Having participated in Bay Area Kei virtual lolita events in the past year, I learned about Flores Astorum and their sister shopping service, Sunflower Seed. I was intrigued by this shopping service that was directly reaching out to the western community. With some items in mind and EMS finally available to the US, I sent them a message!
On Monday July 5, 2021, I sent a message to Sunflower Seed’s Instagram, inquiring what the best way to place an order would be. I got an automated response that they would be out of town for a few days and that messages would take more time to respond to. On July 7, 2021, I received a response to my reply, letting me know that I could place an order through Instagram. I sent screenshots and links to the three items I wanted to purchase. On July 8, 2021, I received my invoice and confirmation that my order was placed.
I purchased three brooches from an artist on minne.com, a sort of Japanese etsy. (I also reviewed those items!) There is an option to buy through Buyee, however, I wanted to try out this new shopping service and this seemed like a great low stakes way to do it.
On July 16, 2021, I was notified that my items had been delivered with my shopping service. Because of COVID-19 related shipping limitations, I had the option of Airmail and EMS. I chose Airmail and received an invoice later that same day.
On August 21, 2021, I received a message that my item had been shipped. On August 26, 2021, my package arrived in Los Angeles, California.
I’ll be honest, I’m very unimpressed that after more than a month, my items were not shipped and I received no communication whatsoever. Since I chose Airmail, I knew that I wouldn’t get a tracking number, so I didn’t follow up because I assumed the item had shipped. On the bright side, I received my items in about 5 days from Japan, which is pretty speedy all things considered. I don’t expect small business to be able to ship things at the speed of big business, but I would like to have communication if there is an unexpected delay longer than a few days.
I’ve never used a “personal” shopping service before. In the past, I’ve used Japonica Market and Japan Shopping Service for auction sites like Mercari. For comparison, Sunflower Seed Shopping Service is more expensive. The commission on each of my items under 5000 yen was 750 yen each. With Japonica, it would have been 500 yen. With Japan Shopping Service it would have been 300 yen. These prices are inline with other personal shopping services, which are usually around 10-15%, with minimums ranging from 500-1000 yen.
However, once we actually worked out the time differences, Sunflower Seed was super quick. They invoiced and placed my order within minutes. That’s a great quality to have in a shopping service!
Unlike all of the other services, Sunflower Seed Shopping Service also has a rewards program. They include includes “stickers” with every order that you place. Over time, you turn these in for discounts on your order. For every 5000 yen you order with them, you get one sticker. When you get 10 stickers, you get 500 yen off your order.
Sunflower Seed Shopping Service does have a referral program! If you decide to use them and you found this review helpful, please let them know that “Lovelylaceandlies referred me!”
Because of the high price point and delay in shipping, I probably won’t be using Sunflower Seed for my orders from sites like Mercari or Y!A. For me, it just makes sense to keep ordering costs down on inexpensive orders. However, if I need an in person shopping service in Japan or a special time sensitive order, I’d consider using Sunflower Seed because of the speed with which they placed my order.
You can find Sunflower Seed Shopping Service on Instagram and Facebook. They have their shopping service terms (including pricing) right here. You can also visit their store front, Flores Astorum, for a selection of Japanese indie brands they have in stock.