A sweet brush fairy tale in Japan – Chapter 1: Hakuhodo

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There are no words to describe how I felt before, during and after my encounter with Hakuhodo’s team. I have to call it a fairy tale, the sensations are way too intense to feel like a real moment in my life. I know some of you can understand my emotion because you know me, you know the depth of my passion, my love for brushes and my admiration for the craftsmen hidden behind them.

This is how my Hakuhodo fairy tale started…
I sent an email to the Hakuhodo USA branch asking them if it was possible to visit their Japan manufacture. I immediately got an exciting reply from Stephanie ensuring me that they would help me to schedule a tour.

Already after that first email I was totally crazy nervous imagining the tour, the meeting with them, watching them at work was a dream but I did not know it would be even more magical than in any dream I had !

Stephanie went beyond expectations, she sent me loads of emails with amazing recommendations about Japan and she coordinated my visit. She also told me that since I was considered by them as a “VIP” -another reason to feel even more nervous – they would directly pick me up at my hotel in Hiroshima.
My tour was scheduled for the morning of the 29th of May, I had to wait in the lobby and as planned Mr Nakata, a staff from Hakuhodo, arrived at 9am and drove me to their manufacture. During the car trip I was looking around, asking him a lot of questions since he spoke english, I hope I did not bother him too much but I was so happy to be able to talk to someone ! I was also trying to keep talking because I was so nervous that I thought I would bug and go forever silent at any moment.

It took us around 40 minutes to arrive, it’s in the middle of nowhere and not close to the other manufactures in Kumano, if you don’t get a taxi or have someone drop you there it’s going to be very difficult to locate them. When we got there we took our shoes off and we entered the reception where their shop is also located. There are approx 10 people working there I believe. All the employees greeted to me with such a huge warm smile ! It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with each and everyone of them.

Hak_office3

Unfortunately I don’t know the names of all of them, maybe you have spoken to Miki by email (she is holding the Hakuhodo poster in front of me), close to me is the General Manager, Mr Ko Takamoto.

On the next pic, on my right is Yuko, on my left Mr Takamoto. Yuko was my contact before my visit, she organized that I could visit when Mr Takamoto was present to show me around and spend some time with me.

Hak_office

Yuko introduced me to Mr Takamoto “Japanese style” in his office , you know how it is : holding the business card with two hands, reading the card with respect. I was going to bow but he showed me his hand so we shook hands instead. Unlike Obama I did not bow at the same time :D I just looked down with respect… You are not supposed to both bow and shake hands, it’s either one or the other.  I wanted to say a few words in Japanese but my brain froze :( I couldn’t remember anything at all, it was worst than any exam I took, a very embarrassing moment !  When you visit a company in Japan you are supposed to bring a present with you, I offered them Swiss Chocolates and they told me later that they enjoyed them very much :)

After tea we left the office for the tour, Mr Takamoto was explaining everything and Yuko was translating in English. I did not know if I could take pictures because of the professional secret and the respect towards the workers, at some point I politely asked and they said “of course you can take pictures !” I tried not to fire my camera every time he showed me something because I did not want to bother them too much but I still have a few pics to share with you.

The first thing that surprised me is to see that it was a family business, with 500’000 brushes produced in average in a month but still, a family business where the family works too.

In the next picture, Mr Takamoto on the left, then his mum (Mr Kazuo Takamoto’s wife). Mr Kazuo Takamoto founded Hakuhodo in 1974. Then his sister is the 3rd person from the left. You can clearly see the resemblance ! Her mum is working at the end of the manufacture production, checking the products before their distribution.

Hakuhodofamily

They all were so sweet to me, so infinitely kind and welcoming that it didn’t feel like a work place, they immediately felt like family to me. I felt so close to them that I had to control myself at all times and I just didn’t succeed very well- meeting them was deeply emotional.  They looked at me as if I was someone really special to them and that was the most touching moment, overwhelming.

