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Christmas Idea: Subscription Services

I’ve been seeing more and more subscription services pop up for clothes, shoes, jewelry, beauty products, etc. Have you? The idea of regular packages for a low price is fun, but I wonder if you end up spending on things you don’t really need. I talked about my first pair of ShoeMint shoes in this post, but I haven’t tried any other subscription programs. Have you? Which ones do you like?

With Christmas coming quickly, I wanted to highlight some of these services I’ve come across as potential gift ideas.  With the programs where your items are a surprise (all of the options below except the Mint brands), giving a gift of a subscription service could keep the Christmas feeling going all year! Since my only personal experience has been with ShoeMint, my thoughts on the other options are based only from what I can glean from the websites. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you subscribe to any of these programs, or if you know of other services I didn’t mention!

1. The “Mint” brands–ShoeMint, StyleMint, JewelMint, IntiMint

As the names imply, the Mint services are for shoes, clothes, jewelry, and intimates/PJs. The monthly fees range, with ShoeMint being the most expensive at $79.98/month. JewelMint and StyleMint are $29.99/month, and IntiMint is $19.99/month. There are also HomeMint and BeautyMint brands, but I don’t know much about them, and for some reason, they aren’t linked in one account like the other four.

After taking the requisite style quiz, you can view all of the Mint products which are conveniently linked in one account. Once you sign up, on the 5th day of each month, whichever Mint(s) you’re registered for will charge your credit card on file that month’s fee. You can choose whatever you want from their selections (or save the credits for a future purchase), and it will ship for free. Within the first 5 days of the month, you can opt to skip the month and your card won’t be charged.

Pros:

  • Free shipping and return shipping;
  • You know exactly what you’re getting;
  • You can skip a month.

Cons:

  • Pricier;
  • I’ve also heard complaints that some of the ShoeMint shoes aren’t the best quality for the price. I’m happy with the pair I purchased, and consider them to be on par with shoes I would buy at J. Crew or a department store.

2. Birchbox

For $10/month ($20 for men) you receive a box of sample-sized beauty and “lifestyle” products. You fill out a profile to give Birchbox some idea of your preferences and coloring, but some items are shipped to everyone. This subscription service is very popular–there’s actually a wait list to get an invitation to join.  There are a few options on how to receive. You can sign up month-to-month (meaning your card will get charged monthly until you cancel), with an annual membership, or you can give a gift subscription for 3, 6, or 12 months (after which the recipient can choose to join on her own). The box ships free, and if within the following month you decide to purchase a full-size version of something in your last Birchbox, you can order through Birchbox and that ships for free, as well. You can order anything from the Birchbox shop in full-size, but shipping charges may apply. If you buy the full-size versions, you earn points toward future products. Full-size items can be returned with free return shipping, but any original shipping charges won’t be refunded.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive ($10/mon for women; $20 for men);
  • Fun to try new brands and products.

Cons:

  • Currently a 1 month wait list for women and 1 week for men;
  • Since you don’t control what products arrive, you could get items you’re not interested in;
  • I’ve heard some negative reviews about the contents of the boxes;
  • It doesn’t appear that you can skip a month.

3. Ipsy (formerly MyGlam)

Ipsy is a lot like Birchbox except the products are exclusively beauty products (makeup, nail polish, etc.). I just signed up for Ipsy so I’ll let you know what I think of my December glam bag in a couple of weeks 🙂  It seemed like a good fit for me because I enjoy makeup and nail polish, but I’m not a die hard fan of any particular brand, and I don’t always know what I want so it’s nice to try new things. I found this great review of Ipsy on A Simple Life of Fashion’s post here.

Pros:

  • Only $10/month;
  • Seems to have quality brands and products;
  • Additional discount if you purchase anything from the box.

Con:

  • Like Birchbox, you may end up with items you don’t like, and since you can’t return things, you will either have to give them away or trash (which is a sad waste of money and product)

4. PV Body

My friend Katie at Healthy Heddleston recently did a review of PV Body, which is how it caught my eye. For $39/month (will soon raise to $49/month so sign up soon), you get one work out top and one work out bottom. You take a style quiz to identify what type of exercise you do (i.e. running vs. yoga vs. gym), and what your preferences are for your work out clothes in terms of cut, fit, color, etc. The folks at PV Body use your preferences and ship you a top and bottom each  month. There isn’t a list of brands on the website, but it appears PV Body carries major brands like Nike and Lululemon, in addition to lesser-known brands. The website claims the total value of your box is approx. $130 so for $39 it’s a great deal. You can’t request a specific brand, but it sounds like you can give feedback to PV Body about what you get so you may eliminate some brands that don’t work well for you.

Picture 1

Like the other subscription services, you get free shipping and returns, and it appears you can “pause” your subscription if you don’t want to receive one in a given month. The only complication is if you do a return, you have to return both items from your box; otherwise, you can exchange if one item works but the other didn’t (which is what Katie did).

If you sign up, use this link and Katie will get credit, and you’ll get 20% off!

Pros:

  • $39/month is a great price considering what you get (even on sale, it would be hard to get a top and bottom for $40 at retailers);
  • The couple of reviews I’ve read have been positive about the quality of the products and PV Body’s customer service

Cons:

  • Because PV Body carries many brands and you can’t request any in particular, it could take a few months of exchanging and communicating with their customer service people to identify pieces and brands that work for you;
  • It appears you are categorized in one of four categories depending on your primary use for the clothes (running, yoga/pilates, gym, or lounge/wearing as regular clothes). I wish you could select multiple categories because I’m a runner, but I also go to classes at the gym, and occasionally do yoga. What you need to do instead is re-take the style quiz and change your preferences if you’re sick of getting running clothes and you want to get some yoga clothes.

Have I sold you on any of these subscriptions? Are there others you love?

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6 responses »

  1. Very cool! I will have to check these out!

    Rebecca
    http://www.winnipegstyle.ca

    Reply
  2. I just ordered my first pair of shoes last week from ShoeMint!! I’ve never tried any of the others. I get too nervous.
    xoAmy
    http://www.dreamingincashmere.com

    Reply
  3. I’ve been curious about ShoeMint thanks for clearing that up. I don’t like being locked into buying something and accidentally forgetting to opt out for a month! Glad to have found your blog ❤

    Best,
    Colour Me Classic

    Reply
  4. I have a Birchbox subscription and I love it! I’ve had it for about six months now. Although it’s true that sometimes you will get a sample that you’re not crazy about, in general I have really liked the products that I’ve received! Even better, there’s often a full-size sample in the box… in the past, I’ve gotten a full-sized Eyeko liquid liner ($15.00) which I loved, and last month I received a ModelCo mascara that I plan to repurchase next time I splurge (worth $24.00). I would recommend giving it a try.

    I’m curious about PV Body…

    Reply
    • Thanks for your thoughts, Sarah! I actually signed up for Pv Body! I am pleased with what I got in my first shipment although I need to exchange the size of the top I also signed up for Glam Bag. So I will do a review in the new year! 🙂

      Reply

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