makeup sample boxes

Boxy Lady

This month, November 2012, I will receive FOUR subscription beauty boxes. I’ve never received more than two per month and I will finally and officially be cancelling two of my current subscriptions before December… at least, that’s the plan.

I’ve come to find that my most popular posts are those in which I discuss what I like and dislike about my monthly sample box subscriptions so, here’s another one for you to read! Before I cancel the two boxes that I’ll be cancelling, I figured I’d share a little bit of what I know about all four subscriptions before they are shipped out. Since I hate showing favoritism [insert telling wink here], I’ll present each subscription service in the order of which I signed up for them. First up: Birchbox.

Let us all join together in a communal groan over what has quickly become the worst beauty sample subscription service. At $10 per month, I was excited to sign up for this service back in April of this year. I took my beauty survey to give the folks at Birchbox a better idea of what products I need and would love. The first box I received was for the month of May and I have to admit that my disappointment started pretty early on. Aside from the fact that May’s box was a Gossip Girl theme (which I luh-uh-uh-oved) the goodies inside weren’t exactly what I was expecting.

As the months passed by and I continued to receive my monthly Birchboxes, the samples seemingly got worse and worse. This all came to a head last month when I received their Goop.com partnered box. IT. WAS. WRETCHED. If you haven’t already, please go back and read my review of the the products in the latest box: Birchbox #6 :: October and then take a peek at my post regarding Birchbox’s absolutely disgusting customer service: Bad Bad Birchbox Ops. If you’ve been considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber, this may cause you to rethink that.

As I stated in previous posts, I will be cancelling my Birchbox subscription. I had wanted to cancel before being billed for the November box but I’m a procrastinator and didn’t. I also redeemed the Birchbox credits I had earned for some products off their site and didn’t want to cancel before they were shipped out to me. Now, I MUST remember to cancel before December. (I sincerely doubt the November box will be able to get out the horrible taste left in my mouth from the October box and subsequent customer service debacle.)

Overall comments: $10 a month membership (very affordable), minuscule samples from less than stellar brands. Horrible customer service.

Status: CANCELLING – because they suck.

After signing up for Birchbox, I became a Julep Maven. Being a Julep Maven means have 3 Julep nail polishes shipped to me monthly for $19.99. Now, I’m a huge nail polish fanatic but I wouldn’t have signed up to be a Julep Maven had I not been able to redeem a coupon code to receive my first box for $0.01 (How can you beat a penny, really?) I wasn’t exactly unimpressed with what I received my first month (July 2012), so I maintained my membership for an additional month. 2 boxes for $20 total. Not too shabby but I was ready to cancel. Something inside told me to hang on for one more month, so I did. After receiving and reviewing my 3rd Julep Maven box in September, I vowed to cancel before October’s box. I should’ve read the cancellation terms because the day before I was to be billed, I logged-in on-line and found that I was supposed to call before 5pm.

Luckily, Julep allows members to skip a month if necessary. In fact, you can skip multiple months or have your months box shipped to a friend instead. I really like this about Julep. It came in handy too because I opted to “skip” my October 2012 box and would cancel during regular business hours before Novembers box… yeah, right.

When Julep launched their new and improved site for members, they award their members “Jules”, their version of accrued customer credits that can be used to purchase items off of Julep.com. I had more than enough Jules to cover the cost of my November box so I figured, why not receive one more box since this one is free to me anyway.

In addition to the “skip a month” feature, Julep also allows you to choose to receive a different box than the one you were due to if you prefer to colors in a different box. Much like other subscription services, when you first become a Julep Maven, you take a beauty quiz and you are categorized as a specific type of girl. (IE: “It Girl”, “Boho”, “Classic”, etc.) When I took my survey I was classified as an It Girl; I believe I only opted for the It Girl box my first month. After that, I opted for another box each month. I love that Julep shows you exactly what you are scheduled to receive and allows you to swap for another box if you’d like.

I simply wasn’t impressed enough with the quality of the polishes to continue my subscription and although I enjoyed and will continue to enjoy what I’ve received as a Julep Maven, it’s time to explore other subscription beauty boxes.

Overall Comments: $19.99 per month (there’s always a coupon code available to get your first box for less; just google it). Fantastic customer service.

Status: CANCELLING – time to explore other subscription services. When I was exploring beauty subscription boxes back in May, before signing up for Birchbox, I read up on GlossyBox. I liked the look of it but wasn’t sure if they were shipping to the US at that time. It also carries a higher price tag each month so I passed. In September, I decided to go for it when I found that they do indeed ship to the US for $21 per month. Its more than I would prefer to pay but boy is it worth it! I was so flipping happy with my very first GlossyBox (October) and if the boxes continue to be so damn fabulous, I don’t think I’ll ever cancel.