This is just part of a thank you email I received from Yuko after my visit :

Thank you for visiting our office yesterday. It was a pleasure meeting with you.
I was impressed and honored by your kind respect towards fude manufacturers and deep understanding of Japanese traditions and its value. We all appreciated to meet someone like you. Thank you for taking your valuable time to visit us.
During my visit Mr Takamoto was explaining what they were doing and why. I will actually do a separate post on “brush making” because the process although similar, can vary depending on the brands, I think it’s better to cover that topic on a bigger post to explain the steps of a handmade make up brush. It will certainly answer many of your questions.
When we stopped near this girl below she was so nervous when we were looking at her that she started shaking like a leaf and had difficulties being precise, Mr Takamoto and us all started laughing (of course also her) and that was actually a very funny and touching moment.
Hak_manufacture5
This section is part of the one in charge of  “Calligraphy, Menso (the painting of dolls’ faces), Nihonga (Japanese painting), Oil Painting, Design and for Industrial purposes
Hak_manufacture4
They hire and work with great painters who paint with the Hakuhodo brushes and test them, this ensures that their tools are of the best quality and performance. They have beautiful paintings with so much detail it’s unbelievable.
Hak_paintings2
They took some out to show me, I was amazed to see what can be achieved with a brush.
Hak_paintings1
Hak_paintings
The make up brushes are made in a separate section of the building or “big house”… if you look at the views out the windows you can have an idea of the environment around this manufacture in Kumano.
As I said previously, I will explain how make up brushes are made in a separate post so then you can come back to this post and understand what they are doing. Sorry I don’t go into much detail right now but I am still lacking some info (naming of the tools for example) and I want to write a post that covers the whole process.
The problem I had is that I wasn’t prepared and I wanted to ask so many questions that I ended in total confusion, my brain was processing too many things, too much distraction ! :D
Hak_manufacture3
Hakuhodo Japan hires 230 employees (including 120 part time employees). They told me that due to their recent increase in international sales, they need to hire more resources and that is what also causes the increase in prices.
Hak_manufacture2
Unlike some other companies, Hakuhodo do not like to publish who their OEM companies are and since you could certainly recognize the handles as you browse the pics to avoid this kind of intrusion I did not take any where it was more confidential.
Hak_manufacture1
Do you want to dive into that bed of brushes ? Because I do…
Hak_manufacture
You can see the entrance at the right of the picture. Just after you enter, on the right is Mr Takamoto’s office, in front of the brushes are their administrative offices which is an open space.
Hak_shop
I took some pictures of the brushes available, I always wanted to try their portable brushes but was not sure if the quality was the same as other standard brushes, the hair is but the handles are not as beautiful as their S or Kokutan series of course.
Hak_office5
If I had no budget limitation, I would have bought many many brushes… I still got many but I am surprised I was even lemming more !!! I am definitely not yet finished with them ! Scary…
Hak_kabukis
I wanted the little fan one on the center (left) in the next pic but there wasn’t any left so I got the other little one on its right, it will be nice for contour. I will get the other that was sold out at some point in the future. Very handy soft contour brush to keep in the beauty bag.
Hak_fans
These are some painting / calligraphy brushes, since I tried calligraphy in Japan I am now also addicted to those brushes :) I am glad I don’t paint otherwise imagine the financial disaster …
Hak_brushes1
They have some little treasures with special paintings on the handles that are very expensive, soooo tempting….
Hak_special
These I don’t think they are for sale, they are very old and unique releases if I remember correctly.
Hak_special2
This is a “sample” of what I bought either directly in their manufacture shop or in other Hakuhodo boutiques. As you see they are many, I wasn’t choosing them randomly, I have a precise reason for each one I bought.
  • The first is because at this moment my fav shape of brush is flat-round, this one is to compare with the red Shu Uemura or with other similar squirrel options. I want to check out the result with different materials but same shape.
  • The two big crease eyeshadow brushes will be for highlight and contour, I am always complaining that some contour brushes are too dense, too directional and can deliver a muddy application, these are to test with that idea in mind.
  • The 4th (Kokutan) is simply because the shape and softness of the head is extraordinary.
  • The 5th and 6th is because I wanted backups for these 2 HG brushes so I got a different handle ones. I use them almost every day, I keep two like these at work now.
  • The pink and blue are just for travelling and comparison with similar options, I was looking for a black Mac 239 option and for another eyeliner brush.
  • The foundation (9th from the left) is because I am in a big foundation brush kick since 2 or 3 months, I am now trying to get different ones in order to publish a post about “brush decision-making”, it started as a little post but I get so many questions by email that I decided I would do a bigger post that would probably answer many of those questions.
  • The S series crease kolinsky brush is just amazing, I am so happy I got it because it’s not available in their USA website.
  • The last two stippling from the S series are BEAUTIFUL to look at, since these are amongst my favorite brushes ever I could not leave without them ! They are now available on their USA website too. I love them, I wish they expand these series even further !
Some of my Hakuhodo acquisitions are missing in the pic but in the future you will see posts about them. If you have questions in the meantime do not hesitate.
hakuhodo
I also thought it would be nice to get a few pouches to show you in detail, you cannot easily find reviews on pouches and I thought that could be a nice idea. I selected these because I want an individual brush holder. For my trips I pack mostly shorter brushes but I still manage to take a long one in the group… this is to also protect it without having to take a big case just because of one long brush.  If it’s an S series like the stippling one, it’s important that it’s safely packed too.
hakuhodobags
Remember I mention I gave Swiss chocolates to them, Mr Takamoto gave me as a present 3 of their traditional series. Imagine you receive brushes as a present (youhoooo) then imagine they are given to you by the General Manager (gasp), I was truly honored and excited like crazy. I will keep them safely packed and as decoration on the wall of my future studio room… maybe in a frame ? if that sounds creepy let me know :D
presenthakuhodo
I wasn’t expecting such a warm and friendly welcome and to be honest with you, I didn’t want to leave them. Despite the cultural differences and the language barrier it felt like I fully belonged to that world, heart and soul. I just wanted to be alone for a while because I was overwhelmed and needed to calm down but that didn’t happen. The plan was that after the visit, Mr Takamoto would drive me to the museum of brushes in order for me to visit and meet Tanseido for the afternoon. I arrived at the museum at approx 12:20, Mr Takamoto left me with the museum’s curator and Tanseido arrived at 1pm to pick me up.
I later received an email from Marty (USA) saying that Mr Takamoto felt sorry he couldn’t treat me to lunch that day but he wishes next time he could do so.
Next time ? yes I will go back, definitely.
For those of you who want to shop Hakuhodo brushes in Japan without going to Kumano, you can find the whole collection at the Terra Asios boutique in Tokyo. I have uploaded a plan here.
hakuhodostore
hakuhodostore3
You can also find some in department stores, addresses are linked here.
That’s it, it’s not the end of the fairy tale because some more chapters will follow ! Still, my prince charming already rescued me : I had ordered business cards, paid an insane price for a speedy on time delivery that did not happen. My bf rescued me by working all Saturday creating and printing me some business cards I could take with me and exchange with them. Special thanks to him not only for the cards but for pushing me to go because that was a hell of a trip.
Also, a HUGE thank you to all of you, I won’t say it enough, you are the best and without you this fairy tale would have never begun.

