Mags in Japan: Free with Purchase Free-for-All

(Free with Purchase, above: Blueberry-print mini-shorts with Sept. issue of GISELE mag; cher-print large tote and small lunch bag with Cher Fall/Autumn Collection Lookbook)

In the U.S., you may come across an offer of a free tote or calendar or small handbag or makeup pouch sent to you FREE with your paid magazine subscription to Lucky, Allure, Cosmo, etc? Almost every women’s magazine out there has one of those freebie offers (though I’ve only seen an offer of a freebie with a Vogue subscription ONCE, and that was this past June, and so I promptly renewed my subscription by using the mail-in offer card so I would get the free bag, because although I really don’t need yet another bag…it’s free and it’s from Vogue, so of course I wanted it. Makes perfect logical sense, no?)

But the freebie is never included inside the magazine. Never. It’s sent to you about 4-12 weeks after your subscription is processed, so even if you were planning on cancelling your subscription as soon as you got your freebie, you still have to be pay in full and then go through the rigmarole of trying to get a partial refund since you’ve already received a couple issues.

In Japan, you can get a subscription to a magazine, but why bother? You may receive 10% or 15% off the cover price with a yearly subscription, and there’s the added bonus of the magazine being delivered to your doorstep every month so you don’t have to bother walking the 5 minutes to the nearest one (or three) convenience stores in order to buy the latest issue…but it’s financially not worth it unless you buy 10 or more issues a year. In the U.S. a year subscription to LUcky is something ridiculous like $12, since advertising pays for the cost of producing the magazine. In Japan, consumers pay $4-6 an issue for the latest women’s magazine, and unless you live super far from a bookstore or convenience store, a subscription isn’t that great a deal. Consumers are far more likely to just go to their local store and pick up the latest issue – and that’s where the FREEBIE comes in.

In June of this year, to boost flagging sales, almost every single women’s magazine in Japan came with a freebie of some sort, tucked in between the pages, and sealed in plastic so you couldn’t slip it out secretly while in the bookstore and make off with the freebie. From compact mirrors to makeup cases, eco-friendly tote bags to scrunchies, keyrings to cellphone cases, just about every little thing you could think of was included with the purchase of some magazine.

And yes, it wasn’t necessarily stuff you might really need, some of it was really cool, like some famous brands (Celine and Q-pot, for example) doing collaborations with the magazines and producing merchandise specifically for the readers.

(Paul & Joe Sister-designed vinyl tote, included with purchase of Sept. Sweet magazine) 

Though come July things were back to normal, with only a few mags offering up some goodies, again this month there is a whole slew of magazines with products included. There was even a list at the local bookstore of the items available in magazines this month- so you could pick and choose what you wanted and buy the magazine accordingly. A Marc Jacobs tote included with the purchase of the Autumn/Winter ’09 Marc Jacobs lookbook? A pair of thong undies with another ladies mag? A puffy scrunchy and pompon hair elastic with Popteen? Check, check, and check.

I picked up a pair of mini-shorts, a large canvas tote bag, a small lunch tote bag, and a large vinyl tote bag with my purchase of magazines. Free! Love that word.

(And if you have a Kinokuniya or other Japanese bookstore that stocks these magazines near you – you can pick up yours too!…at the dismal price of $13 U.S., whereas the Japanese counterparts are about 400 – 500 yen or $4-$5 a mag.)

xoxox from Tokyo

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Victoria’s Secret Launches PINK Nation Online – EXCLUSIVE for Chic Steals Readers!

You all know PINK by Victoria’s Secret, right? That uber-cute, collegiate-inspired line of clothing, sleepwear, and lingerie at even better prices? Well, if you’re a fan – you’ll want to check this out…
Victoria’s Secret has just launched PINK Nation, an exclusive club where members receive free gifts, exclusive offers, special access, and the inside scoop on everything PINK.

The website has not launched nationally yet so this is VIP PRE-access for all Chic Steals readers. From now until March 31st, every person who joins PINK Nation will receive a FREE gift (no purchase required) and $10 off a $35 purchase. This offer will not be available once the site goes national.

