Thursday, August 17, 2017

On 8:15 PM by Hira Tabassum in , ,    No comments
We tried Pakistan's top beauty subscription boxes so you won't have to!

The recent Subscription Service fad in Pakistan has taken us by storm. In the past 2.5 years, I have had my fair share of Beauty Sub services; some good, some bad. Purpose of my post is to compare these Sub services and help my readers make wise decisions when opting for any Beauty Subscription Service. My opinions may vary from your depending upon my taste and likings, I have tried to stay as objective as I can. Hopefully this post will serve as a benchmark before subscribing to any service. Let’s start off with the very first box I tried.

ST Effects Box
So the Sub service began with The Brand Hub’s “ST Effects Box”. It’s safe to say that Sarah Tariq of Brand Hub is our Subscription Momma as she introduced the concept of Sub service in Pakistan. The service began with 3-4 full sized items and a deluxe sized item for Rs. 1500 as Subscription box cost and Rs. 300 as delivery charges as introductory price. The very next month the price of the box was increased to Rs. 2000 with additional Rs. 300 as delivery charges. Since the concept of Sub service was fairly new, ST Effects Box was by far my most favorite Sub service due to its specially designed box, a proper service name and the presentation skills. I subscribed to it for a few months, ST Effects Box was afterwards made exclusive for members only. People who become members of Brand Hub by paying Rs. 5000 valid for 2 years are the only ones who can subscribe to ST Effects Box. This membership does not limit you to sub service only it offers you a lot of discounts, surprise birthday gifts and a special bridal gift if you are getting married. Since I am not a member I am not sure how it’s going and neither I have seen any pictures being shared by people. However, I have heard it’s still functional. You can inquire about the details of it from The Brand Hub’s Facebook page.

Beauty Box/Mystery Box by Beauty Enhancers
When Sara Tariq came up with her ST Effects Box, a lot of Facebook stores copied her idea and started off with their own Sub services. Beauty Enhancers claims to have started off with the Sub idea before Sarah Tariq. It may be true but in any case, it didn’t get much attention and only became known after ST Effects Box. My main emphasis here would be, “Naqal kay liye Aqal ki bhi zroorat hoti ha” (you need brains to even copy an idea). With slight changes to the Sub service concept all boarded the band wagon without considering how much thought and effort goes into the process. Same is the case with Beauty Enhancers Beauty box. This has to be the most thoughtless Sub service in my opinion. The name does not even represent the service. Each time I subscribed to this service, the presentation left me disappointed. For starters, the items came in a pouch and not a box. The pouches were not customized, it was like the owner had a few extra makeup pouches bought at a flee store and decided to use them for Sub service. Upon asking I was told, she ran out of boxes. For someone who had begun a new service and was building customer ship, one should have been making more effort. This wasn’t something one does with a first-time customer. This happened the second time as well. I got my items in Emirates men’s shaving bag. Also, the items were not value for money. The service went by posting a picture of couple of items available to go into Sub boxes. The items were chosen on first come first serve basis. So if an item had been chosen already, one had to opt for some other item. This allowed a person to choose at least 1 item of personal choice and the remaining items were added by owner’s choice. The 3 to 4 items additional was also a miscommunication.
The service was then changed to Mystery box where the prices were reduced to Rs. 1000 and Rs. 1500. Again the bag turned out to be a disappointment with a lot of miscommittment on the seller’s part. Hence, I stopped opting for this service and also suggest others not to opt for it. You can check their Facebook store by clicking on this link.

Beauty Bar by Beauty Broadway
In January 2015, another Sub service started by the name of Beauty Bar. Like I mentioned earlier, a lot of Sub services started around this time with slight variations in their ideas. Beauty Bar was a Sub service for deluxe sized items only. There were 5 to 6 deluxe sized items for Rs. 1500 inclusive of delivery charges and 3 to 4 items inclusive of delivery charges for Rs. 1000. This service allowed you to experience new and upcoming products and existing ones without having to spend huge amounts on full sized items. I was pretty okay with the products and price but the only off setting thing was 1-time usable samples. As a blogger or a layman, it’s hard to judge the performance of a product with single use.
The service was then modified into Mystery boxes and Beauty Bags. I found it to be quite confusing since there wasn’t a pattern to this service. There were some mystery bags that had different items but also there were some boxes and each box was priced differently and contained different array of products. To me it gave the impression as if the seller was only trying to get rid of the products by selling them quickly in the form of mystery boxes. But the items were mostly worth the splurge. So no complains here. You can inquire about Beauty Broadway’s Mystery Boxes by inboxing them on their Facebook store.

