Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Suqqu - Where Is It?!

(re-edit 10/24/2013)  SELFRIDGES.COM! (here)
(edited 7/17/2013)
I thought that before I launch into my terrible photographs and un-deep thoughts on Suqqu, it may be helpful to share what I know about how to get your hands on them.  Suqqu is one of many Japanese brands that are really difficult to buy (in terms of high pricing and general accessibility).

Source

1) Buy it yourself in person.  Here are the locations (per the Suqqu global website).  UK, Bangkok, and Japan are the only physical counters you can visit.  So swatch, play and shop to your heart's content.  As is the nature of global luxury retail pricing, you will see that on a country to country basis, prices vary.  UK is the least-expensive place to physically purchase Suqqu.

I did once visit one Suqqu counter while I visited Tokyo on business.  The language barrier was a bit tough, but the SAs were so kind and lovely.  I touched the brushes in person!  I slathered on lipstick and eye shadow!  I got freebies!  It was nice.... *sigh*

If you reside outside of those countries, it may be worth pursuing getting the VAT (tax) refunded.  For example, with my US passport, I went to the tax counter in Mitosukoshi and was able to claim a refund on the tax I paid on the brushes (but not on makeup).  You should ask the SAs when you are at those counters.

2) Buy it online.  Gone are the days of Dollyleo, which is a now defunct luxury beauty website that sold Suqqu.  They had reasonable shipping and no excessive markup!  However, there are a few websites that you can purchase Suqqu (among other hard-to-find Japanese brands).  I am in no way recommending these venues, because I do find that the mark-up is truly excessive.

***UPDATE!
You can buy it at Selfridges.com!  Hurray!  Please see my detailed post on this here.

Ichibankao and Mihokoshop are often cited as popular on-line sources.  Check them out (and recoil at the pricing!)  Recently, I've made a few purchases on Ichibankao for Addiction brand items.  Apart from the hideous markup, the service speed and communication were excellent.  No experience with Mihokoshop though.

3) Beg a friend.  Perhaps you know people in the UK or Japan that are willing to make these purchases for you.  If they are friends that you consider trust worthy (as I've heard of wonky product purchased by "friends"), this may be the best possible option out there.

4) Call Selfridges Suqqu counter in the UK and ask them to ship to you.  Unlike the Selfridges website, that does carry the product, the counter will accept non-UK credit cards and will ship internationally.  Things to note: the shipping was outrageously high when I tried this route.  I think my shipping was something like 50 Pound Sterling (where is that sign on my keyboard!?  HELP ME?!) at the time I did it.  Call and ask about their shipping rates because it's been a long time since I've placed an order over the phone.  But you do get the advantage of having the VAT taken OFF your order and you do get to speak to a real live person.  +44-20-7318-3956  (LONDON); +44-161-838-0605 (MANCHESTER)

5) Parcel forwarding/ Concierge Service.  I've recently learned about this on Front Row Beauty and used this for my last purchase.  (Thank you, Reika!)

SKYPAX is the company I used and I did have excellent service.  However, it was very expensive.  They do 3 services, and for each there is a fee:

  1. Provide you with a UK mailing address to ship your goods
  2. They ship to you based on your shipper of choice (e.g., FedEx)
  3. Concierge service where they will purchase an item on your behalf (in person or online)
I used all 1+2+3 to make my last purchase.  I located by stuff on line at Selfridges.com, used the Concierge service to order my goods, which was then sent to (1) my mailbox.  And the I used (2) my carrier of choice to have sent to me.

Pro is excellent, fast service.  I had a few cons though.  It was a very expensive set of services, you pay the UK VAT, AND I got dinged with Duty on the way into the US.

I hope this was helpful and not too much information.  Dear community of readers, if you have any experiences, positive or negative that you want to share, please do it in the comments!  Questions I can not answer, perhaps a fellow reader can help with it.

On another related and critically :P important note, wouldn't it be great it Suqqu had wider distribution? I've been tweeting to one of my favorite luxury online retailer Zuneta.  Join me in cranking up the heat with Zuneta and Beautyhabit?

17 comments:

  1. It's Alt+0163 for the £ sign ;)

    I never knew about Skypax, thank you. Although pricey, their shipping quotes for delivery within Europe are far more attractive than the 50+£ that Selfridge's asks for.

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    1. £££££££££££££££!!! This is truly exciting!

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  2. It's the little things, right? :pp

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    1. I also admit I did not type your name out, because I can do é but not the grave!

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    2. (lame reply alert) Oh hahah, no worries, it's not a grave (pun intended!) issue ;)

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  3. I've emailed beautyhabit about Suqqu. They told me they have no plans to carry it. D: But I didn't realize UK had custom purchase service! Thanks for the info. I wonder if they could mark the package as gift with low value, so customs can be avoided. I've heard the Selfridges shipping is 80 GBP, nowadays so even with the fees, it might be cheaper. I just really need someone I know to go to London. Haha

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    1. they use your invoice from Selfridges to generate the customs information (with all the pricing info), which is why I think I got hit with the customs. Doesn't hurt to ask! Let me know if that works!!!

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  4. I think I read somewhere that Suqqu aren't planning to sell in the US because they don't have the production capacity to meet the demand of the US market.

    I know in recent years purchasing from Japan has been very expensive for foreigners because of the high value of the Yen, but this should change as the value plummets. In terms of the real price to Japanese consumers, Suqqu is the same here as for UK customers purchasing in London -- it just seems much more expensive because of the exchange rate, if that makes sense. Anyway, it might come to be more economical to order via a Japanese concierge service -- it's worth keeping an eye on fx/prices at least :). Also, I'm not sure if any of the department stores here ship internationally, but if they do their rates may well be cheaper than Selfridges' astronomical delivery charges. Most of them have foreign customer services departments you can call.

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    1. Rosy,
      Thanks for your awesome comment!!

      Stupid production capacity planning. We won't buy too much, we promise! In my dream, they gently enter the US marketplace via Zuneta, offer UK retail pricing then blast into Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. And then they go to Sephora at which point it becomes too accessible for me to want anymore. (I'm a little screwy in the head)

      Great point on real pricing as well. It's not something I considered. I'm wondering if my sense of real pricing is screwed up because everything is relatively "cheap" here in the US. When I travel, I always am shocked how expensive everything is for luxury product.

      Thanks for your great suggestions on using a Japanese concierge service and the customer service desk through a Japanese department store!

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  5. This is very helpful!
    I just got few Suqqus during my trip to UK but now I have an idea how to get it when I am not in the UK :)

    Thanks

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    1. I saw your UK haul! To go in person! sigh! I would be so happy!

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  6. This is a very informative post. I have never considered forwarding service for buying cosmetics before but now I may.

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    1. It's quite a few hoops to jump through for makeup, though. But the service was very fast though pricey. Thank you for commenting here! :)

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  7. Hmmm...do you think it would be worthwhile to try to get a group order going? Not that I know anyone right now, but I may know a few beauty heads that could be persuaded... LOL :-) Think I read about the concierge service on another site that was reviewing brushes? Sounds familiar. Anyway...if Suqqu is THAT worth it...eeesh you are a terrible influence!!! Ha ha ha :-)

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    1. oh I want to do group ordering too! the overage that Selfridges charge with DHL is sooo ouch! when are you girls doing the next group purchase? I will be ordering mine in the next 2 weeks with a few items?

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