Today I'll be focusing on Japanese second-hand shops, and the ones I normally frequent. All of them are good, but may have varying degrees of difficulty to navigate the site, communicate with staff, and place an order.
I'll start for my most recent order, from Alice Fururun.
Ease of navigating site and ordering: 3/5
Accepts Paypal?: Yes
Staff Communication: 3.5/5
Condition of items: 4/5
Alice Fururun has been around since I first started Lolita, and their site hasn't changed much over the years. Most if not all of it is in Japanese, with enough English pointers for you to scrape by and make an order. It helps to be able to read katakana, as most of the brand names are written in katakana. (Or, use Google Translate if you like.)
That being said, navigating the site can be a little difficult. One glitch I found was that when I shop, and am looking at several items, I like to open them in new tabs with the main search results still open. This is mostly because I am lazy and don't want to hit the back button a million times. However, I noticed when I added items into my cart in a new tab, then closed it and went back to the main search, it would empty my cart from that tab. So in other words, all of the items I added to my cart in a separate tab disappeared as soon as I closed that tab. Needless to say, I was very confused, but as soon as I figured out I'd need to do all of my shopping in one window, it was fine.
Ordering-read their Overseas Order page here.
I checked out using the shopping cart method, but if you don't speak/read Japanese, or don't feel like running it through a translator, you can also use an e-mail order method.
Personally, I prefer the shopping cart because it partially ensures that my items will not sell out (However, I can also read Japanese so it wasn't a setback for me to use it). As soon as I check out, the items were marked 'sold out' on the site. By using the e-mail order method, you will have to wait for staff to confirm your item is in stock and mark it 'out of stock' on the site for you.
It took a couple of days for staff to email me back to confirm my order. I had to send them an email to confirm my order and payment through and that everything was okay. But then again, I did place my order pretty close to New Year's holidays, so that could explain the delay.
My items were shipped by EMS (staff provided the tracking number) and arrived quickly. Everything was very well packaged. Boleros were separately wrapped in plastic, and my purse was stored in a cardboard box to prevent denting or damages.
Everything was in decent condition considering the awesome prices. There was a black hair on the pink cardigan I ordered, but that's not that big of a deal to me. There was a dent on the front of the heart enamel purse, but that was clearly pointed out on the site, so I was expecting that. (They are very good about noting all flaws in the item descriptions, so again, Google translate is your friend if you can't read Japanese.)
The price was awesome for everything I got. The cardigans were 1,500 and 2,500 yen, I got a Baby plastic headband for 1,000 yen, and the heart enamel purse with strap was only 3,000 yen. Including shipping, all four items were right around $100.
So that was my first experience with Alice Fururun, and I was fairly pleased!
There are plenty of other places to shop online and get a great bargain, though. Out of the Japanese online retailers, these are some of my favourite to buy from:
- Wunderwelt (review coming soon!)
- Fairy-Angel (review coming soon!)
- Closet Child (If you're reading this, you probably don't need a review, you know they're legit and easy to use.)
- Usagi Youhinten
- Maiden Clothing
I have orders coming in from Wunderwelt and Fairy-Angel, so maybe when they come in I will write up a joint review similar to this one. This was my first time ordering from Wunderwelt and I like them so far; as for Fairy-Angel, they've been around about as long as Alice Fururun and I have ordered from them before. They were very sweet and great to work with, and I am expecting the same this time around.
Well I hope that this was useful, and now you have two shiny new reviews to look forward to! If you have any questions about navigating Alice Fururun or the above sites, leave me a comment and I'll try to help you out.