Like I said, I’ve only received one box so far from GlossyBox but I’m excited to find whats in store for me in the future. Check out what I got in my October box: GlossyBox #1 :: October. I highly recommend signing up if you love having luxe beauty products delivered to your door each month. I originally decided to sign up once I had concluded I would be cancelling my Julep Maven subscription (no additional spending).

Overall Comments: $21 per month. AMAZING products.

Status: Continuing Subscription. (FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER)

Finally, as of today, I am to happy to say that I am officially and Ipster. I have signed up to receive the Ipsy (MyGlam) bag each month. I had been researching this service for several months and never have I seen a bad review of the 4-5 samples they send their subscribers each month. The products are great quality and also a substantial size. (Unlike the evil Birchbox).

Obviously, I haven’t received my Ipsy products yet but my first delivery isn’t too far away. To give you a better idea of what you can expect to receive monthly, goodle Ipsy reviews and see what other Ipsters have been receiving. (Looks pretty sweet).

For the same price monthly as Birchbox, I look forward to receiving much much more.

Overall Comments: $10 per month. Previously known as MyGlam bag.

Status: Brand new Ipster; awaiting first delivery.

This month, I will receive and review all four subscription deliveries. As of December 2012, I will only be a subscriber to GlossyBox and Ipsy and I think that is the right combination for me (and for you!)

I hope you’ll check out my previous reviews of these products boxes and I especially hope that you will check back to see what I get for November and beyond!

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment on how you feel about these services if you are a current member of any or if you’re planning on becoming a member.

Love, GK

PS: a note to my regular readers. I have been lacking hardcore on my Daily Threads posts. Recently, with the cool air we’ve been enjoying in South Florida, I’ve been channeling my inner Amy Pond and rocking some awesome jackets and straight hair (straightening in this humid state any other time of year is just pointless). I’ve been having so much fun in my awesome outfits that I have been blowing off my picture-taking and posting responsibilities. This will change because, frankly, I’d like to brag about and show off my awesome ensembles instead of the office appropriate outfits I was showcasing in previous weeks. -Check back!!!

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Bad Bad Birchbox Ops

*title of post should be sang to the tune of

“Bad, Bad Leory Brown.”

As you may or may not be aware, I was incredibly disappointed with the October Goop-partnered Birchbox. I wrote more than one post expressing this and naturally made my way to twitter with the news:

Not long after I took to twitter, posting my own tweet and commenting on others’ tweets about this month’s Birchbox, I received this tweet and was notified that BirchboxOps was now following me.

I was so impressed! I had been so annoyed and disappointed with Birchbox and when they reached out to me, I felt better. If they were reaching out to me about my dissatisfaction, not only does it mean that their customer service is aware of how their customers and subscribers feel about the service but also that they must want to try and make it up to me somehow. I felt so guilty about the nasty email I had typed up to send them.

I figured they were going to listen to my views on the October Birchbox, apologize for the monstrosity that was the Goop-Birchbox and maybe even try to give some sort of compensation (in the form of a bottle of essie or something.) I direct messaged them my email, as they requested, and after a few hours I received my first email from a staff member at Birchbox… It was all down hill from there. Not only did they not offer any form of compensation, their copy-and-pasted responses were so apparently generic it’s insulting.

Now, I doubt that very many people will take the time to fully read the entire email conversation I’m about to share with you all nor am I naive enough to think very many people will even car. However, I have done a little copying and pasting myself and have the back and forth emails posted below.

I wanted others to see a good example of how little the Birchbox Operations staff cares about the opinions of their subscribers. So little, in fact, that I was addressed by an entirely different name. If you’re at all interested, please feel free to read the back-and-forth below.

The main mission of this post is to address potential Birchbox subscribers. So, to anyone who is considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber: all I can suggest is that you look into the other subscription cosmetic sample boxes available. I’m currently a subscriber to GlossyBox and I couldn’t have been more pleased with my first box. My first box from GlossyBox had better products, larger “samples” and is most likely worth more (monetarily speaking) than all of the Birchboxes I have received combined. Another great service is Ipsy, previously MyGlam. I will be signing up for Ipsy, this week, immediately after cancelling my Birchbox subscription. I’m only waiting on my Birchbox order (the one I purchased and posted about in yesterdays post) to ship before I cancel.

