So to start the day I went to Lotte Hotel’s world famous breakfast buffet. When I was checking out reviews for the hotel, people spent more time talking about the breakfast rather than the hotel itself hahaha. Indeed, the breakfast is really very good. The selection was not as expansive as I thought it’d be, but whatever they served, they did it really well. I had noodles for the whole trip because the noodle station had unlimited fresh shrimps and mushrooms. Since it was autumn there was also mushroom soup and mushroom salad, and the mushroom soup is probably the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had. Like the one made with real mushrooms, not from powder, and the soup was just so creamy and tasty. Korean mushrooms are very flavorful, and it was a good idea to put them in a soup.
The first speaker is Andy, Chief Operations Officer at Madsquare. He spent time discussing the business model of Charis. Charis is actually in the papers often in Korea not only because of the beauty products it has to offer but rather because of its unique business model. Charis acts as a platform for bloggers to be able to sell products without the hassles of selling products. The model kind of started off with the premise of bloggers doing group buying, or buying whole manufacturing batches of products at cheaper prices then selling these products to their followers. The blogger of course needed to manage inventory, manage payments, answer inquiries, pack items and ship items in order to get things done. It’s not easy to do all of this, of course, more so for when the blogger is doing it alone. So Charis steps in and does all of these processes so the blogger only really needs to worry about promoting the item. The blogger doesn’t need to keep inventories anymore and that’s a big convenience.
After the dry run, we had a short break. During the break we got to check out all the generous sponsors who worked with Charis on this trip. Most of these items are either on the Charis site already or are coming soon to the Charis site so watch out!
After the break, SSinnim finally makes her entrance! I was sooo excited for this part because I’ve been watching her videos for like a year now. Like I said in my vlog, it’s very different when you’re introduced to this person through an event versus when you’ve done your own discovery of the person prior to the event. She has the best sense of humor ever, and her makeup transformative powers are way too high. I just love her so much that I was soooo giddy when she came; I couldn’t hide it.
She did a makeup demo featuring products from her collaboration with Unpretty Rapstar. Thus far, she has an Unpretty Rapstar BH Holic box containing a highlight-contour palette, a glitter eyeshadow stick, and two eyeshadow singles. She also has eyeshadow palettes, eyelashes and contour powders under her SSIn stealer line, also in collaboration with Unpretty Rapstar cosmetic. I like that she isn’t abusing her fame and she really did spend a good amount of time to come up with products worth buying. I like her products and would buy them on my own.
After the makeup session, she did a Q&A session and gave some advice to fellow bloggers. Her main objective is to come up with videos that please both brand and subscriber, and to try to make the videos as entertaining as possible that viewers don’t feel like skipping the video all the time.
After the Q&A, it’s lunchtime so SSin does a photo op and autograph signing session with us. This is Ssin with the girls from Indonesia. Gosh I am just sooo jealous of their blogging culture. In general I have observed a great sense of unity and camaraderie amongst bloggers, and you can feel that the more popular ones don’t shut out the less popular ones in their lives. They were always together throughout the trip and you can tell that they genuinely cared for each other, it was not role playing. I wish the Philippines had the same culture, too.
And for those who were curious, these are some of SSinnim’s makeup items.
For lunch, I sat with Thai and Indonesian girls. I had a great time chatting with them because I was curious about a lot of things over my Thailand trip last August. I love the late King Bhumibol a lot, too, so finding a common topic was not hard.
And yaaay, this is the menu. The lunch they served was a traditional, multi-course Korean meal. It’s a lot like the Japanese Izakaya concept.
We had a lovely shrimp salad for starters.
Since it was autumn we got to sample premium Korean pumpkin porridge. Pumpkins in Korea are very tasty and fresh so I considered it a privilege to have had the chance to eat this.
There were also four kinds of kimchi to keep everyone happy. I was afraid I’d be too full by the time the last item came so I held back a bit on the kimchi and just tried a little bit of everything.
So this is a mushroom patty together with a fish fillet in spicy sauce. The mushroom patty was more memorable than the fish, said the person who only eats fish when ceremonies ask for it.
One of the main courses was bulgogi served with garlic crisps and mushrooms. This was served with rice and a rich mushroom soup. Korean mushrooms are sooo tasty I can’t reiterate how tasty they are. I really loved this dish I wish I could take the chef home.
For today’s traditional dessert it’s rice cake with fruits in season.
The official end to the traditional meal was a tasty cup of tea. This is their traditional green tea, but their green tea is a bit different from the Japanese one as theirs has a stronger roasted flavor.
For dinner, we were brought to Tosokchon Samgyetang, a very old and respected establishment for Samgyetang in Seoul. According to the Korean tourism site, it was even the favorite hangout of a late Korean president.
I was so hungry in the afternoon but I told myself to not eat anything because I knew that this was going to come for dinner. Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is traditionally served in such a way that one person gets one whole Cornish hen, and the hen is stuffed with rice, jujube, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and a prized ginseng. The ginseng they serve here is a precious 4 year old one. The ginseng in this one was bigger than the ginseng I had the last time I had samgyetang in Korea.
This is the aftermath. After much mental preparation, this is what I got to. I am already so proud of myself for attempting to finish one whole hen by myself.
I got back to the hotel relatively early in Myeongdong time so I immediately step out into the busy street.
My goal was to get to the cat café and have enough playtime before it closed so I wasted no time and walked as fast as I can in order to get there.
What ensued was pure cat heaven play for two hours or so. I went to Attic Cat and homaygash the cats were all soooo fat and fluffy… it’s really a dream come true.
I took soooo many photos it deserves a post of its own hahaha.
Hi Mari, what an incredible experience! It's the first time I'm hearing of the blogger business model that Charis is applying right now, and I don't see how it won't be a success. The internet has allowed even ordinary people achieve a wide reach in terms of audience and influence. I can't wait to see how it works out with you — it looks like you won't have to look too far to apply your management degree.