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87 Comments

  1. Wayne Goss

    10 July, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Darling, i just loved reading this and looking at the pictures. And i’m a huge Miki fan myself :) xx

  2. Bea

    10 July, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Ohhhhhh myyyyyyyyy! Awesome! Awesome! I swear Sonia my heart literally goes pitter patter when I read your Japan posts. :P I need the S series stippling brushes and that kolinsky crease brush! O_O Off to email this post to Marty and ask him about it haha! :) :) :)

    • Sylvia

      10 July, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Yes.
      Kolinsky crease brush.
      Want.

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      10 July, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      :D I suspected there would be interest on the S stippling, they are soooo sexy !!! you need them Bea !

  3. Meredith

    10 July, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    This certainly does look like a fairy tale trip! It’s not at all creepy about putting the gift brushes up on display. I think it’s very nice and a great idea.

  4. Julie

    10 July, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Wow, this must have been such an emotional trip! My head would’ve been spinning 100 miles a minute with questions :). It’s also amazing to see how many kinds of brushes are available in the shops. I cannot wait for your future posts, it is very rare to come across this type of information on a blog, never mind for brushes! We all appreciate the time and effort you put into these posts, thank you!!

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      10 July, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      oh thank you Julie, it’s a pleasure to share with you, I wish you were all with me that day, we would need a week because just with me 3 hours it seemed like 3 minutes, no time for much. I appreciate this kind of feedback, very happy to know that reporting on their culture is interesting too. Sorry I could not get many more details but I have contacts so in case of questions, you know you can ask me and I’ll try to get you the answers.

  5. Sylvia

    10 July, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Sonia, I deeply appreciate your sharing this special, special journey into the heart of exquisite brushes. Can’t wait to read more!

  6. Twyla

    10 July, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Oh my goodness that is just so exciting! I haven’t commented in quite a while but i couldn’t pass this up. :)
    What an honour it was to have such a trip arranged, it sounds like a dream come true.
    After reading this i know that i MUST branch out now from my usual MAC/Trish brush arsenal and get some of these beautiful brushes. I can see that my makeup collection won’t be “whole” without them :).
    What a wonderful trip, thank you for sharing it with us!