Anyway, here’s the email conversation between myself and the Birchbox Operations team members. I don’t hold anything against the actual ladies who had the task of reading and replying to my messages, I do, however, have a problem with Birchbox’s protocol of dealing with these matters. Clearly, a disappointed subscriber is at the very bottom of their priorities. Unfortunately, providing quality, deluxe samples isn’t at the top.

The things that upset me most in the first response I got from Anastasia (as you can read) were:
  • Calling me by the wrong name; her name. -No explanation needed.
  • Explaining to me their definition of “deluxe-size samples” -I’m aware and none of the samples I received this month were “deluxe” by anyone’s definition.
  • Stating that of the products featured in the sneak peek, each subscriber would receive at least one -I didn’t receive any of the feature products.
  • Saying they will share my input with their brand partners. -So, they will use my opinion to get bigger, better samples from their “brand partner” FOR FREE and then give them away to paying subscribers, making their subscribers happy, who will obviously want to stay a subscriber, thus, making Birchbox more money yet they can’t throw me a product or two to thank me for my imput and dissatisfaction? BS.

Thanks for reading. And to those who continue reading from here, I thank you even more.

Love, GK

PS I’d love to hear any and all opinions and comments on this matter. Please feel free to contact me directly or to share your comments below (I always respond!) -Thanks again!

Sarah, Oct 19 03:08 pm (EDT):

Hi Kate,

Thanks for writing in. I’d love to hear your feedback on this month 😀

xGingerKate, Oct 22 11:15 am (EDT):

Good Morning, Sarah
I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Thank you again for reaching out to
me about my dissatisfaction with my Birchbox for the month of October. I am
extremely upset and disappointed with the Goop partnered box I received
this month and based on the comments I’ve received on multiple blog posts I
have written about this box, others who received the same box (or similar)
are quite upset as well.

After opting to received one of the goop boxes, I checked out Facebook
posts, the sneak peek videos, etc and was thrilled at the products
featured. Unfortunately, when I saw the box I was due to receive, I came to
find that I would not be one of the lucky ones to received any of those
fabulous products. My dismal box contained:

– Lulu Organics Lavender hair powder
– Karuna Hydrating mask
– Naked Princess lip gloss
– Embryolisse 24hr Miracle Cream
– LUNA bar

Every one of these products was a one-time only sample with the
exception of the lip gloss which is absolutely tiny. When I signed up for
Birchbox, I was promised that I was to receive “premium samples” each
month. One-time use samples can be acquired from department stores or by
simply contacting companies individually; I pay for this subscription to
received more than a one-time use sample.

As it turns out, I received my very first GlossyBox on the same day I
received this month’s Birchbox. Whether I compare the two boxes as a whole
or individual products, GlossyBox was able to stand by their word and
provide me with luxe products for a little more than double my subscription
costs with you. I received 5 full size (or at least close to full size)
products from them and find that the extra $11 per month is more than worth
it (and my blog readers agree). I’ve also researched Ipsy and their boxes
(previously MyGlam) and the reviews I read on these boxes from other
bloggers leaves me impressed with their service as well.

I have been disappointed with your boxes in the past but there was
usually at least one product per box that made me feel not so stupid for
spending $10 on it. However, I don’t think I will continue my subscription
much longer after receiving this most recent box. It’s absolutely horrible. I
am promised 4 or 5 products each month and sometimes “extras” are provided
as well. Months when I receive 4 samples I can’t help but be a bit
disappointed but if the sizes of the samples are decent, the “extras” can
sometimes make up for this. This is far from the case this month. The four
minuscule samples packed and sent to me were supplemented by a LUNA bar…
thanks, but no thanks.

Not only have I read other blogger’s reviews of this month’s box but I
have also discussed with personal friends the items they received in their
box and I feel that everyone received a more worthwhile box than me and
those who received the same box as me. How can you give so many people a
box that includes a full bottle of essie amongst other products and give
others 5 one time use samples? Its not fair and it does not make any sense.

When I watched your sneak peeks and features, I was so excited at the
products featured.

– Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss
– Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara
– DDF Wrinkle Resist Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum
– Essie Nail Polish

Where are these fabulous products? I had anticipated receiving at least a
few of these products and I expected them to be more than one-time use
samples. Your company promises “deluxe” samples and your highly hyped
partnership with goop gave me the false hope that I would be receiving a
completely amazing box this month. These skimpy samples do not reflect very
well upon Goop.com either; they couldn’t afford to provide you with decent
sized samples to pass on to your subscribers?