Glam Bag by Infinity
Glam bag in my opinion is inspired by Ipsy. Even the service name is same and also the design. Glam bag costs Rs. 2600 inclusive of delivery charges and includes 3 to 4 full sized items with 1 to 2 deluxe sized items. For the price, the service is worth the money. I availed Glam bag twice and both the times my experience was pleasant. I appreciate how all items were usable and none of the times they had weird shades in lipsticks. Many services place clearance stock items or weird shades which do not suit Asian/desi skin tones but this is not the case with Glam Bag. For Rs. 2600 you get value for money products which you actually get to use. One of the items will be from a high end brand while all others will be drugstore.
The only thing that disappointed me with Glam Bag is slight lack of professionalism on Store owner’s part. You really need to make an effort to get her to respond and most of the times, Glam Bag isn’t advertised on their Facebook page. A lot of people might not even know this service exists. I believe the page owner needs to put more effort into being more active on Facebook. You can get in touch with Infinity by clicking on this link.

Style Me Box
This Sub service happens to be another fish in the pond. I would classify this one to be suitable for tweens, teens and beginners. Style Me Box offers a unique combination of jewelry and makeup products but all drug store. What I would admire about them is the way they marketed themselves. They came up with a very serious, professional looking, no bullshit website, quick cash on delivery services and a good-looking box. The lacking factors were low quality of the box, misleading information and thinking their customers to be fools with no knowledge of prices. By misleading information, I mean, they would show an amazing Box containing Colorpop and Soap and Glory items and some nice jewelry and would implant in your head that you might get these items in your box. On inquiring, these boxes were always sold out and funny thing, I never saw anyone sharing images or feedback of happily receiving such boxes. All people used to get was drug store makeup items and jewelry. The most off-putting thing was giving the customers the impression that they are saving multiples of money by mentioning very high prices of items when we all know how much drugstore items actually cost.
I subscribed to this service twice only as the makeup items were entirely useless for me. However, the jewelry items were really nice both the times. I did not find value for money with this box for Rs 2700. I think this Sub service has vanished as I have not seen any updates or posts on Facebook account. If they are active, well good for them.

Glam Bag by Brand Empires
This has to be the worst Sub service in the history of Man kind. The items I received in my Glam Bags were a disgrace and humiliating.  I subscribed to this service twice and both the times the items were worth way less than the cost. The woman needs to learn the Business basics and Makeup terminologies. Her concepts about High end brands and how a sub service works is way off and from some other planet. I wasted almost Rs. 9000 in total for both the Glam Bags while the items were somewhere around Rs. 3000 to Rs. 4000. Brand Empires is an Instagram store and that’s where she run her Sub service as well. There is no consistency in her Sub service. The price of the Glam Bag keeps fluctuating each time and is dependent on what items she has included in your bag. The items tend to be crappy and mostly freebies collected at hotels and such or high end deluxe items that come free with certain amount of shopping. Rest of the items are all drugstore and not worth the money. I suggest you run far away from this one and delete it from your memory as well. You can check her Instagram store if you are that daring. She runs her story by the name of Brand.Empires.

Black Bag
Black Bag is a prime example of staring something without thinking it through. The service started off nicely and professionally and went good for about 2 months before landing flat. There were so many things wrong with this one. One, Black Bag being the name, the items used to come in a thin cardboard fragile box. Two, the delivery charges to same city were as high as Rs. 300 and moreover each time the delivery guy wanted to charges Rs. 100 extra as a commission for himself for delivering the items. I got the chance of subscribing to this service twice. I was very pleased the first time since the items were worth way more than Rs. 2300 and also it provided the opportunity to try new and unheard brands. The second time I was blue with disappointment. The items were all substandard and senselessly gathered and were worth way less than Rs. 2300. The customer services was very shitty as no one picked up the phone call or bothered responding to messages on Facebook. This service has closed down for the good and you won’t find them on Social media any longer.

