What excites shoppers? The merchandise, the layout of a store, the service and the overall atmosphere all play a role. Gift & Home Today asked writer Louise Burton to share her thoughts of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World, Florida.
When I shop for home décor, one of the things I always look for is great Asian design. Because I have a difficult time finding stores that sell traditional Japanese crafts and décor, I was delighted to discover a branch of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World. The main store is located in Tokyo, and the WDW store is the only branch in North America.
Every year, my husband and I go to a trade show held in one of the Disney World hotels. Although we’re there to work, we find time to visit the theme parks. Visiting the EPCOT Center’s World Showcase is like walking around a huge bazaar with great international food and music. And one of the biggest draws is the shopping.
In the women’s department, there were exquisite wall hangings and purses made out of kimono fabric and colorful silk brocade. Several young Japanese women dressed in stunning kimonos stood behind glass cases of Mikimoto pearl jewelry, while others sat at a table writing calligraphy on fans.
I truly wanted everything I saw in the women’s department. I had so many choices, I didn’t know what or how to choose. My husband returned to warn me the EPCOT closing fireworks were about to begin. I let myself be dragged out without buying anything. What could I do? There was no way to choose when what I wanted was everything. I promised myself that one day I would return.
When we finally visit EPCOT again, I wondered, will the Mitsukoshi shopping experience be as I remembered it?
But the further back I went, the more things I remembered: a small black handbag with the image of a gold crane spreading its wings, silk brocade purses, teacups, jewelry. In particular, jewelry made out of kimono fabric. I was attracted to a sparkling Sakura (cherry blossom) pendant, as well as a red-and-black floral pendant shaped like a donut (see pictures).
Because I love all things Sakura, a set of Sakura hairpins caught my eye, but they were just the tiny tip of the iceberg. The hairpins were sitting on a glass case containing a wealth of traditional Japanese hair ornaments made from satin flowers and silk brocade. Unfortunately, most were designed for longer tresses than my businesslike bob!
Unfortunately, my brief, tantalizing impression of Mitsukoshi in 2009 was not entirely confirmed this year. There didn’t seem to be as much merchandise on the floor, and what was there seemed picked over. The only category that retained its astonishing beauty and variety was the jewelry and hair ornaments. These were worth the price of admission alone.
I had been saving my money for months for this moment. I purchased two necklaces, a Sakura fabric ornament, the Sakura hairpins, and the mini tote bag. All together, this was the only splurge purchase I had allowed myself in months! And I’d do it again.
Louise Burton is a writer, editor and avid shopper who lives in Wilmette, IL. Louise previously wrote about a gift store in Evanston, IL. She currently writes Web content and designs Web sites, uniting her interests in both writing and design. She has written for a host of e-newsletters about marketing trends and techniques. One of her passions is good design, wherever it can be found: on the Web, at art fairs, or in home furnishings. She is constantly on the lookout for the finest products available in gift and home décor.