Hi there everyone!
Today I’ll be introducing one of my favorite things in the world (aside from beauty products and food, of course)–the Kakao Friends! I’ve been obsessed with these characters since I started using KakaoTalk, and I’m excited to finally have been able to visit one of the Kakao Friends Flagship stores during my recent visit to Korea.
Who are the Kakao Friends?
The Kakao Friends are originally characters from the Korea’s biggest and most popular messenger application, KakaoTalk.
Since their creation, the characters have gained so much popularity for their strange and unique personalities that Kakao went from making merchandise pop-up stores, to putting up merchandise stores all over Seoul in 2016. Recently, they also opened a flagship store in Busan, with a cute Apeach Cafe, instead of the usual Ryan Cafes that are all over Seoul.
The characters are as follows:
- Ryan – a lion born without a mane
- Apeach – a genetically modified peach
- Tube – a duck with a frightening alter-ego
- Con – a mysterious tiny crocodile
- Muzi – a rabbit-costume wearing Korean yellow radish
- Frodo – a posh city dog who is the boyfriend of Neo
- Neo – a chic and fashionable city cat who is the girlfriend of Frodo
- Jay-G – a hip-hop loving mole who works as secret agent
Among all of the characters, my absolute (and all-time) favorite is Apeach! I adore and love Apeach’s mischievous, playful, and silly personality as well as how it messes with the rest of the Kakao Friends.
What can I find in the Kakao Friends Store?
On the first floor, you can find the stationary, plush toys, trinkets, and electronics (such as power banks / battery packs, earphones, and speakers) while on the second floor you can find the more “daily life / everyday” items and the items from the special collection. Pillows can also be found on the second floor (as seen above) as well as the Little Friends collection, which features the 8 characters in their “baby” forms.
Some products that can be found on the second floor are also collaborations done by Kakao Friends with other brands, On:TheBody for the bath and cleansing products, Perioe for the toothpaste, Nurimedics for the bandages / plasters, and T-Money for the transportation cards.
Yup, you heard right–you can get various types of themed transportation cards in Korea, and Kakao Friends has several designs (including a necklace charm type) that are available all over Seoul! Take note however, that these are not usually available in the train stations themselves (ex. subway card vending machines) but are available instead in convenience stores.
Generally the products that can be found in the store are a little more expensive than your usual department store, stationary store, or even toy store items–although this is due to the fact that you are paying for licensed and exclusive Kakao Friends products.
One example of such are the make up pouches / pencil cases: small ones go for 12,000KRW (around PHP500) while the larger ones are priced at 16,000KRW (around PHP650) and plush toys go for over 20,000KRW (PHP800-1000).
If you’re not such a huge fan of the Kakao Friends like I am or aren’t familiar with them, I would think twice about purchasing the products in store but for Kakao Friends maniacs like me, I strongly recommend getting at least one thing from the store!
3rd Floor: Ryan Cafe
You can find the Ryan Cafe at the top floor of the Gangnam flagship store (most of the other stores are the same). The cafe serves as a place where customers can get their R&R after shopping at the first two floors of the store. Here you can find (as usual) various Kakao Friends themed baked goods and the usual coffee, because Koreans just love coffee like that.
The prices of the items on the menu are generally within reason, ranging from 4500KRW to 6500KRW depending on the complexity of the drink. It’s a teensy bit more expensive than your regular cafe, but for a themed cafe, it’s not bad at all!
I also got the Apeach strawberry cupcake while Yuki got the Ryan cheesecake (pictured above), which cost us 6500KRW each. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with how the Apeach cupcake turned out. Although it was cute, the cake was dry and didn’t really taste like strawberries at all…sad. Yuki however, was satisfied with the cheesecake but the only downside to it was that the Ryan on top of the cake was just a sheet of paper.
Ryan Cafe also has themed macarons, which are apparently pretty tasty as well!
Kakao Friends Gangnam Flagship Store / Ryan Cafe (Location):
서울특별시 서초구 강남대로 429 동일빌딩 1~3층 (1F-3F 429 Dong-il Building, Gangnamdae-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea)
How to get to there:
- Take subway line #2 all the way to 강남역 (Gangnam Station)
- Come out of exit #10
- Walk straight two blocks (past the Giordano store) and the Kakao Friends Flagship Store should be to your left!