It's been proven time and again that I am a bitter and miserable human being. I love to complain. I live for complaining. No kvetchin', no life.
That makes me a nightmare of a customer.
I freely admit it.
When I go online to do some shopping, I usually tend to spend a fair amount of money. When I shop, I usually buy the entire line (as evidenced by some of the entries on this blog) instead of piddling piecemeal. I don't have the patience for "hauls" consisting of one product. When I go shopping, I mean it. I shop.
Because of that, and because I am a bitter and miserable human being, my customer service expectations are somewhat different. When shopping, I'm in my special snowflake mode and I expect to be treated as such.
My usual shopping place is W2Beauty (affiliate link, this is the ONLY affiliate link in this post), because Alice totally gets it. She treats me like a special princess that I am. I love Alice.
W2Beauty is more expensive than other online stores, but I am willing to pay more for the opportunity to be treated like a spoiled brat. Because I am one. Alice knows that too, and I love her for that.
Last year Alice went above and beyond her responsibilities of an internet store owner and got something for me that was sold only duty free at the airport. She was going on vacation. She lugged my shopping with her around Europe. She EMSed it to me when she returned to Korea. THAT'S why I love Alice.
When I had questions about plastic surgery clinics in Seoul, she actually asked her friends and associates for recommendations. THAT'S why I love Alice.
I never win any of her giveaways, I hardly ever post any reviews on her website. Apart from one W2Beauty sponsored review on this blog, everything is always paid with my own money. Because I love Alice. And I will continue buying from her for as long as she stays in business.
Another place I shop at is TGI Wholesale, because despite the awful site design, they also get customer service. And just like Alice, they go mental with samples and freebies, as well.
When I needed a particular recommendation, they actually wrote back with a list of what was trending at that time in Korea. And guess what? On that list they included items they did not carry and did not sell. I appreciate such honesty.
Unfortunately, lately their selection seems to have shrunk. Pity. On the other hand, they are revamping their website. So maybe new and exciting things are going to happen soon. Good luck, TGI Wholesale!
Everybody's favorite Jolse is not my preferred shopping destination. Yes, I do buy from them from time to time. But I never understood their high standing among foreign Asian beauty fans. Jolse used to be referred to as BAE by people who just got their first package full of CosRX something or the other. Because apparently a handful of cheap foil packets made them look so generous and special.
I have no use for low-end samples, I have no use for TonyMolys, or Skinfoods, or other Etude Houses. If I haul in triple digits and get Tony Moly Tomatox foils, I will not be shopping there again.
Sorry, that's just my thing. Your thing might be different. But I'm going to take my business elsewhere.
I have hauled from RoseRoseShop in the past and it was a less than satisfying experience (see Jolse above) mainly due to looooong as all eternity shipping times.
I have hauled from Koreadepart and it was meh, too.
I am a semi-regular G-Market hauler and due to the nature of that site, it can be a very hit or miss experience. I had more hits than misses, but their point system sucks. For that reason, if I can, I tend to avoid G-Market altogether.
I have hauled from numerous Ebay sellers as well. Overall, it was a decent experience. With one exception. But more about it soon.
(all links to Wishtrend are non-affiliate)
One place I refuse to shop at is Wishtrend.
Why? They allow, suggest even, to mask affiliate links, because they are well aware of the fact that some people (like me) choose not to click on a random affiliate link. That fact alone made me say "fuck you" to Wishtrend and avoid any link with "wishtrend" in it 100% of the time.
Pity, because I'd like to try their klairs brand. But I am not going to. Unless I can get it from somewhere else.
However, despite my deep and undying love and devotion to Alice at W2Beauty, I am always on the lookout for new places to shop.
- One, because I love to shop.
- And two, because Alice does not stock every single brand under the sun. She's trying, yes, that's true.
- And three, because whenever I want something that she doesn't sell, I feel bad for asking her to do me a favor and get it for me anyway. Even I know there are limits to my special snowflakeness.
(no affiliate links below)
It seems that the majority of new online vendors these days are located either in the US, or in Canada, or in Europe. That doesn't do me any good.
Though there is one store in the UK, named very appropriately K-cosmetics, that offers free worldwide shipping, has an interesting brand that I am lusting after (I'm From) and decent prices (considering their physical location).
It seems like a great choice for folks in Europe to try.
And they're also offering 40% off right now, if you sign up for their newsletter or something, something. Their website kinda sucks, but the prices are really reasonable, and that I'm From is calling my name (especially since I refuse to buy from Wishtrend, which is like the only other place that stocks this brand).
(NO affiliate links below, this is NOT a sponsored review)
There is also a new player based in South Korea, one called Brush and Powder.
I mentioned them before in my Cremorlab review. They are notable for carrying a fuckton of Cremorlab and having periodic "buy one get one" offers on Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel (and hopefully on other Cremorlab, too, hear this B&P???). It was one of these offers that lured me in.
