The modern general store can’t be found in Brooklyn, or Portland, or any other quirked-out city where the general store label is now affixed to at least a quarter of all vintage stores. No, the true contemporary general store is actually located in Tokyo, or to be more specific right online at Muji.us. Few, if any, current stores are guided by the same catchall attitude of the classic general store, but Muji is a true one stop shop, peddling affordable housewares, kitchen tools, office supplies, furniture, travel gear, healthcare products, various nicknacks, and even a complete clothing collection.
What’s more, unlike your local big box store, Muji’s products are actually all beautifully designed. Their furniture has a strong Scandinavian minimalism look, while their housewares reference the work of Dieter Rams (particularly their analog clock), and their clothing selections consists of understated basics that could comfortably sit next to any high end designer pieces. At least from an aesthetic standpoint. Consider Muji a Japanese modernist take on the colonial-era emporium. The only thing that’s missing from their portfolio is some food, but it wouldn’t surprise us if Muji starts rolling that out any day now.
While we’re sure at least one of you could find a use for any of Muji’s products, we’ve rounded up our personal favorites to help streamline your Muji experience.
Standing Collar Shirt/Linen Trousers/Cotton Sneakers/Panama Hat
Rice Bowl/LED Light/Magazine Rack/Soy Sauce Bottle/Acacia Plate/Wall Clock
Cardboard Speakers/Shower Caddy/Four Wheel Suitcase/Umbrella/Flannel Down Blanket
Notebooks/Colored Pencils/Stone Dish/Stamp Set/Tokyo Cityscape Pen Organizer
Comments on “Muji | The Modern General Store”
Actually Muji does sell food! Definitely a true general store. Love the visiting the stores.
If you are in Japan you can find there cafe / restaurants in some locations. Others have packaged snacks.
One of the highlights of my visit to Tokyo last fall (October 2013) was a visit to the Muji Store.
It seemed to distill the essence of Japan in its comprehensive and organic array of everything from custom embroidered sweatshirts to architectural services, from natural foods to a classroom lecture sat in by rows of attentive women.
Intelligent, imaginative, well-designed, modern and functional; all adjectives applicable to Muji.
Actually Muji also has food – I saw two stores in Tokyo with a whole cafeteria style cafe, and they offer lots of pre-packaged food – mostly snack items, but also some ready-to-heat curries and sauces.
At the Tokyo superstore, you can even buy the house (and appliances) to contain all the smalls. As I recall they offer a modular assembled-to-order model, which you design in conjunction with a Muji specialist. What other brand can sell you the house, the fridge that goes in the house, and the food that goes in the fridge?
You do know there are Muji stores in the States? Five in NY and 3 in California, the largest in Hollywood. I was in the LA location back in February, and it had everything you show: household items, furniture, M/W clothes, some bottled foods,and lots of knick-knacks.
Great stuff at Muji. I highly recommend their recycled yarn socks.
Muji is in the Uk Us among other places. My problem in the US Muji is simple. In the US (NY) they fail to carry very much of their line. They carry a little more in LA which doesn’t make that much sense to me. The pairing down of the line, while cheaper for them, really doesn’t present the US customer with a true sense of the line
Muji is the bomb!
I got a great Macintosh-style raincoat from the Soho location a year ago. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made. People are always asking me where I got it, like it’s some high end designer coat.
Anyway, if you dig Muji’s approach to the general store, you have got to check out Manufactum in Germany. It’s Muji, ikea, and Sears all rolled into one, and then injected with steroids. Their product line ranges from lighting to garden tools to clothing to office supplies to food to beer to children’s toys to kitchen equipment to furniture, and all their products are built to last a lifetime. If you purchase a Manufactum shovel, that is the last damn shovel you will ever have to buy! And their 400+ page catalog (all in German) is a joy to flip through. You’ll ooh and ahh at everything as you try and decipher all the German text.
In fact, an American company, such as Sears, would be smart to follow Manufactum’s- or even Muji’s- business model. Imagine Sears rising out of the ashes (and it’s tarnished brand image) by turning around and offering a wide range of well-designed and we’ll-(American-)made products, all presented in a hard-copy catalog. You know, like they used to…
Do the Muji’s in the US offer the same size clothing as the ones in Japan? I find their clothing a bit small for me :(
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