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 4:46 am

      Hi Twyla,
      thank you for commenting :)
      be careful, if you start you may get a bit addicted to Japanese brushes ;) but please keep in touch and let us know how you are getting on with your future new acquisitions !!

      • Twyla

        17 July, 2013 at 5:41 pm

        I just placed my first order! Sooo very excited. I ordered 7 brushes to start – mostly eyeshadow, and one angled stippling brush for foundation. I’ll be sure to check in when they arrive :).
        Thanks again, your reviews here are *invaluable*.
        xo

        Twyla

      • Twyla

        20 July, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        Can you tell i’m excited by all my comments? Lol.
        Here is my review of the brushes i purchased – i credited and linked to you, because if it weren’t for you i would never have discovered these! So thank you again, Sonia.

        http://painted-lily.blogspot.com/2013/07/hakuhodo-brush-love.html

        xo

        • Sweet Make Up Temptations

          21 July, 2013 at 9:38 pm

          omg Twyla, amazing :) thank you !
          take care and enjoy them !

          • Twyla

            24 July, 2013 at 6:01 pm

            Oh, i am enjoying them very much – and i am going to need more, lol!
            Thank you so much for commenting on my blog, i rambled on for a bit in my reply :). You’re so right, it’s highly contagious!

  7. Jeanette

    10 July, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    This must really have been a trip to remember for life! And almost to much to digest in such a short time. I love the brushes even more now that I know with what love and due diligence they are made. Thank you very much for sharing!

  8. Mary

    10 July, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Fantastic place to be. Glad you got to go to the factory. Looking forward to more photos of the factory.
    Those brushes you were given as a present….use them girl as they would have wanted you to enjoy their beautiful mess on your face. If you don’t “use” them then they become the state of “useless”.

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 4:55 am

      Hi Mary !
      Thanks for your thoughts :) I had two of the brushes they gave me (Mr Takamoto thought that I wouldn’t have any of the traditional series), the pencil style brush is for example for the application of lipstick Geisha-style, it’s not something I will necessarily use often :) but a fantastic souvenir !

  9. Vivian

    10 July, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing! It’s awesome to read your experience there as I don’t know many people who can do that!! =)

  10. Tashonda Daniels

    11 July, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience :-) (I also can’t believe Mr. Goss commented on your post i adore him) But i have a question, is it cheaper to buy the brushes in Japan or is it about the same as ordering online?

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 5:05 am

      you are welcome Tashonda !
      Actually Wayne and I are close friends, I love him dearly, we communicate by email very often and when I am not well he writes to me everyday to get news, I can’t believe he still has time for his friends but believe me, he is a fantastic person.
      For the prices I think it’s just the same, the choice is better online for some companies. For me it’s cheaper in Japan because of the custom taxes I have to pay when I receive a parcel, and the shipping when it’s not free can also add some cost. Some sites have offers like Rakuten, even some brushes can be at 50% but if you target big brands like Hakuhodo it will be the same price getting them there or online. I hope this answers your question, if you think of a particular brand let me know.

  11. Lillian

    11 July, 2013 at 3:59 am

    Sonia, you have single-handedly taken us to a whole new level with your posts; how can we ever begin to repay you for all the joy you bring to us?
    Your passion, your authenticity, your impeccable taste – together with your willingness to share it all with your readers – just boggles the mind.
    It doesn’t surprise me at all that you were treated like a VIP, because you are indeed a Very Important Person, and so very appreciated.
    Thank you for so much!

    ~ Lillian

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 8:37 am

      Lillian you make me happy :)
      my idea when I started this blog was to write about beauty related products or topics that are not often discussed or shown on the web, I wish I had more time to spend on the blog but since it’s not case, I decided to restrain my articles to things that are still to be discovered (it’s not always the case but I try to follow that idea :) ).
      and you have already repay me by the way :D

  12. Lillian

    11 July, 2013 at 4:07 am

    Oh and PS: The S Series Kolinsky is calling my name loudly!

