MUJI's Fifth New York Store Hits Cooper Square Today

It may have been the disgusting weather this morning that made the Press Preview for MUJI's new store on Cooper Square a bit more subdued than one would have expected. Of course, this in New York's fifth store from the Japanese chain, so we are all pretty familiar with what they have to offer by now, and yet the company has made each store a bit different.

In a certain sense, it's a surprise that it took Muji so long to get to the East Village, which, for years has been home to a number of smaller restaurants and stores specializing in Japanese food and products that are harder to find elsewhere. The new Muji store is a few doors away from a Japanese barbecue, so it fits in the neighborhood just fine, especially on a block that has recently become home to some dramatic, futuristic architecture. Muji is not, however in one of those buildings, but in a more traditional sort of space that makes it the first New York store to offer two levels of shopping. On the street level, there are all the familiar offerings from clothing to home and kitchen items to ever more of the brand's fascinating pens and paper products. Downstairs, however, holds an expanded offering of the brand's furniture. Browse around long enough and find yourself longing to live in an environment defined by simple, functional wooden furniture and walls filled with pristine stacks of polypropylene shelves and drawers. As we have mentioned before, part if the appeal of Muji's furniture is that it is scaled to small living spaces, a quality that any New York Apartment dweller can appreciate.

We hadn't had a good browse around Muji for a little while, and there are always ingenious new gadgets and clever items to discover. We were kindly gifted with a Silicone Ice Ball Maker —designed for those who prefer a single sphere of ice— inside a special edition of the store's re-usable canvas My Bag made just for the store that will be distributed to the first 1,000 customers. Check out our gallery below for a look inside the new store.

MUJI Cooper Square 52 Cooper Square between East 6th & 7th Streets, East Village

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MUJI Skincare Hits The U.S.



Generally, Fashion Week is all about any number of publicity minded entities fighting for attention, so there is something refreshing about the fact that, this week, Japanese retail chain MUJI has quietly launched its skincare line in all four of its U.S. stores which just happen to be in New York City (as well as in the online store).


The well-priced line which includes an organic collection of lotions, moisturizers and toners as well as one for sensitive skin is thoughtfully packaged in both regular and travel sizes, typifyng the chain's philosophy of useful and practical design.

The Shophound is starting to think of Muji as an old fashioned variety store filled with modest but frequently perfect items, often coming to the rescue when we are exhausted looking for the perfect thing from desk items to storage and shelves. It is always worth a browse in one of their shops if you haven't been in there in a while, even if it's just to pick up a few of their great pens and notepads.

Muji Skincare (

Today In Collaborations:

Muji Forges Partnership
With Historic Furniture Maker

This month, Japanese cult retailer MUJI launches a new capsule collection made in collaboration with Thonet, the German furniture maker famous for perfecting bentwood construction techniques. The tiny group includes a classic beech chair and table as well as items in bent steel pipe.
We're happy to see MUJI expanding their furniture offerings in its New York stores (the line will be sold in the Times Square and Flatiron locations). The downside? While bentwood furniture was popular for being inexpensive in the 19th century when it was introduced, that's not so much the case now, with the beech chair priced at $495.75 and the table at $795.75 –not horribly extravagant, but somewhat higher than we have come to expect from MUJI. Quality is the priority here, however, as the pieces are all being made in Thonet's German factories (hence the higher prices).
On a related note, limited time discounts will be offered on other items through the end of June including 20% off of pocketed coil mattresses with legs and mold urethane sofa components. Need more enticement? Selected business bags and accessories will also be discounted this month, so a visit within the next two weeks should be in order.
MUJI (Official Site)

eCommerce Update:

MUJI's Online Store Is Open

Mujiliberty1 It's taken a little while, but MUJI's U.S. online store is now open for business. The stock is still limited to smaller items, but that includes their oh-so-perfect pens and paper goods as well as other household-y items. So far, there's no furniture or clothes, but it's a good start. Now you can get your MUJI fix from the comfort of home or anywhere in America.
Shop away!
MUJI USA Online Store (Official Site)

Holiday Openings

What's New At The New MUJI?

Yet another MUJI store is something The Shophound can still get excited about even though we are now fully familiar with the Japanese retailer's charms.
The new Flatiron District branch holds few surprises for the MUJI faithful, but allows the chain to cover more ground and adds a more convenient location for those who don't feel like schlepping all the way to SoHo or, frankly, don't get to the New York Times building (or Port Authority Bus Terminal) very often.
This one, somewhat erroneously dubbed MUJI Chelsea, is just west of Fifth Avenue on 19th Street. The stock is what we can now recognize as standard MUJI, which makes it no less attractive, although this branch's mix is edited and arranged to put more emphasis on apparel (much of which is currently on sale for 50% off) and home furnishings. Note the tableware display up front.
This is MUJI's fourth New York store including the JFK Airport location, and after only a year in business here, they seem to have molded their concept well to suit our particularly finicky market.
So what's in store for the Japanese phenom whose simple, high quality, well priced goods seem particularly well positioned for current economic conditions? We have no official announcements as of yet, but assuming all stores continue performing well, we would expect a few more shops like this one further uptown and with the inevitable banks locations closing and consolidating (WaMu into Chase, for example) plenty of prime space should be opening up in the next year or so.
In the meantime, we still have a laundry list of things we'd love from MUJI, which is looking like an exceptionally good stocking stuffer source this year. No longer full of surprises, It's still full of appealing goods.
MUJI Chelsea 16 West 19th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Flatiron District
More pictures after the jump-

