Sunday, February 22, 2009

Where to Buy? Part II

I have a few more online merchants to add to the original list. I'm sure you may have seen/heard of them already, but if you haven't, here are some more to check out :)

Ichibankao.com, Japan based
Pros:
+ Offers a wide variety of Japanese brands with good color selections, particularly the limited edition collections are always up to date
+ Guarantee authentic items
+ Prices already include international shipping fees
+ Fast shipping, 3-5 days, items are well packed and will arrive safely at your door
+ Kelly (the seller) will occasionally include freebies with larger orders
Cons:
- Gigantic markups on pretty much every brand and every item
- Does not stock discontinued or hard to find items (but you can certainly email Kelly and ask for a special order)

Facial-shop.com
, Hongkong based
Pros:
+ Offers a decent variety of Western, Japanese, and Korean brands
+ Prices already include international registered shipping, a 5% discount is given to orders with 3+ items
+ Occasionally, Vivian (the seller) will include freebies with the order
+ If you are lucky, you will find some very good deals occasionally
+ Decent shipping, 5-7 days, items are well packaged and will arrive safely at your door
Cons:
- Huge markups on pretty much every brand and every items, most definitely more expensive than Adam Beauty, a bit more expensive than Gooddealer and Sasa.com, and just a tiny bit cheaper than Ichibankao.
- Even with wide variety of brands, product and color selections are limited

Gmarket.com, South Korea based, think Korean Amazon Marketplace where you can buy Korean cosmetics, clothing, electronics, books, etc., directly from Korean merchants at Korean retail price! I haven't ordered from Gmarket before, not because I don't want to but because of technical difficulties (see the Cons), so I can't really comment much. All the information below are from what I've read about other people's experience with their ordering processes, so please don't bite my head off if I post less than correct information. For further information on Gmarket, including ordering tips and tutorials, please see the links below:
- Lotus Palace's expertise on Gmarket ordering
- Miss Muse's take on Gmarket
Pros:
+ Guaranteed authentic products
+ Paying retail prices without the middleman's markups, which translate to cheap, cheap, and very cheap Korean cosmetics!
+ The seller will usually include tons, as in heaps, of promotional freebies
Cons:
- The site only works with PCs and is MAC-hostile :(
- When you check out, you will be charged an international shipping estimate and not the actual shipping cost. This estimate will always be phenomenally high to ensure it covers the actual shipping costs (I've read $30-40 per order!!!). If the shipping is less (and it certainly will be), the extra amount will be returned to your Gmarket membership account as store credit and NOT refunded to your credit card. I don't quite like how this concept works, add in the technical difficulties in operating the site with my PowerBook, sadly I will not be purchasing from this online merchant at all, which is a shame given I've been eyeing so many Korean items...

TrueRenu.com, US based, this is my supplier of Oshima Tsubaki oils and a few other skincare, bath and body things. Of course, all the items I purchase from TrueRenu are also available else where, perhaps even your local Asian grocery store, but in my opinion TrueRenu has some of the more decent pricings, even with the shipping charges. You should always research pricings and compare merchants before buying, but if you don't really mind either way, TrueRenu is a good store to buy from :)
Pros:
+ Very fast shipping, 1-3 days, items carefully packaged and will arrive safely at your door
+ Occasional freebies are included with your order
+ English information, descriptions, and how-to-use instructions, including a list of ingredients (for those who care), is sent with each Japanese item. I find this rather nice, especially if I'm trying a new item I'm really curious about.
+ A promotional coupon is sent with every order
Cons:
- Offer a very limited number of brands and products as TrueRenu will only carry a product it deems "natural and not chemical," which in my opinion is really quite subjective and, if anything, a bit pretentious.

See my previous Where to Buy? post.

8 comments:

Citrine said...

That ichibankao's markup is crazy...It's funny that they give a 5% discount on Anna Sui purchase for 70 dollars or more, while many items are 50% to 100% more expensive than the retail price...I would rather try to get a hold of my childhood buddy, (Who is in Tokyo right now) than ordering from them...

Dalenna said...

Hi Citrine,

Yeah, I don't buy from Ichibankao unless I'm really, really, REALLY desperate to have something that I absolutely cannot buy else where or my sister can't find for me in Japan (she's not exactly shopping expert LOL). Desperate times call for desperate measures (or rather, prices), right? :D

Eka said...

I am very tempted to buy from Ichibankao because I think they're the only site that sells Canmake. Thanks for making a list of the online merchants who sell Japanese prods. I'm following you from now on. :)

Dalenna said...

Hi Eka!

You're very welcome :)

It's such a shame that not many online vendors carry Canmake, isn't it? I like Canmake a lot too and everything is so marked up at Ichibankao. The only redemption Ichibankao has are good stock and color selection.

I say that because apparently Bobodave.com stocks some Canmake items too, but also at a huge markup and with very limited stocks and color selection. What a bummer!

Citrine said...

Hey, Dalenna:

I've received the oshima tusbaki oil...(I ordered it through Amazon a few days before you put up the post ...I believed that the seller was truerenu...)

They ship fairly fast that I got in in 7 days...but they don't tell you when the item is out of stock at the time...So it took them 5 days before they finished with the "processing"

Anyway, their service isn't bad. Now I have a discount code, I wonder do you have any suggestion about what to buy next... (I know,I haven't even tried the oil yet...But from how the bottle looks, I like the stuff so far.)

Citrine

Dalenna said...

Heeeeyyy, I didn't know TrueRenu sells through Amazon too! I should have known, cause then I can use my Amazon coupons and rewards! Darn it! Oh well, next time :D

Did you at least smell the Camellia oil yet? I'm curious to know whether there's something wrong with my nose because I can't detect any smell from the oil at all.

Oh yes, I am totally eyeing the "Komenuka Bijin All-Natural Eye Moist Jell with Rice Bran" but is still reluctant to dive in because the price is a bit stiff ($46 for 40mL). I'm saving up my reward points for it :D Or if you ever need a small order "filler," you can try the "Komenuka Bijin 10-Product Trial Sample Set" ($5). Or this charcoal-bamboo vinegar soap "Sumi Haigou Settuken Charcoal Bar Soap" ($7 for 3 bars). Although you should check your local Asian grocery store first for these soaps as they might carry them for cheaper - my local store has them for $5!

Anonymous said...

Hi Daleena, you can also get TrueRenu coupons from their store and they give rewards points automatically - the owner is Japanese American so they are very open to product suggestions and questions. Also, I wanted to find a product gift for my mother and emailed to ask their advice and got several great suggestions back the same day! Gift wrapping is beautiful. Really nice company.

Dalenna said...

Hi Anonymous!

Thank you for leaving a comment. I'm very glad to hear other people have had good experiences with TrueRenu too. I've ordered several times from them now and my orders had never taken more than 3 days to arrive, amazing! I'm happy to hear they are open to suggestions too - I will probably send them a few emails myself as I'm looking for a few things but cannot find them just yet! Perhaps TrueRenu might be open to carry some of these items in the future!

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