Misconceptions aside, all the goods in this store are as good as goldContrary to the expectations of shoppers, El Dorado sells clothes, bags, shoes and decorative items from South America and Southeast Asia.
Lee Mi-sook, the owner of El Dorado, emphasizes this point: “Please, we don’t sell anything from India. Not everything ethnic is produced in India, you know.”
Most of the goods in the shop are from Ecuador, Hong Kong and Thailand.
South American goods may be unfamiliar to Koreans, but Ms. Lee, who lived in South America, the land of the mythical El Dorado, where Spanish explorers sought gold, says that products from the region attract customers.
Most of the products in her store are handmade, and Ms. Lee buys each one at village markets. She makes monthly trips to Southeast Asia, and flies to South America several times a year. Since all of the products are handmade and bought from craft markets, no two pieces are alike.
People who lean toward hippie-style wardrobes are her main clientele. Artists and celebrities also frequently pop into her shop. College students and young workers frequent the store as well.
When the store first opened its doors, it sold mostly accessories. This is hardly the case today, however.
Sales were not fantastic; the accessories may have seemed too different.
So Ms. Lee started giving clothes more space in the store, and they are now El Dorado’s specialty. Since the items are individually crafted, there is very little incentive for advertisement.
“If we operate a Web site, we could display some of our products, but we would not be able to sell them,” Ms. Lee says. “We do not need to advertise. Somehow, people hear about the store and the ones who come once keep coming back with friends.”
Location: Ewha Womens University on Line 2, walk straight from Exit 2, turn left at SAERA. The store is located near the end of the road.
Hours: 12:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Phone: (02) 365-0407
by Yoon Seok-hee