K-pop and J-pop fans, you’re in for a treat!
Chingu Dachi, a fan merch store located in Multinational Village in Parañaque, will be opening tomorrow. From albums to dolls and light sticks, it’s a cool place to get your fill of the latest BTS, Shinee, and Arashi fan merch without flying off abroad.
Coconuts Manila got to interview its owner, 23-year-old Ed Margareth Barahan, who’s been overwhelmed by Manileños’ positive response to the store’s opening. This early, prospective customers are trying to reserve the stuff they want to buy, but she’s been firm in telling them that it’s not allowed.
She said in a mix of Filipino and English: “I didn’t think that it was going to be like this. I thought there are already a lot of stores like this.”
The stuff at Chingu Dachi will make any true blue fan cry in ecstasy. There are signed albums from K-pop groups Momoland, Seventeen, and Shinee, priced from PHP2,200 (US$40.73).
Then there are cool lightsticks: SHINee’s fanlight (PHP2,600/US$48.14), IKON’s “Konbat” fanlight (PHP2,500/US$46.29), and 2NE1 lightsticks (PHP2,000/US$37). The place also offers CDs and concert DVDs of groups such as the phenomenal BTS, EXO, and Oh! GG, a sub-unit of girl group Girl’s Generation.
To sum it up, the place is a fan’s fantasy come true.
The 40-square-meter space was originally part of a laundromat which Barahan also owns. “The laundry shop’s space was too big, so I thought of using half the space for the store,” she said.
The name Chingu Dachi is a combination of two words: the Korean word “chingu” and the Japanese word “tomadachi,” both of which mean “friend.” For Barahan, the store’s name means “super friend.”
While the idea of opening a business may daunt other people her age, Barahan said it was merely an extension of her old online business. “I’ve been selling fan merch since college. In high school, I was a fan of J-pop. In college, I became a fan of K-pop. I’ve always been a risk taker and I know the market.”
Before going into business, she researched which celebrities have huge fan bases in the country. “I researched first how big the fan base is. BTS, BLACKPINK, and Arashi are the biggest ones. I checked Facebook pages and forums,” she said.
She also said that the brick-and-mortar store would be selling items that are relatively affordable. “Because now I can buy in bulk, I can sell these items with the same price as online stores,” she said.
For fans who are based far away from Parañaque, the good news is, she’ll open a Shoppee site soon. But for now, she wants to concentrate on managing the store.
Judging by the online feedback so far, it seems Chingu Dachi already has a fan base of its own.
Chingu Dachi is at Unit 5, G/F Ledesma Bldg., No. 11 Jordan Street, Multinational Village, Parañaque 1708.
Hours: Every day except Wednesday 11am – 9pm