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What's New At The New MUJI?" »

Black Friday Opening Alert:

MUJI #4 Takes On
The Flatiron District This Friday

In a year's time Japanese retailer MUJI appears to have captivated New Yorkers and our guests so much that a fourth store is set to open this week.
Normally, MUJI picks an opening date that it cal call its own for maximum publicity purposes, but this year they will be competing with drastic specials and early bird doorbusters on Black Friday, November 28th.
For those who can't bear the throngs of anxious bargain hunters (and really, who can?), MUJI should be a civilized alternative for day-after-Thanksgiving shopping. In any event, the store is making its first weekend extra worthwhile with giveaways for the faithful.
On Friday, the first 200 customers in after the store opens at 1 PM will receive a set of "New York In A Bag".
Saturday's treat for 200 is the New York handkerchief.
Sunday's giveaway is the Stamp Empire State Building.
We don't really need a free incentive to go shopping at MUJI, and since they have merchandised each location slightly differently, we are looking forward to seeing what new items the new shop has to offer- more furniture perhaps?
We can only hope.
MUJI Chelsea opens Friday November 28th at 1 PM, 16 West 19th Street, Flatiron District

MUJI Alert From The Inbox:

Back-To-School Sale Starts Friday

MujisaleWell, it's not the deepest of discounts, MUJI is getting into the all-American tradition of Back-To School this Friday August 8th with a 10% off sale on all pens and notebooks running through September 1st.
Even though we are just a few years beyond our school days those three dreaded words always seem to signal the end of Summer, launching a twinge of melancholy into the dog days that could only be alleviated by the getting of more stuff.
At least a MUJI notebook is several steps up from a Trapper Keeper®.

From The Inbox:
MUJI Is Looking For Ideas

Calling all stylish inventors!
Our friends at MUJI are on the hunt for your invention.
During the month of July, the Japanese retailer will be accepting submissions for the MUJI AWARD 03, it's, apparently annual, international design competition. This year's theme is "Found MUJI", which can be roughly translated to updating classic items for modern daily life. They are looking for items in any product category, with prizes ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 (apparently taxable) U.S. dollars.
...So get cracking!
MUJI AWARD 03 (Official Site)
Full Press Release and details after the jump...

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From The Inbox:
MUJI Is Looking For Ideas" »

Big MUJI Is Here


The first phase of MUJI's American retail strategy is now complete as the Japanese retailer's flagship store finally opens today at noon. Here's what we learned at this morning's Press Preview:

  • The store is much bigger and more dramatic that its debut SoHo unit on Broadway. It appears to have a similar mix of products as the downtown store, but lots more of them.
  • There's still hardly any furniture. Boo hoo for us, but the MoMA store still seems to have that department covered until even more MUJI arrives on these shores.
  • The store looks terrific in Renzo Piano's New York Times Building which perfectly reflects MUJI's utilitarian, minimalist aesthetic. The possible drawback? The jury is still out on how effective the location will be on West 40th Street near Port Authority Bus Terminal. It's being called MUJI Times Square, although, thankfully, it's just a few steps away from the tourist mayhem that is Times Square today. It's really more like MUJI Garment District, and we wonder if it is a strong enough destination to draw its target customers into a neighborhood they otherwise would never venture towards.

Lucky for us, the big new store is convenient to The Shophound's Hell's Kitchen headqarters.Mujihousewares While it seems like the store has basically the same merchandise as SoHo, a closer look shows ever so many more product variations, meaning that there are about twice as many of those irresistible polypropylene  organizational boxes and drawers we like to imagine will transform our office into a sleek model of Japanese efficiency. There are more binders and writing insruments and more durable recycled paper everything. Every category is expanded so there's more MUJI to love for everyone who loves it. Will its unadorned, logo-free, un-souvenir-like items mean anything to the tourists? Lets hope so for their sake, although we don't relish the store being packed with slow walking, slack-jawed wanderers from far away.
For your edification, here's the contents of the Press gift bag:

  1. Small hanging drying rack with clips
  2. Chronotebook (available free to first 500 store visitors)
  3. Miniature washing board (we're not exactly sure what to do with this, but it's Muji, so it's cute.)
  4. Clear plastic Ballpoint pen

MUJI Times Square, 620 Eighth Avenue at 40th Street opens at 12 PM today