Friday, July 11, 2014

So long, Jyarinco

After 12 years in business, Jyarinco has closed its doors for good  Long one of the best indie shops in Tokyo, Jyarinco was a must-visit shop for figures of all sorts, from sofubi to chogokin to everything in between.

The early players like Popy and Bullmark were well represented, as were later arrivals, in addition to indie sofubi makers. In fact, Jyarinco released a number of Real Head collaborations and stocked a cabinet of indie toys for years.

Jyarinco's story arc is becoming all too familiar, and there are fewer and fewer shops like it in Japan. A major factor is the difficulty of getting new stock. The Internet has become a major means for collectors to unload toys. It's also difficult to compete against the larger shops when it comes to bringing in new product and attracting customer foot traffic.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the trend of everything moving online. I get the convenience, and I think it's great that the Net opens up buying chances for folks who aren't near a shop. But when things tilt so far that the last remaining physical shops are closing their doors, then that's a problem. There really is no substitute for walking into a shop, seeing something for the first time, and chatting with the owner about it. I'm not a luddite, but I do hope the pendulum doesn't swing so far that it knocks out the remaining indie shops.

Whatever the reason for his deciding to move on, I wish Jyarinco's owner all the best in his upcoming endeavors, and I thank him for a dozen great years. The shop leaves a real legacy, not just as a "remember back in the day" line, but as a model of what still can be with current and future shops, where owners are passionate, knowledgeable, and great to talk to and learn from. Thanks so much for that and for the chance to see and buy some great toys!

So long, Jyarinco.


Felipe Thirteen said...

Sucks that it's gone but was there any reason they couldn't move online as well? Kimono My House here in Oakland/Emeryville is one of the best Japanese toystores in the world and barely anyone goes in there, they do the majority of their business on Ebay.

andy b said...

That hybrid model is certainly catching on with some places. But there are issues with staffing, languages issues (when dealing with overseas orders), and to an extent inventory management and infrastructure.

So I hear what you're saying and think that kind of model can be workable for a lot of stores. If it helps the old stores maintain their physical locations (and they don't just turn into a shell of their former self or a stockroom, which I've seen happen), then it's an idea worth considering.

The one major problem that can happen is when people get used to seeing all your inventory online, they might just stop going to your shop altogether (which sounds like may have happened with Kimono's lack of foot traffic). That path can lead stores going all in online and packing up shop to save on the overhead. So there's a balancing act to some extent.

andy b said...

I just checked out Kimono My House's site. They're currently open Sat-Sun 1-5 PM. So it looks like the operations are mostly online (through Ebay) now.

Still it's nice that they're keeping some store hours.

Scott Vb said...

Loved Jyarinco..The store was one of the first I would visit on my Japan trips. So many treasures and a friendly owner.

I shop online but nothing beats searching those crowded shelves and seeing something special in the don't put in your watch list and wait for a week for a chance to bid, you point and negotiate with fingers pen ,paper and some smiles - so much fun!


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