Ready for your daily dose of korean cuteness? Episode 3 of the “Kute Shops” series is out: let’s explore the kingdom of LINE Friends!
In our episode 2 of the Kute Shops series we brought you with us to explore one of the official Kakao Friends store in Hongdae, right after its grand opening last December.
Today it’s time to meet Kakao Friends’ most direct rivals: the LINE Friends. Ok, now I know that talking about competition between these two adorable groups of illustrated characters might sound a little exaggerated…Of course, there is a real competition behind, but this is set to be between the two large corporations that own them: we’re talking about Kakao Corporation (owner of KakaoTalk) and Line Corporation (owner of LINE app and backed by South Korea’s internet giant Naver).
In South Korea, as we’ve already seen, KakaoTalk is the leading messaging app. LINE, which offers similar features (together with a huge selection of stickers and new other services like Line Pay, Line WOW, Line Taxi, Line Maps, Line TV and Line Music), is only the second most popular messaging app. However, LINE is without doubt the most popular app in four other Asian countries: Japan (its first market), Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia. It is a fierce competition huh 🙂
Whoever the winner is, we only care about one thing given our kuteness hunter perspective: Line Friends, the original characters shown in stickers of the application. They include Brown, Cony, Sally, James, Moon, Boss, Jessica, Edward, Leonard, Choco and Pangyo.
A brief overview of these cute characters:
There are physical stores in Japan, South Korea, China, and Taiwan and a Korean online store to purchase LINE Friends merchandise (sorry guys, the website is in Korean language only and international deliveries not permitted). Occasionally, LINE will have pop up or temporary stores globally.
I visited one their South Korean branches in Myeongdong, Seoul, on a rainy/snowy winter day. Entering the shop was a happy moment, also because Gab and I got the chance to warm up a bit 🙂
Upon entering, a giant Brown the bear would stand in front of the main door, inviting clients to take pictures with him. I resisted, but most of the other customers stood in line to grab this chance, like this cute Japanese girl.
The shop is composed of 2 floors. This a view of the first one:
Some of the (many) goods on sale on the first floor:
I couldn’t resist and I got Choco’s pillow (the one with the pink ribbon of course).
Gab couldn’t resist either and started playing with some of the cushions…
After exploring the first floor, we were ready to visit the upper one.
And of course we found many other “adorabilia” on sale. Many household items on this floor, including cute mugs, cups and even baby wear.
On the second floor I also made a lovely encounter with the perfect-sized Brown. So I couldn’t really resist to take pictures this time!
The time spent in the Line Friends Store was really an enjoyable one! My best “catches” of the day were the Choco super soft pillow and the Choco sleeping mask, both perfect when travelling -and in fact they’ve become my most loyal travel companions since.
On a side note, after so much shopping and looking around, we ended up in the many street food stalls around the Myeongdong shopping area and I decided to try a strawberry mochi sweet: a strawberry and sweet azuki beans heart, covered in a thin layer of mochi (rice cake). It was almost freezing that day and the sweet got kind of hard, but it was delicious!
The perfect end for a perfect afternoon! Now that the weather has gotten so much warmer, I’d like to have that strawberry mochi again (salivating)…
I’ll keep you updated if I get the chance to.