  13. Ann

    11 July, 2013 at 4:14 am

    That was such a great experience for you!!! Im so happy for you. We know of your passion and love for makeup brushes, and that welcome and experience they gave you is really very touching.
    Can I ask how you wash your kabuki brushes like the koyudo mushroom and macaroons? Do you let them stay up? Im worried that there might be glue that holds the hair and if I got them wet it will ruin the hold on my brush. Or I’ll just wait for your brush making post so I will know if handcrafted brushes rely on glue to hold them with the ferrules. Thanks

  14. cc

    11 July, 2013 at 6:02 am

    OMG That bed of BRUSHES!! I wanna dive in too!!

    I would definitely frame up the gift brushes. It would be such a wonderful art display.

    I bought the Kolinsky crease brush and the stippling brush too. The very kind Hakuhodo girl told me that the stippling brush is good for cream blush. I am going to try it with the new Dior blushes. Thanks for the recommendations. :)

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 8:56 am

      :D
      I can’t wait to have my little treasure studio ready and then decorate it :) this weekend we rented a truck and we should be able to empty that room of all the stuff and I have to start planning the thing.. finally !!!
      for the blushes maybe the S stippling is too big… not sure… but this morning I used a stippling to apply it :) The little white LE from Real Techniques, but I think it would be better with a slightly denser one.
      I wanted to get the Panama Dior one too, but 3 of the 4 was already too much !!!!

      • Gladys L.

        11 July, 2013 at 4:36 pm

        treasure studio~

        I kind of visualise a firearm room of 007 or Batman, those having automatic doors and automatic drawers. : p

        If I can have such a room I may put false infra red rays there in Halloween, to play a trick at my visitors.

        • Sweet Make Up Temptations

          11 July, 2013 at 7:27 pm

          muahahaha can’t stop laughing here !! that’s a great idea Gladys, onto it I will :D honestly gives me ideas ;)

  15. Malin, Kohlindo

    11 July, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Hi Sonia :)
    I LOVE reading about your trip! The handcraft is sooo beautiful and the people are the kindest. Im so happy you went to Japan :) And I cant wait to read about Chikuhodo ;)

    I love the brushes that Mr Takamoto gave you. They are so beautiful :)

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Hi Malin ! Omg, how are you and how are things going ;) ? Please keep me updated, I want to make sure everything is going well.
      oh don’t worry… the Chikuhodo post is also going to be magic :) Can’t wait to show you what happened with Yumie.
      I agree, they are very special. I also got some from Chikuhodo’s President, these presents are so precious, I am blessed!

      • Sylvia

        12 July, 2013 at 12:40 pm

        Yes, Malin!
        Please let us know how things are going!

        • Malin, Kohlindo

          12 July, 2013 at 7:55 pm

          Hi :)
          We are fine, you are so kind! The baby is coming very very soon. He was going to come the 4th of July :)

          Thank you so much for asking and thinking of us :)

  16. Malin, Kohlindo

    11 July, 2013 at 10:33 am

    And Wayne: Im waiting for your brushes :D I think everyone will love them!

  17. Star Girl

    11 July, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I haven’t been to Japan in many years, but your post reminded me of how incredibly gracious the Japanese are towards visitors. Not to mention their exquisite sense of detail and design sensibility. The post also revealed more of your character, Sonia (to a new follower) and what a warm and lovely person you are. Looking forward to reading more about what you discovered in Japan…and the birth of your studio (as exciting as Kate and Will’s baby, in my books!) :)

    Best, Star.

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Star, you are so sweet and funny :D
      I totally agree with you, they have a great sense of detail, but it’s often natural for them, no additional effort, it’s in their culture to make things right. They were very surprised to see how many fans they have abroad and the employees felt extremely proud that what they made was so much appreciated internationally, I felt like this was even motivating them more ! :)

  18. silvita

    11 July, 2013 at 11:29 am

    WOW such an unbelievable experience! It makes me want to cry, seeing those lovely skilled artisans making the brushes by hand, they made the ones I’ve purchased probably. It brings the whole human experience together. I am now an unconditional fan of Hakuhodo thanks to you. The brushes infuse the morning rush with beauty and luxury. You are a special woman and have brought much joy to many sharing your experiences here on your blog. I want to thank you for your sincerity. The world is full of badness but it is also full of beauty and joy—THANK YOU!!!!

