Causeway Bay is a big and busy shopping destination in Hong Kong, so of course I had to swing by and get my dose of Korean culture!
Walking around a pedestrian filled side street, I saw a small Innisfree at a corner. The two exterior walls were beautifully covered with ivy, giving a very nature-like effect to the brand. There is also a monitor used as a window display, showing the technologically savvy store.
Times Square: 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
A few blocks over is the shopping mall Times Square, with several Korean beauty brand stores. I passed by Laneige, but it wasn't opened yet nor did I have much interest in the brand.
I also walked right by SkinFood without noticing it because the storefront was so camouflaged. It's a very small space, the width being as long as the doorway and window, with only about 6 display cases of skincare products. The only bb cream this store has is the mushroom one and one more; sadly they didn't carry the Good Afternoon Tea line, of which is the one I'm most interested.
The shop I was looking most forward to was Etude House, and my visit definitely didn't disappoint!
The storefront is very beautiful, with Key standing next to an elegant dresser and mirror. I love how Etude adds these special little touches that make the customer's experience that much more memorable!
I love the pure and girly concept, with pristine white walls and displays and pink lettering.
Even endorsers SHINee are looking dashing and romantic while dressed in pink. The shelves and display tables nearly present all available products with testers of each. There were so many cute products took at, I couldn't think straight! I love the appearance of the Princess Antoinette line (middle row of bottom photo); it's so elegant and fits Etude's concept perfectly.
Here are a few more shots of the displays. Despite all of the shelves being completely packed with products, each product is easily viewable and there's no clutter.
Here are a few masks on display at the checkout. I'm surprised that there are so many packs for individual body parts, such as eyes, chin, forehead and neck.
There was also a special promotion going on that when you sign up for a free membership to Etude House Hong Kong, and make a purchase over a certain amount, you receive a free gift. Key's lifesize cutout explains it. Behind the cashier is the display of gifts.
The membership card is very nice, thick as a credit card and pretty like Etude. Though I'll rarely use this card, I love carrying it around with me in my wallet! For spending over $100 HKD, I received a pack of tissues with SHINee on the front. If I had spent another $8 HKD to reach $200 HKD, I would have also received a cute Etude pen or face mask sheet, but my uncle talked his way into having the representative give me the pen anyways.
Here is my purchase from Etude! I bought some bb cream, hand cream and a face mask sheet, all of which I'll be reviewing in the future. The prices at Etude are amazingly inexpensive compared to buying Etude online or buying other brands in store (ie. Holika Holika and SkinFood). I bought my bb cream for $138 HKD ($17.79 USD), hand cream for $50 HKD ($6.45 USD) and mask for $18 HKD ($2.32 USD). This is my first time at an Etude store and I've loved my experience! The brand, concept and products are all darling and I'll definitely visit Etude again.
Across from Times Square
Directly across the street from Times Square is Uniqlo, a Japanese fashion chain popular in Asia and, to me, comparable to Zara in Europe or H&M in America. They have basic clothing for children, women and men with reasonable prices. I found tees for $39 to $129 HKD ($5.03 to $16.63 USD) and a sweater on sale for $99 HKD ($12.77 USD). Though this store isn't a Korean brand, it's indirectly related because Infinite's Myungsoo and Sungjong have been spotted shopping at a Uniqlo. This branch is the flagship store in Hong Kong, so visit this location if you only have time for one.
Style House: 1/F The Park Lane
A few minutes' walk away from Times Square is Style House, a narrow mall with media chain store HMV. This store carries the latest Kpop CDs and has a bit of Jpop, but not much Korean Jpop (and certainly none of Infinite's Japanese products, though I did see CNBlue's Robot single). Any Korean Jpop albums would be located under Kpop. There are only a few copies on display, but workers can easily check inventory at the 4 other Hong Kong locations and put an item on hold for you for 3 days.
Sorry this photo is so blurry; I was too excited seeing these albums in person. This aisle is where majority of the Kpop albums are, arranged first by solo artist or group, then gender, then alphabetically. At the end of the aisle are official Kpop goods, such as fans, of YG's powerhouses Big Bang and 2NE1.
Here I bought Apink's latest album, Secret Garden, and IU's second full album, Last Fantasy 2. HMV's prices are reasonable, with my albums costing $115 and $130 HKD ($14.83 and $16.76 USD), respectively. I'm so excited to have found these albums here!
On the walk from Times Square to Style House, I spotted another Etude House on the street. This one is more adorable in decor, with white picket fence like detailing on the storefront and fancy chandeliers strung inside. There were also two openings, and an accompanying SHINee cutout in each, one of Minho and the other of Taemin (I believe; I was walking too fast to confirm). Both cutouts matched Etude's color scheme, making for a girly and romantic ambiance.
Swan & Co.
CC Wu Building: Upper Ground, 302-308 Hennessy Road
My last stop in Causeway Bay was a bit further from the rest of the stores, so I suggest taking a street car. Swan & Co. is a very small, independent shop in CC Wu Building that sells official and legit Asian CDs and DVDs. They have recently released merchandise, with only one or so copies on display. The lone salesman told me Korean Jpop isn't common I Hong Kong because they're more expensive than Kpop, so it's best to preorder those or grab a copy during its initial release. The prices at this store are quite reasonable, and just slightly cheaper than HMV. I saw Apink's Secret Garden album here for $110 HKD ($0.64 USD difference compared to the price at HMV).
I had just came from HMV and that location didn't have the Reply 1997 OST, but luckily Swan & Co. had one copy hiding in a shelf! I was so ecstatic to find this album in such an obscure store, and for a reasonable price of $160 HKD ($20.63 USD). I absolutely love this store and it's especially meaningful to me because this is where I bought my first Kpop albums (You're Beautiful OSTs parts one and two) three years ago. I'd definitely recommend to check out this shop if you're looking for some Kpop albums!
Causeway Bay is full of shopping opportinities, so be sure to stop by these shops if you're there!