As far as brands go, Japanese lifestyle retailer, Muji, is one of my all-time favourites. Most probably because it so seamlessly brings together the following four things: my obsessive compulsive neat-freak tendencies, my love of minimalist design, stationery and, last but not least, ridiculously good prices (it doesn’t matter how much money you may have, everybody loves a bargain).
But it’s not just me that adores this best-selling brand. Worldwide, Muji has reached a cult following amongst design-lovers, organizers and fans of all things Japanese. It’s easy to see why: they sell everything you never knew you always wanted, beautifully made and at barely there prices, e.g.:
1. a compact hair pin container (so they don’t go flying around inside your toiletry bag when traveling) at a measly £0.85;
2. a fabulously large, light-weight and waterproof zip-up toiletry bag at £5.95 (my boyfriend teased me about buying this for my father at Christmas last year, since it’s so cheap! But, alas, my globe-trotting dad had been so tired of lugging a heavy leather toiletry bag around with him that kept getting soaked in bathrooms and took up so much suitcase space. He was indeed a very happy gift recipient! That’s why I always say the best gifts are those that make someone’s life easier);
3. magnetic acrylic photo frames (they look super expensive but cost a mere £5.95 to £12.95, depending on size);
4. travel-friendly 100ml plastic containers for cosmetic liquids (we all know how pesky those airport security officials can be about liquids!) at £1.95 each;
5. all the coloured pens, pencils and highlighters your little stationery-obsessed heart can dream of.
London I can personally recommend the Muji on King’s Road at 118/118a Kings Road, London, SW3 4TR, United Kingdom (+44-(0)20-7823-8688). The concession in Selfridges, Oxford Street, is small but pretty decent.
New York City There’s a branch in Soho at 455 Broadway between Grand and Howard Streets (+1-212-334-2002). The flagship US store, however, is in the New York Times Building.