After 5 orders and a lot of offline praise, I feel it is high time I wrote up a review for one of my most used online retailers; Tofu Cute!
Tofu Cute are a UK based retailer with both a webstore and a physical shop in Portsmouth. Since I live nowhere near Portsmouth, my experience is limited to their webstore (though if I’m ever on the mainland you can bet I’m getting down there for a visit!).
You can find their website here, and what an adorable one it is!
The site is very well laid out, with clear categories and a tag system in place. It’s quick and easy to find what you’re looking for, whether that’s a specific product, a general type of snack or important information on shipping, payment methods, currencies etc.
Here are the main points on my experience of shopping with Tofu Cute:
Tofu Cute stock a great selection of non food items, perhaps the most notable being that they are the only official UK stockist of Amuse plush. I’ve bought a few non food items from them:
From the Kawaii Charms section, this is the Endless Edamame Popping Soybean Pod. I love popping this little happy soy bean out of the pod, it’s like a stressball only a lot more joy inducing 😀
From the Amuse Plush section, this is an Amuse Korohamu Hamster Plush Charm, at present my only Amuse plush but I’m sure with shopping at Tofu Cute I’ll end up with more :p
I love this little guy, even if he is so grumpy/sleepy that it’s hard to get a nice photograph of him!
And finally from the stationary section, these adorable little cat shaped sticky notes! They even come with their own little kitty box. This is Tofu Cute’s photo as I appear to have misplaced my own, I’ll replace this with my own photo asap. I picked the little grey stripey cat over at the right hand side.
As much as I like being able to add little cute things into my order, the main reason I visit Tofu Cute is, of course, for the snacks!
I do wish they stocked more savoury Japanese snacks, but they’ve clearly got their target market and provide an impressive selection of pocky, biscuits, candy, DIY candy kits, chocolate and Ramune soda. There’s plenty of variety in each category, in fact I’d be talking about it all day describing everything, so please do pop over and check it out for yourself 🙂
The stock availability fluctuates, but new items are added regularly and they are quick to restock popular items. Rare/hard to find and limited edition snacks pop up often too, which is great for people like me who like to find more unusual or interesting snacks. I find something new to order every time I visit, which to me is very exciting!
10/10 for product selection.
I’m never really sure how to directly compare prices as other UK retailers don’t have exactly the same selection and obviously you need to factor international postage and customs into the equation for non UK stores.
The main draw for me is their postage costs; yes, you could find some of the items cheaper elsewhere (kit kats being a good example), but with free 3-5 day delivery when you spend £20 (or express 2-3 day delivery for just £2.99) suddenly my orders are a lot more cost effective with Tofu Cute.
Personally, I am very happy with the prices. To me they are competitive, with some items being cheaper elsewhere but some items cheaper there. I always feel like I’ve gotten a lot for my money, which is all that matters really.
I like to keep my orders as close to £20 as possible, here’s a few examples of my past orders to give you an idea of what that can get you (prices below pictures):
To me, the pricing is 10/10.
So far, every order I’ve placed has been dispatched the same day and has arrived within the allotted time frame. I’ve used both the free delivery and the express delivery options, both of which arrived through Royal Mail.
All of my items have arrived in simple but sturdy brown boxes, although the delivery section on the website assures me they use jiffy bags, hard back envelopes and (for plush) plastic mail bags as well. I love that they are so environmentally conscious and provide instructions on how to recycle all of their packaging, bonus points for that!
Here is how my most recent order was packaged:
As you can see, the items are all very carefully arranged to avoid movement during postage. I deliberately ordered a lot of smaller and more breakable items this time to see how they handled it; everything arrived safe and sound, arranged into neat layers with a generous topping of squishy packing peanuts to keep everything in place. Not a biscuit was broken nor a box was crumpled, even with the clearly battered box (which was Royal Mail’s fault, obviously, not Tofu Cute’s). Awesome!
In this order, a little tissue paper was used to keep the items in place:
While in this one, the items were packed securely enough to have no additional packaging, just the box:
All the glass bottles I’ve received have been well bubble wrapped for safety and were placed in the bottom of the box so as not to crush anything else.
I’ve placed a total of 5 orders, each with their fair share of fragile items. Out of those five orders, most of which arrived with pretty battered boxes (thanks Royal Mail), I’ve had one thing arrive broken; the Karipoli Candy Sticks. No broken pocky, no shattered glass Ramune bottles, no crushed biscuits, no melted chocolate; all very real shipping problems with other retailers, I assure you. What more can you ask for from a company that’s shipping items first from Japan to England then from England to Northern Ireland?
They may not technically be part of the packaging, but I love the little cut out and keep characters. Tofu Cute seem to love taking the time to make every order feel absolutely kawaii no matter what it contains. Little things like that really make a retailer stand out to me 🙂
I’ve had these two designs so far:
10/10 for postage/packaging.
I haven’t actually had a problem with any of my orders so haven’t contacted them in that respect. However, I contacted them once regarding an item description on their website. They wrote back to me within a day (even though my email didn’t require an answer at all let alone an urgent one) and were incredibly friendly while still being professional and polite. I wouldn’t hesitate to contact them if I had a problem with an order.
In terms of email communication, you receive an adorable order confirmation email (seriously, I love their little characters!) that details what you ordered and gives you an order number which you can use to see what stage your order is at; awaiting payment, payment received, preparing items or sent.
You then get an order update email once it has been dispatched, and that’s it. Simple!
10/10 for customer service.
All in all it’s safe to say Tofu Cute get one big 10/10 from me. From the kawaii everything to the care taken with packaging, my experience of shopping with them has been a very positive and enjoyable one. They are by far my favourite UK retailer, with their great selection and fast/free postage keeping me coming back time and time again. Whether you’re a fan of kawaii stationary or looking to try some interesting snacks, it’s likely Tofu Cute have got you covered.Plus, their adorable gift wrapping service makes them the perfect place to pick up a gift for your Japan loving friends/relatives!
I would highly recommend shopping at Tofu Cute and will certainly be doing so again myself in the future 🙂