Join PINK nation through this exclusive link below (and pick up your free gift!)

-Carly J. Cais

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Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Regent’s Secret!

Just a reminder – Premier designer discount shopping site has teamed up with Chic Steals to offer YOU, our lovely readers, a $50 gift certificate to use anywhere on their site. As of now, no one’s signed up yet – which means if you’re the one and only, you automatically snag this gift certificate!! So what are you waiting for??!

Online since January 2008, Regent’s Secret is a fashion-forward destination for fans of youthful urban-style merchandise such as Ed Hardy, LOVE Yaya, Trunk Ltd, Missoni, Evisu, and Dolce & Gabbana (all discounted up to 70% off!!). Usually offering numerous sales at once (but for a limited-time only), and with a number of pieces available from each brand, you’re sure to find something you love that’s amazingly affordable (many items are marked down to around $100 or less). Sales coming soon: Storksak (10/27), French Connection Men’s (10/28), Givenchy (10/30), Hudson (10/30), Joie (11/3), Karoo (11/4), Kasil (11/6), and Cullen (11/10.

To enter this fabulous giveaway, simply click this link and register for Regent’s Secret between now and 12 PM P.S.T. Monday, Nov. 10.* (It’s absolutely free!!)

A winner will be chosen randomly from all those who sign up through the above link. The $50 gift certificate will be credited into the winner’s account after the entry period ends.

So click the above, sign up, and start shopping the hugely discounted selection of Skagen watches, Joe’s Jeans, Givenchy bags, and Cullen cashmere, and be entered in the Giveaway immediately. The best kept secret on the web – Regent’s Secret!
-Carly J. Cais

*Open only to new members of who sign up between now and Nov 10, 2008 through the above link; existing members are not eligible for this giveaway.

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Win a $500+ Swag Bag from Lucky Magazine &!

Every year, the Lucky brings its pages to life with an annual Ultimate Shopping Event held in NYC. Mark your calender because this year, the dates for Lucky Shops 2008 are Friday, November 7 (for first dibs) from 10am-7pm, and Saturday, November 8 from 10am-5pm. CLICK HERE for info on directions & buying your tix to Lucky Shops 2008.

A portion goes to charity – this year it’s the Robin Hood foundation – and a portion stays in your pocket, thanks to the myriad current and off-season items from their fave designers priced at up to 70% off retail. In addition to helping fight poverty, you’ll enjoy complimentary cocktails (if you’re 21 or over), music, and sponsor giveaways…like this fabulous Lucky goody bag we’re giving away worth over $500! A canvas colored tote (not the blue one pictured) will arrive at your door, crammed with product, clothing & samples including a full-size Bio Care Body set, a scarf & hoodie from American Eagle, skincare from Liz Earle, a DVD of Because I Said So, Kipling wristlet, Champion Jog Bra (if you’re endowed & you work out, you’ll know they really are the best), and loads more cool stuff.

Here’s how to enter to win:

Go to this article’s page at and leave a compelling comment as to why you think you should win (or get your pals to leave comments supporting you & your bid for the bag)! Be creative…it’ll snag you some major swag! The winner will be announced on Thursday, November 6th.

And don’t forget to visit to score your tickets to this year’s event.

– Lesley Scott

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Neiman Marcus September Event: Vera Wang Lavender Label Gift with Purchase

Here at ChicSteals we just love getting freebies…and starting Friday, September 26th Neiman Marcus is holding an event which includes one with a purchase.

If you spend $500.00 in Women’s Contemporary or Dress Collections you’ll receive a Lavender Label Vera Wang bag filled with swag from your favorite designers. Spend $1000.00 and receive the bag and a Lavender Label Vera Wang amethyst colored necklace. Customers spending $500.00 on Men’s Contemporary merchandise will receive a Royal Underground leather cord necklace with a sterling silver lion pendant.

Hurry, the promotion ends on Saturday, so head to your local Neiman Marcus and grab this while it lasts!

-Carly J. Cais

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