Thursday, 22 November 2012
Kohlindo - online retailer of Chikuhodo makeup brushes: webstore information, and interview with co-founder Malin Schweitz
Following on from my introductory blog post on Chikuhodo, I wanted to share with my readers how to get ahold of these amazing hand-made brushes.
Kohlindo is an online retailer of the coveted Chikuhodo makeup brushes, based in Sweden. They are currently one of only two online retailers that sell and ship Chikuhodo outside of Japan.
I was lucky enough to have a special friend of mine acquire the Chikuhodo Z4 and Z8 Cheek Brushes for me earlier this year direct from Japan, and I have been on a mission ever since to acquire more of these beautiful brushes. I recently purchased the Chikuhodo Z7 Lip Brush and Z10 Eye Shadow Brush from Kohlindo, and have the Z9 Powder Brush on its way to me now. Since first contacting Malin Schweitz, the founder and store manager of Kohlindo, I have gotten to know Malin and a little about her business.
Those of you who have been trying to get ahold of Chikuhodo makeup brushes will know that they are very difficult to come by, unless you have a way of getting them directly from Japan. However, for the last five years, Kohlindo have been selling Chikuhodo brushes - and now Kohlindo are finally getting their name out into the world and international interest is gaining momentum.
My experience with Kohlindo has been amazing, to say the least. Because of my incredibly positive experience, I wanted to present some information about Kohlindo, alongside an interview with Malin about the business and the brushes.
Disclaimer: This blog post and interview was done completely on my own accord - I did not receive payment or compensation. These are my honest and genuine thoughts, opinions, and experiences.
Interview with Malin Schweitz, Founder and Webstore Manager of Kohlindo
First of all, a massive thank you Malin for your time, and for answering all of my questions!!
Malin, how long has Kohlindo been operating for, and for how long have you been the manager?
I, Yumie Tomoi (in Japan) and Peter Einarrson (in Sweden) founded Kohlindo during spring 2008. I have been the manager from the start. Yumie is working with Kohlindo from Japan, and Peter was the one who went to Japan and met Shin Takemori at Chikuhodo. All three of us work together with Kohlindo. Peter with the financials and technical development; me with all the marketing and customer relations; and Yumie works in Japan with Kohlindo.
Yumie and I started as pen pals when we were 15 years old. Today, we are 39 years old, we have children of the same age, and we have a business together.
Did you know about Chikuhodo brushes before you worked for Kohlindo? What attracted you Kohlindo and Chikuhodo brushes?
Yumie and I always sent Christmas presents to each other. In 2006, I was given makeup brushes, Fude from Chikuhodo, and I fell in love! After reading about Chikuhodo I started to understand the beautiful handcraft and I just felt that I must spread the knowledge about the handcraft. After meeting the president of Chikuhodo, we opened Kohlindo. I was so proud, and I have the honour today of selling Chikuhodo's Fude, makeup brushes.
How did you come to work for Kohlindo? Have you always been a lover of makeup brushes?
I have always worked with marketing in different ways. I have been working with advertisements, commercials, music videos and magazines. For some years I also worked as a nail technician with my own salon. I also have a Business Manager degree. My interest for beauty has always been there. I have always loved Japan and their quality culture.
When I had my first makeup brushes from Chikuhodo I just knew, I wanted to start Kohlindo (well, I didn't know the business name at that point). I taked to Peter and Yumie, and we started to work with Kohlindo.
The name Kohlino comes from the Chinese characters of the names Yumie and Malin = "Kohlin" and "do" means shop. As you see in the name Chikuhodo, the ending of the name is "Do".
Since working for Kohlindo, what has been your greatest reward? What do you like most about working for Kohlindo?
I love meeting all lovely people all over the world. We all share an interest and it's lovely. All of our customers are so kind, and every mail I get makes me happy.
I also feel so proud to be honoured to sell Chikuhodo's Fude, makeup brushes. All the Fude, makeup brushes are made with genuine Japanese craftsmanship. To be able to mediate this beautiful tradition is the greatest honour.
What has been your greatest challenge?
To get people to understand that Chikuhodo's makeup brushes are not ordinary makeup brushes. These makeup brushes are all made with Japanese craftsmanship.
Which brushes are your best sellers?
That is difficult to say. We sell a lot from all of the different series. Artist Red, M-series, GS-Series, G-Series, the Z-Series and the MK-2 are all popular.
At this moment in time, in what country is your greatest customer base? Have you sold Chikuhodo brushes to customers in many international locations?
Today we sell brushes all over the world. There is no special country where most of the customers are from. We have customers from Australia, Hawaii and the USA, France, Belgium, Switzerland, UK, Malaysia, US, China and so on. It's really all over the world.
Which Chikuhodo brushes are your personal favourites? What is your favourite hair type?
I really can't tell! I'm sorry... but I am in love with all of the brushes! I do love the handcraft Kaga Maki-e on the MK-Series. But I also love the pink handles of the YP-Series. I love the M-Series and the GS-Series. I love the beauty of the Z Series, and all of the different brushes I find in the Artist Red and Black series. I can go on and on... but, I love them all! I am looking forward to the Christmas sets. I love that Chikuhodo has different sets almost every season.
