Miniso is a Chinese dollar store brand with a global reach, where the majority of basic lifestyle items are priced between $2.99 and $5.
Founded in 2013 there are thousands of Miniso stores worldwide and plans for dozens, if not hundreds, in Canada.
Located in the basement of the Eaton Centre, this Toronto Miniso doesn’t offer much by way of square footage, but a lot is packed in the minimalistic white space.
Too-cute Pink Panther-themed makeup puffs ($3.99) and crystal makeup cushion powder puffs ($2.99) are featured in a cosmetics section and set the tone for the level of quality and childishness found here.
Mix and match three art pens for $2.99, meaning art aficionados and doodlers of all degrees can get colourful dollar pens here.
Use them to write in memo pads or colour in colouring books suitable for any age, which range from $2.99 to $4.99.
Oversized keychains ($4.99) add a kawaii touch to your accessory game.
Totes for just $3.99 emblazoned with phrases like “I will greet this day with love in my heart” might have a background of frowning kitties or skulls.
Nagaraya cracker nuts ($1.99), Yan Yan ($1.79) and a wide range of Hello Panda cookies ($1.79) are part of a tight but impressive section of imported snacks.
A fridge contains popular imported beverages like Calpico ($2.49), C2 and Ramune in flavours such as lychee, strawberry, melon and grape.
Bluetooth speakers in youthful colours (around $16.99 - $36.99) constitute some of the pricier basic lifestyle items.
Accessories like wallets and bags fall somewhere in the middle for around $2.99 - $14.99, and I’m sensing a theme with the millennial-friendly pastel palette.
Basics like water bottles (around $2.99 to $9.99) get a fun upgrade with cool designs that give beat-up plastic versions a run for their money.
Frying pans ($14.99) and other kitchenware provide an Ikea alternative that can be accessed by subway, rather than car alone. Not as cheap as some kitchen supply or dollar stores in the city, but with a pop of colour.
Lamps and other dorm room/first apartment necessities can be found here for under $10 or even $20.
Those wireless headphone neckbands ($24.99) and other cool tech gadgets like ring brackets for your phone and USB car humidifiers can all be obtained from Miniso.
A step up from Dollarama and a more streamlined version of Walmart, Miniso is often mobbed by an adolescent crowd. However, a bargain hunter of any age will be pleased to spend the equivalent of what they used to get for allowance on cutesy, cheap staples.