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Yes they probably did ! If you are now an unconditional fan of Hakuhodo just wait for the upcoming posts ;)
      I loved them before but I love them even more now :D Their zenitude is contagious and I wish people were as humble here as they are in Japan, unfortunately it’s not the case.
      Thank you for your sweet comment Silvita I really appreciate it, makes my day and makes me want to give even more… I wish I had more time to devote to you all <3
      Take care :)

  19. Stacy

    11 July, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Thank you for the trip into brush heaven! I would so love to be locked overnight there! Can you imagine playing to your hearts content! You truly have opened doors to so many! Your thorough and detailed explanations of the brushes you meticulously select are invaluable and not to be found anywhere else!! As always, I thank you for a fantastically interesting post! Kolinsky crease is all I can think about!!!!! ;)
    xoxo

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Hi Stacy !
      If only we could go there together ! Imagine the insanity :D
      I am relieved I am not considered as a crazy obsessed person :D if these posts can help, inform or entertain, I am more than happy :P
      It’s difficult for me to recommend one brush to somebody I don’t even know, I thought that if I explain how and why I buy what I buy it can help customers ask the right questions and decide with more confidence.
      I hope this way of sharing my thoughts will be of interest to you all :) !
      big hug !!

  20. Bonnie

    11 July, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I just want to run my cheek (whole body!?) across that bed of fluffiness! It is so, so, so amazing and thank you for telling us about it from such a genuine perspective :)

    Btw, do you mind asking the Terra Asios boutique what dates they usually close around the Christmas period? I’m going to Japan!!! – most likely Dec 23rd to Jan 4th, and I’m worried a lot of places will be closed :(

    • Stephanie

      11 July, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Bonnie! Christmas actually isn’t a big holiday in Japan (in terms of closing shops or schools) so you should be fine till New Years. New Years is the big holiday, and banks, for example, are closed on Jan 1-3. December 23rd is also the Emperor’s birthday, so it is a holiday as well.

      • Sweet Make Up Temptations

        11 July, 2013 at 7:38 pm

        thank you :) so cool ! answer direct from the source ;) how great is that ??

      • Bonnie

        14 July, 2013 at 4:35 am

        Thanks so much for your reply, Stephanie :) But oh no! December 23rd and Jan 1-3 are the days I plan to be in Tokyo, the rest of that time I’ll be travelling between Hokkaido and Osaka/Kyoto :( I think I picked a terrible time to go shopping in Tokyo….

        Do you think that if I ordered a few brushes from Hakuhodo, I could pick them up and pay for them altogether from the Tokyo store on the 24th in the morning before I head up to Hokkaido?

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Hi Bonnie :) muahaha it’s our “cleopatra milk” bath, *purrrrrr*
      Stephanie just replied to you :) omg you are going ????

      • Bonnie

        14 July, 2013 at 4:42 am

        Hi Sonia!! So glad to get those posts :) I can just imagine that entire “bath” purring at us. Or maybe we’ll be doing the purring???

        I am fine! I just booked all my international flights around Sydney, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. So excited!! But I just realised I probably picked the WORST dates to go to Tokyo for shopping because everything may be closed :( Am going to try and work in a Tokyo shopping day in Tokyo in between Hokkaido and Kyoto/Osaka so that I can do all my brush shopping. I don’t think I will have time to make it to Kumano….

        • Bonnie

          14 July, 2013 at 4:47 am

          Actually, I’m going to be Osaka I realised LOL I can just shop there phew! Unless there are stores that are specifically in Tokyo??

          I have so much time to plan though so no worries! I think just suddenly realising my dates in Tokyo were all holidays was just… devastating ==

        • Sweet Make Up Temptations

          15 July, 2013 at 10:54 am

          if you know the hotels, maybe you can order online and have them previously sent to the hotel… (but maybe you should inform the hotel before just in case).
          Imagine you get to your hotel and you have brushes at the reception… sweeeeeeeeet ;)

          • Bonnie

            15 July, 2013 at 1:16 pm

            You know how in some honeymoon suites they sprinkle your bed with roses…. a bed of brushes… mmmmm,,,,, (imagine how many brushes I would have to buy!!!)

            It would be such a shame if I couldn’t shop, wouldn’t it!?

          • Sweet Make Up Temptations

            15 July, 2013 at 3:22 pm

            oh dear.. I think I could do that, I probably own enough … but it would be so sad to damage them :(
            It would be sad, it really felt surreal to be in a “brush shop”, really totally surreal…. you should try that ! awesome !
            sometimes when the sa came to ask me if I need help or when we talk they realized I knew the products so well they were in shock :) I am really happy and proud to say that I managed to surprise them ;)

          • Bonnie

            18 July, 2013 at 6:34 am

            You truly are the brush queen (and queen of hearts!) as buggsiebee mentioned in another post :) I’m definitely going to be hitting up those brush stores if they’re open! I’m really hoping that they will be….

