender-specific retail: Its’ Demo is a fashion/beauty store chain aimed at an exclusively female demographic.
I first came across Kyushu-based niche beauty brand Satamisaki Organics in Japanese drugstore retailer Ainz & Tulpe’s Shinjuku East outlet this October (you can read my article about the company’s fabulous new Tokyo flagship store here!). Ainz & Tulpe has a special section on the first floor that is dedicated to local beauty brands from across Japan.
Another interesting store which Julia from Beautyjagd and I visited last week was Beauty Library in Omotesando, just off Aoyama-dori street. Beauty Library opened in June 2015 and is run by Japanese beauty company Nature’s Way.
The retail concept for Beauty Library was created by renowned Japanese design agency Nendo: a concept store presenting organic and natural cosmetics like library information, with an attached café serving healthy foods and beverages.
And Beauty Library is indeed a beautiful store with a generous glass-fronted entrance, plenty of light and free-standing wooden product shelves that really do look a bit like library shelves.
I arrived in Tokyo a couple of days ago and it’s lovely to be back! It’s also turning into a busy week again: Tokyo Design Week starts in a few days – look out for a show review soon! – and I’ve already started to check out my favourite beauty stores to see what’s been happening in the last six months.
My friend Julia from organic blog Beautyjagd is also in Tokyo at the moment and she suggested we visit the new Ainz & Tulpe drugstore across from the East Exit of Shinjuku Station. Which is what we did – and what a fabulous store it turned out to be!
During my last visit in Tokyo I had checked out a couple of smaller Ainz & Tulpe outlets in Shinjuku and Shibuya. Yes, I did notice the difference to the traditional Japanese drugstore retailers like Sun Drug, Matsumoto Kiyoshi etc. – Ainz & Tulpe stores are much more stylish with good product presentation and a modern store layout – but other than that the chain didn’t leave a lasting impression.
However, the chain’s new Shinjuku store is in a different league altogether. It was opened in July 2015 and is quite spectacular – three floors with a total retail space of 1,290 sq m. Located opposite the East Exit of Shinjuku station, close to Lumine Est department store, Ainz & Tulpe’s new Tokyo flagship offers a fabulous selection of Japanese and international beauty brands, gadgets, fragrances and something that I’ve only seen at Tokyu Hands so far: regional cosmetics from Japan. Click on the link below for a pictorial tour of the store and more info on the Ainz & Tulpe chain.
If you’re interested in organic cosmetics, a visit to Cosmekitchen (Mash Beauty Lab) is practically mandatory. It is Japan’s biggest organic beauty store chain: the first Cosmekitchen store opened in 2004 and the company currently operates 30 outlets across Japan. The majority of the stores are in the Kanto area on Honshu island.
Although the organic beauty market in Japan is growing constantly, I think it is still primarily an urban trend – I noticed that Cosmekitchen stores seem to be mostly located in larger cities. The retailer’s outlets are usually shop-in-shop areas that are based in department stores; in Tokyo, for example, five of the Cosmekitchens are situated in outlets of the Lumine department store chain.