From Overseas To Your Home
“Can help me buy?”
The world is a big place with all sorts of beautiful things, but sadly not all of them are available in Singapore. Every time a friend says they’re going to Japan, I’m always begging them to buy me Japanese snacks as souvenirs. Similarly, when I’m on an overseas trip, I’m usually bombarded with 1,001 requests from friends, and even distant acquaintances, about stuff they want me to help them buy.
But there comes a point when you just feel paiseh about constantly imposing on others to get you those coveted boxes of Tokyo Banana, or your favourite 3CE lipstick. What if there was an app that placed everything you’ve ever wanted from overseas within your reach? An app that would connect you with people willing to bring these items back for you without complaints?
An app that would let you tompang items from overseas for a small fee?
Introducing Tompang The World
Tompang The World is a new app on the market that makes getting your hands on much-loved, only-available-overseas products so much easier. Request the items you desire from overseas, wait to be matched with a Good Samaritan travelling to that particular destination, and have them bring it back for you.
Here are 10 items from across the world you can now have in Singapore! Read till the end to find out exactly how it works!
1. Japanese Snacks
Hands up if you’ve got a deep obsession with all the weird and wonderful things the Land of the Rising Sun has to offer.
From Shiroi Koibito, the well-loved European-style Japanese confection, to Edamame Soybean-flavoured Kit-Kat bars, there are hundreds of delicious goodies we wish we could buy from Fairprice or 7-Eleven around the corner - but we can’t.
When the Japanese candy craving strikes, the harsh reality of this first world problem is enough to make a grown man cry.
Assorted Kit Kats, Tokyo Banana, Shiroi Koibito: Available only in Japan
2. Luxury Goods
We all have a taste for the finer things in life, but sadly, greener pastures come at a price. When it comes to ticking those luxury items off your dream wishlist, we’re all experts at sussing out the cheapest prices for that Prada wallet or Chanel bag. For example, a medium Chanel 2.55 costs about SGD$6,600, but in Europe you can get it for SGD$5,500 or less. Talk about massive savings.
But even when the Euro works in our favour, and outlet malls reign supreme - there’s no one on your contact list nice enough to line up for Balenciaga’s latest Spring Collection, or pop down to Bicester Village, to help you score 30% off on that outlet-exclusive Burberry coat.
There’s also the sad case of country-exclusive products. Like Japanese snacks, the struggle is very, very real.
Branded Bags and Small Leather Goods: Available in Europe and Hong Kong
Premium Timepieces: Available in Switzerland
Branded Clothes: Available in the United Kingdom and Japan
3. Beauty Products
As females, we’re always searching for the Holy Grail of foundation, mascara, lipstick, you name it. Sometimes, fortunately or unfortunately, we do find them. The only problem is, most of the time, they’re only available in “selected territories”. The HORROR.
Some of the best makeup can only be purchased overseas, while others, are significantly more affordable in someone else’s land. One fine example is H&M’s new makeup range. Launched late last year, they’ve got a whopping 700 products ranging from nail polish, to eyeshadow - how great is that!
But here’s the catch, none of them are available in Singapore.
And although we’re over the moon that Korean beauty label 3CE has finally entered the local market, we can’t help but curse the limited selection of available products. Heck, even Sephora has US-exclusive products that beauty mavens here can only dream of.
H&M Beauty Products & Makeup: Available in the United Kingdom and the United States
3CE Makeup: Widest selection available in South Korea
4. British & American Fashion Labels
Our Orchard Road is lauded as being an impressive shopping district, home to a slew of international brands, but it still doesn’t have them all. We’re talking labels like American Apparel, Brandy Melville, Urban Outfitters, and All Saints. While they’ve yet to reach our shores, we make do by going online.
Even though online shopping has resolved many of our shopping woes, it’s also given birth to a new one - ridiculously high shipping fees. There’s no point in a Black Friday sale, if shipping costs just as much as the clothes.
Plus, not everyone is patient enough to wait up to a month for their buys to arrive.
American Apparel:Available in the United States, Australia, Europe, China, Canada, Korea, Japan, and Israel
Brandy Melville: Available in the United States, Europe, and Canada
Urban Outfitters: Available in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Hong Kong
5. Gourmet Potato Chips
Move over, Sriracha potato chips. There’s a new flavour of crisps that’s taking the world by storm - Honey Butter. First introduced by Haitai-Calbee in Korea back in 2014, it sparked a craze for all things honey and butter. One of our colleagues managed to get her hands on a packet of it online, and shared it with the office. We all fought for the last piece.
There’s just something about the sweet-yet-salty mix of flavours that come with Honey Butter potato chips, a twist on an old classic that everyone loves. This is one item you’ll definitely be asking people to pick up for you when they’re overseas.
Honey Butter chips aside, there are a whole ton of delicious brands (like Cape Cod) and wacky flavours from all over the world we just want to get our hands on. Cappuccino-flavoured potato chips, anyone?
