Have you ever wondered what Target and IKEA would be like if they got together and had a baby?
The outcome would be MUJI, a Japanese company known for
simplicity, convenience and uniqueness in its products.
A MUJI store opened in San Jose on Tuesday, April 16, located at 170 South Market St.
MUJI is a popular store with locations throughout Asia, Europe and the U.S.
San Jose natives may not be familiar with MUJI because most of its U.S. stores are located in New York as well as one in San Francisco.
The San Jose MUJI location marks the second MUJI store to open on the West Coast, according to a press release from MUJI U.S.A.
Jonahliza Eliger, a MUJI employee at the San Jose location, said the name of the store is short for “mujirushi ryohin,” which she said essentially translates to “no brand quality goods.”
Eliger said the products MUJI sells are all simple, with a no-frills look to them.
“There is extreme thought put into the making, usability and packaging of each product,” she said.
I had no idea what she meant by this statement until I looked at all the products in the store.
The items MUJI carries include: men’s and women’s clothing, backpacks, suitcases, bathroom essentials, kitchen tools, stationery, furniture, bedding, shelves, storage compartments and almost everything else in between.
The items are closer to what would be found at IKEA, however MUJI is a lot like Target in the sense that customers probably won’t be leaving the store empty handed. (Every time I go to Target for milk, I end up at the checkout line with DVDs, makeup and shoes too).
According to Eliger, a couple of the more popular items at MUJI are the acrylic storage containers and the polypropylene (or PP for short) storage containers.
Jin Huang, a freshman business major and MUJI employee, said the polypropylene products are popular because they’re made of harder and more durable plastic.
Huang said the products at MUJI are, “minimalistic, clean, simple and environmentally friendly.”
After looking at the products, I understood how unique and convenient a lot of them were.
One of my favorite items from MUJI was a shrink wrap scarf.
For $10.95 I bought a striped scarf that was packaged up into a small cube that fit in the palm of my hand.
My first thought was that it was a great item to travel with because of how compact it was.
As you may imagine, a shrink wrap scarf is going to unravel looking wrinkly, but the wrinkled fabric adds a little oomph to a wardrobe in a way where the wearer won’t look bad sporting what may become a new fashion trend.
Another item I loved was the ultrasonic aroma diffuser that made the entire store smell like lemongrass and ginger from the moment I stepped foot inside.
The aroma comes out in the form of a mist from a diffuser to fill the room with a fresh scent.
A unique piece of furniture that caught my eye was a child’s cardboard chair.
The chair can be decorated with drawings all over the seat and the legs because it was made of cardboard.
A cardboard chair sounds like it would be unstable, but it actually felt really sturdy.
What surprised me most was that Eliger told me it could hold up to about 100 pounds or more.
Another unique MUJI item was a wall-mounted CD player.
This CD player blends into a room so well that I thought it was just a small piece of art on the wall at first.
Who wouldn’t want a functional item that also doubles as art that someone could mistake for a small painting on a wall? (OK, so you may not go out and buy CDs anymore, but this CD player also plays FM radio).
Near the stationery section of MUJI is where you’ll find pens, pencils, highlighters and markers.
Nothing special, right? Wrong. You can build your own pen.
With several different colors of ink refills, you can slip up to six ink refills into one pen, leaving you with a six-in-one pen that is capable of writing in whichever colors you insert into it.
Not impressed yet? MUJI also sells highlighters that have a clear space near the tip so you can see what you’re actually highlighting without having to lift up the highlighter.
It’s safe to say that MUJI is my new favorite store in Downtown San Jose.
MUJI has great home goods fit for a dorm because of its compact and portable style.
It is like a stationery lover’s heaven, and I will definitely be going back for more.
MUJI in San Jose is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.