Have you ever fallen in love with the cute characters from Korean messaging apps? These character-based stickers online are very trendy among teens and even adults! Thanks to their popularity, we can now encounter these adorable mobile characters in reality! LINE Friends Corporation owns thousands of character-based goods, theme parks, animations, and cafes all around the globe. Recently, the worldwide Kpop group BTS and the messaging app LINE collaborated to open their very own store at the heart of Hollywood.
It is the second store to open up in United States after the one in Times Square, New York City which opened in July 2018. This new extraordinary store features both the characters created by BTS themselves and original LINE Friend’s characters. BTS, along with the LINE Friends corporation, debuted 8 BT21 characters: Koya (made by RM), RJ (Jin), Shooky (Suga), Mang (J-Hope), Chimmy (Jimin), Tata (V), Cooky (Jungkook), and Van (representing the BTS fanbase). Their collaboration released hundreds of exceptional merchandises including plushies, mirrors, figurines, office supplies, fashion items, and numerous everyday items.
According to Billboard, more than 15,000 people visited the store upon its opening. Ardent BTS fans, collectively called ARMY, formed an interminable line around the Hollywood Street block prior to the store’s grand opening on July 27, 2018. What makes this store so special is that it is a pop-up store, which means that unlike the Times Square LINE store in New York, the Hollywood store only opens for three months. Therefore, it is attracting thousands of BTS and LINE fans worldwide to visit! During the 3 months opening of this store, there are four BTS concert dates coming up in September, alluring even more fans to this landmark in Hollywood.
The opening of this store brought a huge impact to both the kpop industry with BTS, and the Line Friends company. This store is the first official Kpop related store opened in Los Angeles. The successful launching of the store has proven the brand’s competence in United States among American consumers. Through this collaboration with a worldwide famous Kpop group with a large following and fanbase, LINE Friends has grown to a global character brand establishing stores in trend-leading cities such as Tokyo, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Seoul, Bangkok, and Los Angeles. It has succeeded in garnering a larger audience even beyond the fandom by introducing new merchandises that are both charming and practical.
Emily Lee, a sophomore at Fairfax High School, gladly shared her experience at the store on its launch date. “There was an extremely long line on the Hollywood Blvd. I waited an hour just to get into the store! I heard that many of the fans camped outside the store to be the first ones to get in. The store was filled with adorable BT21 plushies and some great photozones with my favorite LINE characters. I got my $42 Cooky pillow there. The wait time was insanely long since it was launch day, but I believe it was worth it! If you are a BTS army, you definitely should save up and go to the store before the pop up store closes! I had a whale of a time there.”
Check out the BT21 characters and products online at https://www.bt21.com/main and in-store for a limited time at 6922 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028!
Goeun Lee, Grade 10
Larchmont Charter School