I love Minne (not the mouse)

I have written in the past about my love for Etsy (an online shopping network for handmade goods around the world). I continue to shop at Etsy and still have a really great respect for all the amazing, talented people making clothes, accessories, toys, stationery, decorations and much more. I will have to do an updated post soon on some of my recent purchases!

But in the meantime I wanted to rave about Minne. Minne is Japan`s version of Etsy, where people sell the things they have made by hand. Of course (being limited geographically to just one country), the selection is more limited than Etsy, but shipping is very cheap and the quality of the goods (the ones that I have purchased so far), the packaging and the delivery time are second to none.

Minne is all in Japanese, so if you can't read Japanese, you might want to give it a miss. However, with my limited ability and the help of some online translation tools (talking about you BING), I have successfully searched for, bought, received and left reviews for several items.

Why shop at Minne?
I like to support small business owners, it is that simple! If I can spend my hard-earned yen buying something from another independent woman, a mother, or a student paying their way through college, I would much prefer that! Also it is pretty special owning/wearing something that no one else has! 

So what do you need to shop online at Minne? The list is the similar to the one I wrote for Etsy, so here goes...

1. patience and time : because of the huge number of merchants on Minne, it takes time to browse, compare, and select. If you don`t really know what it is you are looking for, this is bound to take even longer. My tip is to download the Minne app (free from the Apple store here) onto your smart phone, then (like me) you can browse while waiting in line, waiting for baby to fall asleep, waiting in traffic, riding public transport etc.

2. a keen eye : this takes time (and possibly a few failed purchases). First images of Minne were of crappy homemade doilies and woolen sweaters, people who were selling things that couldn`t be sold in stores or even at flea markets. In some cases, this is still true. There are hundreds of stores selling things that don`t appeal to my taste, or quality etc. Before agreeing to purchase something, please read the terms of sale, and make sure that if the item you purchase turns out to be less than expected, you can return it! If you have questions about the item, you can contact the seller easily through Minne`s conversation facility.

3. a credit card : To purchase items from Minne, it is easiest to have a japanese credit card. I have one issued by Citibank. But there are alternatives. You can pay by bank transfer, apple pay, or at a local convenience store (by printing out an order form and taking it to one of the listed stores). You can see the payment methods available under the item for sale. Here is one example I took.

**to safely shop online (anywhere), you should be very wary about who sees your personal information. Check reviews before purchasing any items, and double check your credit card information before hitting the `order` button. Is it risky to shop online at Minne? Honestly, there is no more risk than shopping online anywhere else. Giving your credit card (or credit card info) to anyone (merchants, shop staff, friends, family, or an online store) holds inherent risks, so please shop carefully!

What can I buy?
A quick look at the homepage will show you the wide selection of items... A look at the list of categories reveals...

Fashion (clothing)
Pottery and glass
Art and photos
Baby and kids stuff (clothing, accessories etc)
Soft toys and dolls
Pet goods
Aroma goods and candles
Flowers and garden items
Knick knacks

The last one is quite different to Etsy, and unique to Minne. You can order cakes, snacks and much more for delivery throughout Japan. Looks amazing!

I am relatively new to shopping at Minne and have made 3 purchases so far.

I bought a baby bonnet here, and a baby hat here, a set of covers/pads for the Ergo baby carrier here (pictures taken from the sellers pages). 

Two of the items were shipped domestically and arrived within 3-5 days. They were both packaged beautifully with hand-written notes from the sellers. The quality is extremely high and similar to something I would expect from a big shop, but all the prices were very reasonable (even cheap!!). I am super pleased.

The third item was shipped from France (by a Japanese woman living there), and hasn't arrived yet. She communicated that it would take up to 10 days, and since my baby isn't even here yet, I am in no rush!

Have you shopped online at Minne? What did you buy?

Happy shopping!

Fran xx


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