GlowyBox
Glowybox, I believe was introduced somewhere around December 2016. May I say, its by far the most professional and proper Sub service. They are professional to the core with prompt services, unique items and value for money. The design, presentation and creativity is outstanding. The box quality and paraphernalia it contains is simply beautiful. Each month you get to experience new and unheard brand products with some high end and well-known brands. Moreover, they keep releasing teasers on social media of what might be included in the box so you get to decide if you want to opt for the box or not based on your likeness of items. For Rs. 3000 inclusive of delivery charges, this service is worth every penny. Did I mention, the box is perfect for reuse? Use it as a gift box for birthdays, weddings or even to store tid bits.

Cosmetic Candy Beauty Box
Cosmetic Candy Beauty box is a subscription service started by a Facebook store by the name of Cosmetic Candy. It started in March and so far they have only managed to deliver 3 boxes. Cosmetic Candy box is of 3 types:
1.       Silver Box (Rs. 3000)
2.       Gold Box (Rs. 5000)
3.       Black Box (Rs. 7000)
Silver Box contains 6 to 8 drug store items. Gold box contains a mixture of drug store and high-end brands while the Black box contains mostly high-end brands and full sized items. The basic items remain the same in each box. More items are added depending upon the box type which means, the Black beauty box subscriber will get all items of a Silver box, Gold Box and will additionally get full sized items of high-end brands.
I actually want to rate this service as second best so far in the league of Subscription boxes but sadly they are not consistent. From March till now they have only managed to hand out 3 month’s boxes out of 5. I like how well thought the product combination is each time. I loved my first box and found my second box to be average but still would opt for the next box whenever they open up orders.

Glam Box by Just4girls
Just4girls.pk has now become a household name over the years. Anyone living in Pakistan who happens to be a Makeup lover is aware of this website. It is THE place to buy cosmetics and one of the pioneers to introduce the concept of online makeup shopping portal. Some months back they also introduced their Subscription Service by the name of Glam Box. I was thrilled to hear this news and quickly subscribed to their first box.
My take on their service is, for a professional Business you have become a Brand name now, I expected a way better presentation by you people. I was disappointed with your choice of Box quality and the art work. It was not professional at all considering the magnitude of your Business and years in market. The black and red box with antique gold colored inscription looked half-heartedly done. The box lacked finishing and the wrapping was a dud. Come on guys, you can do better. The second box which happened to be the Eid Special box was a torture to the eyes with its royal blue color, messy finishing and haphazard placement of items. It looked so tacky that I have fallen short of words to express my disappointment.
Coming to the items in the box, I like what I received but I am not awed in anyway. I am unable to pin point what exactly is wrong with the items but they just failed to thrill me both times. For Rs. 3000 I’ll say the box is worth the money. But they need to work on quality of their boxes. I would suggest opting for a new vendor.

Ignite Box
Oh man I don’t even know where to begin with this one. As much as the box was value for money the service was a huge disappointment. I waited for more than two months to receive my box. The owner of this service is very unprofessional and unable to meet her commitments. Her Snap chat is full of apologies she keeps throwing to her customers for delays. Also, I believe she needs to streamline her operations as there is a logistics company problem, moreover, she needs to keep a track of her orders. She suffers from bad memory and poor accounting skills which hinder her from recalling who ordered what and when. There are 2 types of Ignite boxes:
1.       Smart Box (Rs. 5500)
2.       Spoilt Box (Rs. 11,000)
Smart Box is a low cost option for people on budget while Spoilt Box is for people who like to indulge in high end brands.
I had only opted once for a Smart Box and once was enough for me to last a life time. I would never opt for this service because of extreme unprofessionalism of the service provider. Also, the service provider isn’t consistent with the service. It was discontinued for quite some months and almost 3 months back I received an email that the service is available again with a hike in prices, starting at Rs. 8,500 and also the products are pre-informed to buyers. However I have seen no updates further on Ignite Box Instagram account, probably no one bothered ordering.

This was my analysis of the Subscription services trending in Pakistan. If I have missed any, do let me know I would love to try some new ones. My closing remarks would be, there are a lot of fish in the pond. We are all different and have different expectations and requirements. Some might agree with my opinion and some might not. I have tried my best to stay as neutral as possible and analyze them with one criteria i.e. Products being value for money.

About the Blogger:

Myra is a Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle blogger and has been running a blog for the past 6 years by the name of “Intensify Beauty Blog”. She loves trying new products and is passionate about everything. She is a chocoholic and a shopaholic along with being an avid reader and foodie. You can get in touch with her anytime via her blog, Facebook page or email. This post will also be published on Intensify Beauty Blog.


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