Recently I have been making a few outings to the inner parts of Seoul, notably to Sinsa/Apgujeong area. I looove Garosu-gil with a passion, and it seems that it loves me back. For you see, dear reader, that on the two previous occasions I was strolling along ‘the Paris of Seoul’, I was fortunate to stumble across some awesome and interesting beauty pop-up stores.
Sooo let me take you back about a month, when one weekend I was adamant of leaving the comfort zone of my beautiful, warm, high ceiling-ed officetel and venturing out into the wild/the most expensive area in Seoul. Gav and I were up weirdly early (for me anyway), which meant that even after the 45-minute commute we were still in Sinsa before 11am. That early on a Saturday? Cray cray. We had a look in H&M for some highly coveted ‘Western-style’ clothes, and were pleased to find out that it was eerily empty. Usually H&M change rooms are packed to the brim and a hotbed of heat (yep), and sometimes they even bring out the carpeted handrail to try and neaten people into a line. However, on this occasion, it was a free-for-all – for us only.
This day was already off to a good start, and you wouldn’t think it would be able to get any better, would you? Wrong, my lovely reader! I had a scout around Forever 21 (with Gav coming along for the ride) and picked up some new threads, to be cool and all. After all this hard work, we needed a refreshing beverage and headed to the local (unsatisfying) Starbucks.
It was here that, sitting out on the patio after a substandard and begrudgingly-made banana and mango abomination, I noticed a number of people with large clear shopping bags with what looked like some sort of fashion magazine in them. Now, shopping isn’t a new thing here in Korea, particularly not in the heart of the retail district, but the amount of people with the exact same bag alerted me to the fact that something was definitely up.
I had to know what was going on.
(I know this is an elaborate introduction but it’s how the inside of my mind works!)
I also want to add at this point that my pictures of that actual event were on my camera which was stolen, so I unfortunately don’t have any proof of the actual event. I do, however, have the awesome goodie bag that I received simply for being a guest, and it is this that I will show you (once more)!
The set up was pretty simple but elegant, a fairy small room with a number of stands and tables. There was a hair section, with some guy flamboyantly spraying copious amounts of hairspray over willing participants. There was also a loooong table with lots of (mainly international) brands to try, such as NARS, Bioderma, MAC, Avene and more. They love their international brands here, although to be honest I get far more excited about the Korean ones! Grass is always greener and all that.
I also took part in a La Roche-Posay “competition” where I had “10 seconds” to write La Roche-Posay in Korean. I got really nervous but the lady said “go!” and I did it and all the Korean girls in the line behind me cheered! It was a defining moment in my life, I’ll be honest with you. However, there was one small mistake (that you would think I would’ve noticed because of the mismatching colours, but the adrenalin just went to my head), but the girls were kind enough to give me my free Thermal Spring Water mist anyway!
The other pop-up shop that I was privy too was a Laneige one. I had a few photos (alas, no longer), and they had a tower of their Water Bank Sleeping Pack and Water Bank Moisture Cream, as well as a drink stand, nail bar and TV room(!). I really like how they have these events on in Seoul, and it really makes me feel part of the culture. I know that probably sounds terribly materialistic, but Seoul is a really cool city and I can be a bit of a hermit so it’s fun to go out and feel in the midst of things. There is so much going on, it can be hard to keep track. But generally (from my experience) if you are in the Sinsa area, particularly on a weekend, there will be something going on. This is admittedly one of the trendiest, more expensive parts of Seoul – but if you are just visiting, you can take some of the good and leave a lot of the bad!
Anyway, I wanted to relive this fun little moment as I am currently experiencing a minimalist makeover and curbing my spending. A lot. And even though I received this amazing goodie bag for free, I am still trying to cut down on how much stuff I have, whether I paid for it or not. This is the hardest part – I have vouchers and gifts to use, but even that sort of stresses me out now. I know these are completely first-world problems, but I’m just trying to cut down on my consumption and increase my production. It’s a constant struggle but at least I’m trying!
What are your experiences of beauty pop-up shops (or pop-up shops in general)? This was very novel for me, so I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Until next time,