What Do I Look For In A Subscription Box?
By Kerry Rockwood White
There are so many subscription boxes out there. How are you to decide which ones to try? Unless you’re super-rich, you can’t try them all (I wish!), so you have to pick and choose. But how do you start?
Well, I started with ones that we inexpensive, which is a pretty obvious way to go. And also, something I knew I was likely to get items I would like. My first two subscriptions were BirchBox and Ipsy. They are both beauty boxes and both just $10. They send you items valued at more than twice what you pay, so even if you don’t love everything, you get your $10 worth. (Check out my BirchBox review and my Ipsy review).
But what about other types of boxes? I love jewelry and accessories, and there are a lot of boxes out there that cater to that demographic. So how to choose? First off, I am not a fan of scarves. When you’ve got a 44DD bust, an infinity scarf is not one of your favorite things. So I wanted a company that either didn’t include scarves or let me opt out of them. I also wanted a company with a good reputation. All too often jewelry looks nice in the picture online and you get it in your hands and it feels cheap and the colors are different. I didn’t want to be a victim of buyer’s remorse even for 1 box. So, after looking around a bit, I decided that Wantable’s Accessory box was the one I was willing to try out.
Where do you go from there? Or, where did I go from there. I decided I wanted boxes for the rest of my family. I explained in my post A Word (or Two, or Ten) About My Addiction to Subscription Boxes how I came to subscribe to all my various boxes, so I won’t go into all of that again here.
So how do you choose? Well, a lot of that depends on you.
What is your budget?
What are your needs?
What do you like or hope to get from the box?
Obviously, looking at sites like this that review boxes and show pictures of what your get are helpful. You wouldn’t want to sign up for a box and find out it’s all sample sizes of stuff you won’t use when you thought you were getting full size items of products you like.
Try to find sites that have plenty of photos of past boxes so you have an idea of the quality and variety of the products included. Many companies don’t accept returns unless something is damaged. However, some companies do let you return items. If you are hesitating between 2 or 3 different companies, all other things being equal, I’d start with the one that allows returns. If you get stuff you don’t like and you can’t return it (or gift it), there are sites and communities online for selling and trading subscription box items, though that may be more trouble than many of you want to deal with.
Also, if possible, when looking at a subscription box company, see if they deal in brands you’ve heard of. Now, this may not apply to certain boxes, like jewelry and crafts, but it would apply to beauty and skin care, and some food and wine boxes. Obviously, many boxes are simply their own brand, so this won’t apply, but for those that are not, if you’re familiar with their suppliers then you have a better idea of the quality you’ll receive.
How long have they been in business? This is a toughy. There are a lot of new subscription box services starting up every week. I can’t say don’t support them, don’t sign up if they’re new. In fact, I am all for supporting start up businesses. I mention this for those that have a tight budget and maybe can only afford 1 or 2 subscription boxes. If that is your case, go with something proven first. If you are interested in someone new on the scene, keep watch. If after a while they seem like they’ve got a good handle on thing, discontinue your other subscription and sign up with them.
What else do I look for – me personally? I want some variety. I want the opportunity to customize or at least let you know what things I definitely don’t want in my box. (no scarves, please) I want a box that not only has variety from month to month, but variety within each box. I don’t want 2 skin creams in the same box, or a lip stick and a lip gloss. And when it comes to cosmetics, I appreciate a variety of colors. I don’t want half a dozen neutral colored eyeshadows. I want some other colors too. I like a box that is packaged and presented well. First impressions are everything, and taking that extra effort to make our first glimpse special says a lot. And mostly, I want a box that delivers what it promises – on all levels. If they say they double your value, it should be doubled. If they take the time to give you a quiz on what you like, don’t send me something I wouldn’t wear in 100 years. If the description of your limited edition box says there will be a statement necklace, it better be a statement necklace and not some dainty little chain with a bar on it. Oh, and don’t send me useless crap just to make up the last item or that last $1. It’s unprofessional and brings everything else down.
So, does that help you at all, or have I left you more confused? What about you? What do you look for in a subscription box?
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