I certainly hope something can be done about my huge let-down in
October. Otherwise, I don’t believe I will continue subscribing long enough
to receive my November box. However this plays out, I maintain an
obligation to keep my readers informed. I love beauty and fashion and I
love being able to review new products each month courtesy of your
subscription service. I also am proud to subscribe to what was really the
first major product subscription service in the states but now, I’m
beginning to look and feel like a fool for continuing.
Thank you for your time and consideration,

Kate [Last Name]

Ginger-Kate.com

Anastasia, Oct 24 04:04 pm (EDT):

Hi Anastasia,

Thank you for writing in, and I am so sorry that you were not satisfied with your Birchbox delivery this month!

We definitely are aware of the fact that sample impression is important, and an appropriate amount of product is the only way to make a valid decision as to whether it’s a product you would like to purchase in the future or not.

While sample sizes do vary each month, it highly depends on what the brands provide us and feel is a deluxe-size sample. Deluxe-size means the sample gives you the opportunity to try the product on multiple occasions. Based on the brand’s opinion, the samples they produce coordinate to how much of the product they feel should be used in one use, three uses, and so on. While smaller samples are by no means the standards of what we want to send our subscribers, the product is one that we want to be able to share with our customers.

We post our Favorites video each month to highlight items that our members will be receiving. Everyone will receive at least one or two of the samples featured, but not all. They are also allotted by your Beauty Profile preferences. I recommend that you update your Beauty Profile in order to receive products more suited towards your tastes.

Once again, I apologize for your disappointment and we understand your concern completely. We are constantly trying to evolve as a brand and company, for this reason, customer feedback is extremely important to us and highly encouraged! I will be sure to pass this along to our Beauty Partnership Team, so that they are aware of how this sample was received.

In the meantime, if you have any other questions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give us a call at: 877.487.7272 (9am-5pmEST| M-F).

xo Anastasia

Birchbox Operations Associate

xGingerKate: Dear Birchbox Representative #3,

MY name isn’t Anastasia. From what I can tell, YOUR name is Anastasia. Your keen observation skills and ability to address me by my own name are a perfect example of the level of care Birchbox gives to their subscribers/customers.

Allow me to respond to your most recent BS: So, a small pouch of moisturizer, a pouch that can not be resealed and a small package of dry shampoo, that also can not be resealed, are considered “deluxe”, multiple-use samples according to the company that produced them and you’ll stand by that?

This is absolutely laughable; you must realize this.

In a box of four samples: 2 products are tear-open, one-time-use packets, 1 product is a face mask to be used ONCE and the final product is a minuscule tube of lip gloss. The lip gloss is the ONLY product that I will (reluctantly) agree can be used multiple times. 4 horrible samples and then you throw in a LUNA bar as an extra… YAY! Excuse me while I jump for joy.

Thank you for your response but you really just wasted more of my time corresponding with you and gave more false hope that Birchbox would take responsibility for their service and at least attempt to make a recovery. I will be canceling my subscription following the delivery of the products I recently ordered off of your site. I will be giving my $10 a month to Ipsy/MyGlam from now on in addition to my GlossyBox subscription.

I’d thank you for your service over the last 7 months but it’s been horrible.The LEAST you could do is get my name right since you’ve been billing me for more than half a year. You reached out to me as if you were willing to/looking to make this wrong a right. Clearly you just wanted another opportunity to repeat the lofty description of your “deluxe” samples. Do you have a complaint response template that you simply copy and paste in your email responses as you see fit? I am completely aware that sample sizes vary each month but a box that consists of strictly one-time-use samples IS NOT what you promise, it IS NOT what you advertise and it is certainly NOT what I signed up to pay $10 a month to receive.

Sincerely,
(Not Anastasia,)
-Kate, Ginger-Kate.com

Anastasia, Oct 24 04:54 pm (EDT):

Hi Kate,

So sorry for the typo and your disappointment in my response. I am definitely passing your feedback along so that it will be heard by our brand partners.

Please let us know if you need any further assistance.

xGingerKate:  Thank you for your prompt response and apology, Anastasia. And no, I will require no further assistance from Birchbox.

-Kate
That’s it. Nothing overly interesting or exciting. I did think that it was worth sharing though. Again, if you’re considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber, reconsider. Check out other blogger’s reviews of Birchbox, GlossyBox, Ipsy/MyGlam and the other subscription sample boxes out there. Birchbox is a let-down monthly with their skimpy samples and then on top of that, they clearly don’t care very much about resolving any issues that their customers may be experiencing.
If you read through that crap, it is very much appreciated. Sincerely, thank you.
Love, GK