If you use the messaging app LINE, you would be well aware of the LINE Friends line of merchandise which is highly popular even amongst non LINE users. Created in Korea, every visitor to Seoul will make sure visits are planned to the many LINE Friends flagship stores which carries a whole series of merchandise and plushies. LINE has opened a few official stores in the region like in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan, USA and Thailand and many fans has been waiting for one in Singapore.
When news broke that PLAY LINE FRIENDS store is opening in Funan this October, the inner child in me celebrated like never before although my wallet is probably in pain. Not entirely sure why the name has an additional PLAY, it is still the only way we have access to authentic LINE FRIENDS merchandise with the no travel policy on going now. The store is located at the 2nd floor of Funan Mall and you will be greeted by a close to 3m tall Sally which is placed right at the entrance. While the Sally is not a giant plushie like in the Seoul stores, it is still a great photo background.
As the store just opened, queue slots were given out to customers to prevent overcrowding within the store for safe distancing measures. I arrived at 6.30 pm and was given a 8.30 pm slot which is quite crazy in my opinion. Later on, I discovered that you can also queue in front of the store and aim for customers leaving so that the staff will release slots ahead of time. In the end, I managed to enter the store by 7pm.
The moment you enter the store, you will realise that the size of the store is not very big as compared to the ones in other countries. Right in the middle of the entrance, they had a highlight counter which was filled with BT21 plushies. BT 21 is a line of merchandise in collaboration with the KPOP group BTS and is extremely popular with the BTS fan girls.
Personally, I am a Brown bear fan so I happily skipped all the BT21 items and went straight for the Brown series. The store carries close to 1000 items of merchandise as well as some new and exclusive items.
Close to 50% of the store carries plushies, cushions, cute keychains and stationery items.
The rest of the store carries items from home and living like their air purifier and humidifier, travel section which includes neck pillows, foldable recycle bags and luggage packing bags as well as apparels like T-shirts and slippers.
You can also find mugs, desk stationery containers and some personal grooming items.
As a Brown fan, I spent close to 2 hours in the store even though it is not that big as there were so many cute merchandise to look at and because they are not exactly pocket friendly, lots of time was taken to decide which items to ultimately bring to the cashier counter. These are my spoils which includes a recyclable lunch bag, foldable travel duffer bag, a tumbler, a travel humidifier and a pencil case. Each purchase above a certain amount was entitled to a cute character balloon and I opted for a flat one for easy keeping.
Overall, I enjoyed my trip to the PLAY LINE FRIENDS store even though it is much smaller than those in Korea but having a store where we can buy our favourite character merchandise is indeed something to rejoice for fans. Even for non fans, some of the items are pretty cute and would make really nice gifts for the young and old. The opening of the store is really in time for the Christmas season as an additional avenue to get gifts.
Address: 107 North Bridge Rd, #02-14, Funan Mall
Operating hours: 10 am to 10 pm