          • Sweet Make Up Temptations

            18 July, 2013 at 6:42 am

            you are both so sweet ! It’s probably giving ideas for an eventual future little logo :D an evil queen with a brush :P
            I will find you the infos about the stores !

          • Bonnie

            22 July, 2013 at 1:14 am

            Thanks so much Sonia – what would we do without you!? Don’t worry about doing it right away as it’s only July and I’m sure they might not even know until closer to the date! I will send you emails just before you go, I think!

  21. Nikoleta

    11 July, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Wow, brush paradise and everybody seems so nice. You surely had a tough time to choose among all those jewels. It’s so pity USA site can’t sell kolinsky brushes because of the restrictions :(

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      I know, what a pity..
      I had a tough time choosing, I thought I wouldn’t want anymore but I was jumping like a little girl :D

    • Sylvia

      12 July, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Why are there those restrictions, Nicoleta?

      • Sweet Make Up Temptations

        12 July, 2013 at 12:47 pm

        I believe these are to discourage wild harvest of kolinsky hair. Although some companies are cruelty free, others would take profit of that therefore all the market has to stick to the same regulations.

  22. Laurie Aiello

    11 July, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    You are absolutely Brilliant! Your blog is my go-to for all my professional makeup needs! Comprehensive, articulate, and passionate. The work you put into this blog should be read by every professional and those that want to be! Thank you for all your hard work!

  23. producthoochie

    11 July, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    What a fabulous experience! Very interesting post, too!

  24. Stephanie

    11 July, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Sonia! This is Stephanie (from Hakuhodo). This is a wonderful post! We are very glad you enjoyed your time in Japan. It was nice for me too to see the pictures because I have not visited the factory. Thanks for the great read! <3

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      11 July, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      Ohh ! Hi Stephanie :)
      I sure did enjoy, thank you so much for your precious help, your emails were very reassuring actually, they made me feel more calm before my departure.
      You have been amazing to me, will never forget that ! If I ever go to the USA I wish I could meet you !

      • Stephanie

        12 July, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        I would love to meet you! I hope you can come to the USA some day. <3 If you are ever in Southern California, let me know!

        You are such a sweetheart. I love reading your blog, and I have learned a ton about makeup and such things!

        I am glad my advice helped you relax, that was my goal. :)

  25. Devin

    11 July, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Another great post Sonia. I am just so glad that we get to see inside these great companies and meet some of the wonderful people that work for them.

  26. Anna

    12 July, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Amazing “fairy tale”… I really enjoy this post and only can imagine how much preperation you needed for this trip (all the things with Japanese tradition, like presents).
    The othre thing is: reading your posts ALWAYS ended up in ordering more brushes!

    So Hakuhodo here we go!

  27. Lena

    13 July, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Awesome post as always. Sonia can you please tell me the exact numbers/names of the 4th, 5th and the 6th brush you purchased?

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      13 July, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Sure !
      The 4th is Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush MLL
      the 5th is the beige version of the J142 (but on the USA website they don’t have these handles, just the normal black ones)
      the 6th is the beige version of the G5520

  28. Lena

    14 July, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Thank you !

  29. Bea

    17 July, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Where in the world is Melissa?! I would have thought she would be all over these Japan posts but have not seen her??

    • Sweet Make Up Temptations

      17 July, 2013 at 7:37 am

      Maybe on holiday ?
      My last private email with her was June 12th… I am trying to convince her to move to Switzerland ! :D

      • Bonnie

        18 July, 2013 at 6:35 am

        She’s probably going to turn up on your doorstep any moment now :P

        • Sweet Make Up Temptations

          18 July, 2013 at 6:39 am

          I am sure !!! I am trying to work out a solution “job wise” at the moment :D
          I hope it will be ok, then you’ll have to come live here too :D

  30. Bonnie

    12 August, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Hakuhodo’s Fall 2013 set consists of all synthetic brushes, just released :)

    • Sweet make up temptations

      12 August, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      haven’t seen it yet …thank you :)

  31. Saher

    8 December, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Wow! I almost got emotional reading that myself and enjoying the pictures. Thank you for respecting another culture and their values. You ooze with passion, grace and a warm heart. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  32. Pingback: Girl in a Trench Coat | Hakuhodo USA Showroom Experience

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