Honey Butter Chips: Available in Korea
Cape Cod Potato Chips: Available in the United States
Many Singaporeans are constantly trying to emulate the fair, flawless complexions of Korean and Japanese celebrities. And one way they’ve convinced themselves they can achieve that goal, is through the use of Korean and Japanese skincare products.
Lovers of Japanese skincare brand, Fancl, shed buckets of tears when the label pulled out of the Singapore market back in 2014. Although it’s been rumoured that the line is making a comeback sometime this year, dedicated fans will still have to venture out to get their hands on their favourite products in the meantime.
And even though popular Korean skincare brands like Sulwahsoo and Laneige are now available in Singapore, it’s much cheaper to get them in Korea itself. The Laneige Water Bank Essence, for one, retails at about SGD$60 for 60ml, whereas the same product goes for the equivalent of SGD$45 in South Korea.
They always say beauty comes at a price, but if you can get more for less, why not?
Fancl: Available in Japan
Laneige: Available in Korea
7. Unconventional Spreads
We’re all familiar with peanut butter, kaya and nutella; but there are other world spreads and butters just waiting to be discovered! Almond, pistachio, hazelnut… and they’re definitely becoming increasingly popular.
As much as I want to shove spoonfuls of pistachio nut butter in my mouth, the cost of these gourmet spreads make me want to live off Marmite for the rest of my life. I’ve searched high and low, but finding these spreads at an affordable price here in Singapore seems like an exercise in futility.
Take this super decadent matcha spread for example, even though it’s within reach, a little 200g jar of the magical stuff will set you back a jaw-dropping $17. It’s cheaper to just get someone headed on a Korean holiday to bundle it back for you.
Nut butters: Available in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia
Matcha spread: Available in Korea
I believe strongly in literary freedom, and when a book gets pulled from shelves, it just makes me want to read it all the more. If you’re an avid bookworm like me, this might also irk you to no end. To get your hands on some of those infamous reads, you’ll need to travel far and wide. I’m looking at you, Once A Jolly Hangman. It’s not available in Singapore, but it’s also not illegal to bring it in.
You can also get your hands on some new releases before they hit Singapore shelves. Can we also talk about how some books are 10,000 times cheaper when purchased out of town?
Others are just ridiculously expensive. For example, those fancy new colouring books for adults. In Singapore, they can cost up to $30, while you can find them in a Thai bookshop for a handful of baht.
Assorted Books: Available in most bookstores in the United Kingdom and United States
9. Tea & Coffee
For tea lovers around the country, while nothing compares to a steaming hot cup of Teh-O from your coffee shop around the corner, sometimes, we all yearn for something with a little more class.
Whilst we have nothing but respect for our homegrown brands like TWG, brands like Whittard of Chelsea and Fortnum & Mason just take your tea-drinking experience to a whole new level. But sadly, we can’t get them in Singapore.
Another beverage that often finds its way into people’s suitcases on the return leg of the journey is - Vietnamese coffee. Sure, you can buy G7 Vietnamese coffee sachets in Singapore, but nothing beats the authentic stuff. Sorry, but instant, local 3-in-1 coffee mixes just don’t match up.
English Teas: Available in the United Kingdom
Vietnamese Coffee: Available in Vietnam
10. Hair products
If you’ve taken the plunge and gone blonde, you’ll know the struggle of maintaining that perfectly cool shade of ash. A new head of bleached blonde hair also comes with the knowledge that each wash will make your brassy Asian undertones pop out of nowhere. And nobody deserves that kind of orangey disaster.
Many hairstylists recommend countering this with purple/silver shampoo. That sounds easy enough, except that it’s virtually impossible to get your hands on purple shampoo in this country.
Toning shampoos aside, there are also tons of other hair products that we can’t get our hands on in Singapore. This includes everything from honey-based shampoos by Japanese brand Hacci, to temporary hair dyes in shades you’ve ever seen before.
Temporary Hair Dye: Available in United States
Hacci shampoo: Available in Japan
How Tompang The World Works
It’s a straightforward process. Simply request for the item you want, fill in all the details, and deposit. People can make offers to get the item for you at a slight markup similar to that of service charge, and you can accept the one that works best.
In the unlikely event that no one makes an offer, don’t worry - the money will be returned to your pocket.
You also don’t have to worry about being cheated - your money is held by the app until you indicate that you’ve received the item, after which, it’ll be released to your Good Samaritan. And if the item never reaches you - just let the app know, and you’ll get your money back.
On the flip side, if you’re a frequent traveller looking to make some extra cash, this is one way to do it. You decide on the markup you want for your service, then make offers to various requests. Just note that Tompang The World charges a 5% service fee on top of the offer you make!
Ready, set, tompang!
Thank God I no longer have to trawl online shopping sites, pay exorbitant shipping, or beg travelling friends to help me get stuff from overseas. My wallet (and my dignity) are ever grateful.
Now you can get the things you could previously only dream of, or make some extra money on the side - it’s a win-win situation for all! Tompang away, everyone!
This post was brought to you by Tompang The World.