On April 11th i wrote about Muji's pending opening in Sydney, well folks, it's open and i've been in.
Level 1, The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney
Muji offers a simple range of womens, mens and children's clothing, furniture, storage, stationary and homewares. Materials are mostly natural - cottons, timber, cashmere, wool - and colours are muted and neutral. If i was going to try described the large format store in comparison to what we currently have here in Sydney, i'd say it's a smaller IKEA with more solid feeling furniture and better homeware, with the addition of clothing.
I must say i was expecting a bit more than what we have got here in Sydney's first Muji. It's not a big store in comparison to its offshore counterparts so just doesn't have breadth of range (in my opinion). I can see it as a place to pick up tasteful and cheap stationery and storage boxes, and the odd kitchen utensil, but i don't see it as competing with the likes of Uniqlo, Country Road, Zara and Topshop in affordable fashion and staples, or Adairs, Bed, Bath N Table and Freedom Furniture for well priced bedding, furnishings, towels and furniture.
Here's a summary of my visit...
The women's 100% cashmere cardigans ($110) caught my eye as i walked in, and the range of jeans, singlets, jumpers, pj's and socks looks pretty good. The men's section is large too, and features the good ole lumber jack checked shirt in FIVE colours. The downside, mens sizes only go up to size 34...which for an average kiwi or Aussie bloke, is pretty tiny.
The baby and children's clothes are soft and 100% cotton. Most of the prices in the children's department are sub $40.
There is a good basics range of toiletry products, and they are cheaper than Sephora. I did want to buy some tweezers that were on display, however i couldn't actually find the stock of them to take away - let's just put that down to merchandising teething problems.
I was most impressed by the storage solutions - call me Shaynna Blaze - i LOVE a good storage solution.
These plastic boxes come in a huge range of sizes and shapes, with compartments or without.
I'm thinking for spices, icing nozzles, food colouring, plastic snaplock clips, pens, jewellery, art supplies, paint palate for mixing paints, out in the garden shed for bits and bobs, hair clips, shaving razors, medication....i'll stop now.
Prices range from $3-4 for the plastic boxes.
Next up is document organisation...and as we all know this is closely related to the importance of storage and is one of life's complete admin woes.
At Muji, there is a big range of simple and tasteful folders in brown, black and clear. They range in price from about $5 to $25.
I really loved the mini timber storage boxes. They are so cheap for how good they look - $40-50. Perfect for jewellery, stationery or toy soldiers :)
I'm going back to get some of these - they are going to solve the problem of trying to slot folders back into tightly packed book cases and having them bend back on themselves. And they look fantastic. I couldn't find the price, i'd say around 30-40 bux looking at the products around them.
Storage did not stop there, here is more. Black boxes with silver touches ($30), sturdy stainless wire baskets ($61), large flat plastic boxes perfect for sliding under a slat bed ($24), and cane baskets ($24).
Even an acrylic storage solution for a dinosaur collection...$40
I liked these clocks...the brown one on the right is awesome. $60
If you buy any of the stationery, including Muji's infamous brown paper back note books, you can go to the "stamping" station and stamp paper until your heart's content. When i visited there was quite the flurry around the stamping station... When i go back im going to stamp my note book with a cat :)
The furniture is true to Japanese simplicity and draws plenty of inspiration from the simple, timber scandinavian look.
The solid oak dining table is pricy at $2,490, with armed chairs $360-530. The tall oak bookcase is solid and simple - it's just over $2k. There are also sideboards, sofas, occasional chairs, short bookcases and coffee tables.
The below is a walnut table and chairs - the 140cm table is $860, and chairs $199 each. Feeling it, and looking at the price, i'm pretty sure its walnut veneer.
This short book case was a great height, and i thought it would work well in a kids playroom or room to stack toys and books - it's $350
The homewares section has white dinner sets, platers, mugs and jugs. There are wooden bowls, cutlery and a whole lot of baking equipment. It looks of ok quality, and fine for kitting out your first kitchen.
I thought these little pouring jugs were cute, and for $11.95, pretty reasonable.