What brushes would you recommend for someone new to Chikuhodo? Can potential customers contact you for advice?
I often have conversations with new customers asking what kind of brush he/she should look for. After discussing the different hair types and the shapes, we will find a brush or brushes that suit that customer. Many of the customers have read about different brushes already via beauty blogs.
Everyone is welcome to send me an email, contact me via Skype, or publish a post on our Facebook page asking for advice (www.facebook.com/kohlindo). I will always do my best to help!
Now onto the logistics. Can you please give a run-down of the ordering process from Kohlindo for international buyers? From ordering, to payment, to dispatch?
Because we are currently building a new shop (in English) - we want everyone to send in an email with their order.
After I have receved the order, I send an order confirmation. If I have the brush in stock, I will send the brush as soon as I recieve payment. You can see in the shop if the brush is in stock or not. The words "Slut i lager" means out of stock.
If the brush is out of stock, you can reserve the brush and I will send you an email as soon as I have it in stock again. Then an order confirmation is sent, followed by an invoice. After the payment is received, I send the brush directly. We use the services of the Swedish Post Office and often the package is delivered quite fast. We utilise PayPal for payments.
Do you keep many brushes in stock? For brushes not in stock - on average, how long does it take for you to get the brushes in from Japan?
We don't keep too many brushes in stock because there are so many. It usually takes about two to three weeks to get the brushes that are out of stock.
What are your basic shipping charges for international destinations?
Shipping charges have recently changed because of the need to insure packages. At this moment in time, the charges are:
Within the European Union
250 grams - 499 grams (one or two brushes): 118 SEK
500 grams - 999 grams: 180 SEK
Outside of European Union
250 grams - 499 grams (one or two brushes): 130 SEK
500 grams - 999 grams: 190 SEK
A little known fact people would like to know, is that the prices on your webstore are inclusive of VAT - this means that buyers living in non VAT countries actually get a cheaper price. What is the average percentage saving after deducting VAT?
In Sweden we have a 25% VAT. All of the prices quoted on the Kohlindo include Swedish VAT. If you live outside of the European Union, you will NOT pay the Swedish VAT.
Are you able to get the special Chikuhodo Holiday brush sets? For example, the Christmas sets - can you get these in and shipped out in time for Christmas?
Yes! I will get the Christmas sets next week! And yes, you will be able to buy the Chikuhodo Holiday brush sets in time for Christmas.
Are there any plans to incorporate an English language version of the Kohlindo webstore?
In the new shop, we will have an English version. I know it would help many customers. Swedish is not the easiest language to understand!
Many of our customers today use Google Translate or they send an email and ask me about the different brushes.
Does Kohlindo have any plans for expanding the business? What does the future hold for Kohlindo?
We are working on a new shop, but it all takes time. Meanwhile, we are slowly growing. I want to be sure every customer is happy. Quality, the right feeling and happy customers are what is most important for us.
Thank you again Malin for dedicating your time to answer these questions!
My personal experience with Kohlindo
My first email to Malin (sent on a weekday) was answered within 24 hours. After a quick negotiation confirming both the cost of the brushes and the shipping, I requested the Z7 and Z10 brushes.
Malin confirmed that as I lived in Australia, I would be exempt from paying VAT, and as such would be paying a cheaper price than what was listed on the Kohlindo site.
Shipping for the two brushes to Australia was 130 SEK, registered post (about $18 AUD)
The Z7 was in stock; Malin was awaiting more brushes to arrive, including what would become my Z10.
The Z10 arrived in store eight days later. Malin promptly emailed me to inform me that the Z10 had arrived, and emailed me my invoice via PayPal, which I immediately paid.
My package was shipped via registered post within 24 hours of payment. Malin emailed me all of the tracking information.
My package took seven days to arrive in Australia from Sweden. I had to sign for the package to confirm receipt of delivery.
The brushes were exceptionally well packaged...
My Z7 and Z10 came with a gift with purchase G6 Eye Brow Brush!
The Z7 and Z10 are now at home with their Z4 and Z8 brush counterparts...
Kohlindo webstore - Chikuhodo Z Series brush prices ex-VAT
Z1 Powder Brush | 1200.00 SEK
Z2 Highlight Brush | 525.60 SEK
Z3 Contour Brush | 283.20 SEK
Z4 Cheek Brush | 485.60 SEK
Z5 Eye Shadow Brush | 307.20 SEK
Z6 Eye Brow Brush | 257.60 SEK
Z7 Lip Brush | 274.40 SEK
Z8 Cheek Brush | 728.80 SEK
Z9 Powder Brush | 1113.60 SEK
Z10 Eye Shadow Brush | 243.20 SEK
Please refer to XE to check the currency conversion from your local currency to Swedish Krona (SEK).
My experience with Kohlindo has been nothing short of incredible.
If you are looking to buy Chikuhodo brushes, I highly recommend getting in contact with Malin at Kohlindo - she is exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable, and will take care of all your Chikuhodo orders promptly and professionally. Don't forget to tell Malin that Bernadette from Diabolus in Cosmetica sent you!
Thank you for reading!