I got two, babe: Japanese brand Cher's new mook and eco bags

I got two, babe: Japanese brand Cher's new mook and eco bags

Popular brand Cher is phasing out their Takarajima mook series, and this time they are going out with a bag -- or two
Cher eco bag
Don't just buy the catalog because these bags are cute. Get it because everyone else has them.
Takarajima just published 700,000 copies of the new mook ('magazine + book') from popular ladies' brand Cher.

That figure may not strike you as a big deal, but it is roughly double what the best selling fashion magazines print each month.

So how do they do it? With magazine sales dropping like a rock, Takarajima has practically saved its business by producing seasonal catalogs for brands like A Bathing Ape, Marc by Marc Jacobs and ZUCCa. Thanks to the free gifts inside, almost every one of Takarajima's mooks has sold out.

This new Cher mook is pushing the model to its limit. The ¥1,380 issue offers not one, but two canvas 'eco bags.' One is a small version of the original white bag that sold over 70,000 at Cher's stores last year, while the other is a larger model in a new blue pattern.

The magazine came out last week, dramatically announced with huge promotional set ups at every bookstore. No surprise that we are already seeing girls carrying them all over Tokyo.

Cher -- pronounced like 'shell' and not like the singer 'Cher' -- started in 1995 as a surf-inspired boutique, but became a national phenomenon after a blue version of its eco bag was included in the May 2008 issue of fashion magazine Sweet. Since then, the heart-mark canvas totes have become the 'It bag' for Japanese girls over the last year. Takarajima and Cher smartly capitalized on the bags' popularity, releasing a new mook each season with a different colored bag.

But alas, this Cher mook will be the very last -- for unknown reasons. Perhaps 700,000 bags out on the streets of Japan will kill some of the brand's cachet. It is not clear, however, that exclusivity was ever really at the heart of the bag's success.

Think about it: This is a free gift included in a magazine. Anyone in the world can buy one. Remember when Japanese girls were famous for their love of ¥200,000 Louis Vuitton leather handbags? Times have definitely changed.