Inside Miniso, the much-hyped variety store’s first Toronto location

Inside Miniso, the much-hyped variety store’s first Toronto location

Move over, Muji and Uniqlo: a new Asian brand has landed at the Toronto Eaton Centre and it’s generating some buzz. Miniso is a super-affordable household goods brand that was co-founded in 2013 by Japanese designer Junya Miyake and Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guo Fu. It’s kind of like a trendy dollar store, selling everything from kitschy underwear to pastel-hued kitchen supplies, with most items ranging from $2.99 to $5.99, and nothing—not even electronics—priced over $35.

It’s expanding rapidly, with nine stores currently open in Ontario and 100 more slated to open in Canada by the end of this year (although that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 2,600 stores that currently exist around the globe). Nearly everything is produced under Miniso’s own label, but they collaborate with major brands like Pink Panther and Hello Kitty on themed merch, and bring in popular drinks and snacks that are tough to find elsewhere. Browsers beware: there’s research that shows that 90 per cent of people who enter the store don’t leave it empty-handed.

The stores are all small, but packed with goods. Each one has the same layout, so customers can always find what they need quickly:


At the front of the store is a sizeable makeup collection, with contour sticks, face masks and these Flawless velvet liquid lipsticks ($5):


The brand’s lineup generally skews toward a younger shopper, as is evident with these cute eye masks ($3):


Portable speakers ($25) come in pretty colours, and, when we visited, were also supplying the store with some decent-quality sound:


They sell a line of desk lamps, and this one ($10) comes with a built-in fan:


The brand’s power banks (external batteries for cell phones) are one of their more popular sellers ($3). They’re good for about four to five charges:


The stationery section is well-stocked with all kinds of pens, pencils, markers and notepads:


Why buy regular dishtowels when you can buy ones ($3) that resemble woodland creatures?


They sell a lot of super-soft plushies, and teamed up with Pink Panther on a line (the largest of which is $10):


Ceramic-coated frying pans sell for around $12:


Snacks from popular Asian brands are switched up regularly:


Aside from some Diet Coke, the drinks are mostly Japanese brands:

220 Yonge St., 416-598-8560,