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).
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.
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.
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:
- Provide you with a UK mailing address to ship your goods
- They ship to you based on your shipper of choice (e.g., FedEx)
- 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?