Avoiding fake Hello Kitty Items

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Have you just discovered or rediscovered a cute little furry friend?  Yes?  Well Hello Kitty has been around for a long time since 1976 in fact!  Maybe you grew up with her or maybe you've just discovered how cute she and her friends are.
For Australians our first exposure for Hello Kitty has come through Target stores over the past few years.  They carry an ever growing range of the 'generic' style Hello Kitty items.  These are genuine licenced product but designed for the lower end of the market.
In Asia and the USA the makers of Hello Kitty items have their own shops known as Sanrio stores.  Some of these stores are spectacular particularly those in Asia and Japan and yes they even have their own Hello Kitty style "disneyland" known as Puroland.  The products sold in these stores are much more lavish and intricately designed with new "collections" being release every 3 months or so.  The product range is so big and evolving in Japan that the stores even carry their own magazines known as the "Strawberry News".  These magazines are just to die for.  Beautiful pictures of amazing products in an ever growing range, you might see a Hello Kitty scooter or even the launch of the latest designer collaboration range.
There have been attempts here in Australia to launch these shops but without much success.  As an avid collector I was lucky enough to cross paths with one individual who had attempted to launch a store and obtained a mass of stock through distributors all over the world.
Due to personal circumstances she had to close her shop and I was lucky enough to purchase a plethora of awesome items.  Talk about all your christmas's coming at once when the truck arrived with 7 massive pallets of goodies!  I have since inventoried all the items and am gradually offering them up for sale here on ebay, I have become considerably more knowledgeable about Hello Kitty and Sanrio items through this experience.  I still aspire to one day opening a bricks and mortar store here in Australia but don't think we are big enough yet in population to support this niche product.
In short all authentic Hello Kitty and friends items are either made by or licenced by Sanrio.  All items will carry a tag with the licencing label on them somewhere if they are authentic.  Cheaper unlicenced items usually have no tag or no trademarking labels whatsoever.  They may be cute but they aren't the real deal.  One useful fact to remember is that Hello Kitty has no mouth!  If you find Hello Kitty items and she has a mouth she is most definately not a genuine item, this may sound obvious but trust me I still see them around on ebay and other places!
Once you've got some genuine items you'll know the difference and you wont want to buy the cheap nasties anymore its like comparing diamonds and dirty glass!  Most genuine items are made under licence in China but these will most definitely have labels to state their authenticity and trademarks.  Some of the premium items are still made in Japan and these are rarely sold outside of Japan, these items tend to be more valuable and a little quirkier as they have been designed with the hard core fan in mind.
I hope this has been some help to you.  Once you've mastered your understanding of Hello Kitty you'll find she is just the tip of the iceberg, she has a whole range of cute friends and they boys and girls of Sanrio are always looking to expand on the range of her companions.  Don't forget to check out My Melody, Cinnamoroll or Charmmy Kitty just to name a few!  Thanks for reading and enjoy your shopping, such cute girly fun!!!!
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