Don't know about you, but I hate the name. Sounds too much like a makeup store. True, they also carry a bunch of makeup, including some lesser known brands (Unpretty Rapper, you're next!), but that's not all they have. So why the stupid makeupy name? No idea.
They are very active on Instagram and that's how I found them.
They are kind, friendly, and for the most part, well organized. For the most part, because as you will see, there was a little snafu with the discount code. However, overall, their customer service is second to none. They actually indulged my special snowflakedness and did so with a smile. Gotta love that.
When shortly after my Cremorlab post, they announced on Instagram they were running their BOGO offer on Fresh Water Gel, I immediately jumped on it. Cremorlab is good, but only if I can get it for less than the regular price.
And so I placed an order. I also added Cremorlab Skin Tone-Up CC Cream, which I've been wanting to try for a while now, and which turned out to be excellent.
Before I placed my order, I got this pop-up:
So you mean not only a BOGO offer on Cremorlab, but 10% off as well?
Just shut up and take my money already!
Of course I signed up.
I didn't get any email with an activation code, or a discount code, so I assumed it would be applied during checkout. I assumed wrong.
Now, my total wasn't that outrageous. It came out to 87 dollars. But 10% of 87 dollars that's 8 bucks. That's a fully customized Starbucks soy frappuccino in Japan. Nothing to sneeze at.
I wanted to know if perhaps I did something wrong and missed my 10% off, so I sent an email. Even though it was almost midnight here and in Korea, their lovely rep got back to me almost immediately. Seriously people, don't you ever sleep???
She explained that emails are sent at certain times, and that unfortunately, I missed my discount code for my first order. Yeah, I was bummed. But then she suggested that she could upgrade my shipment from normal registered air to K-packet to make up for the inconvenience of missing the discount.
Now, you see, I live in Japan. I always pick the cheapest shipping option when choices are available, because whether it's a K-packet, or a registered air package, they get here around the same time. It doesn't make any difference. EMS, if it's sent out first thing in the morning in Korea, gets to me the next day. We are close enough that extra shipping options don't really make much sense. Better to use that money towards an extra sheet mask, or two.
Of course if you live in a country with a less reliable postal system, by all means, go for the safest option.
In all my years of buying from Korea, I have lost only one package. With three su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Sticks. From an Ebay seller, who didn't send it with a tracking number. But I placed that order during the famous MRCS shortage, so it's anybody's guess whether the package was actually sent out at all. After a long wait for my sticks and a very brief Ebay dispute, I got my money back. I ended up ordering the sticks from W2Beauty, because by then they were back in stock and available.
Back to Brush and Powder...
While I appreciated the shipping upgrade gesture, I didn't really need it. I paid for the tracking number anyway. I would have preferred a couple of sheet masks instead. I said so to the Brush and Powder rep, and she basically replied "whatever makes you happy".
- I placed my order on Monday at midnight, or very early Tuesday morning, we're talking like zero A.M. here.
- It was shipped out on Friday.
- It got to me a week later.
It was sent out as K-packet AND there were the masks I whined about. AND a packet of Cremorlab makeup cleansing sheets AND a bunch of samples and foils. AND a handwritten personal note.
People, that's how you do customer service.
Am I going to be shopping at Brush and Powder in the future? Hell yeah! Especially since after all that, I can STILL use my previously missing 10% discount code.
And that is WHY I am writing this post.
Too often I bitch about bad service (I refuse to shop at the flagship Shu Uemura store at Omotesando Hills), shady service (staff at SkinGarden in Shin Okubo in Tokyo diligently scratching off stamped expiration dates) or racist service (as detailed in this entry).
So to balance it out, today I am writing about excellent service. And unlike my shopping experiences in Japan, this excellent service is available worldwide with free shipping, no matter where you live.
But of course, I wouldn't be myself, if I didn't find something to point out.
Now, this stuff doesn't really matter to me, because Japan and Korea have some sort of offcial agreement and nobody cares what's written on customs slips.
However, if you live in a country with an anal retentive customs office, you might be in for a rude surprise.
The package was marked as a gift, but... the sender was listed as "Brush and Powder". That is an immediate red flag that the parcel is not a gift, but in fact, merchandise.
In contrast, W2Beauty and TGI Wholesale (don't remember about Jolse) write the name of an actual person as a sender, so the package has at least a semblance of being an actual, private gift. A tiny thing but one that customs officers look at when "randomly" selecting shipments for inspection.
Another thing that could be a red flag for bored customs staff was that the total value was listed as "0" on the customs form. Yep, zero dollars, zero won, zero yen, zero anything.
Yeah, we all play that lower-the-value-to-avoid-customs-fees game. I do it every time I send a package to Europe. But c'mon now. Keep it believable, please?
Anyway, that's just my two yen worth of bitching.
What exactly did I buy?
- Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel - buy one get one free, single price US$48.00
- Cremorlab Skin Tone-Up CC Cream - single price US$36.00. This stuff is magnificent, perfect for hot and humid weather. If you have oily or combo skin, this is going to be ideal for you (according to my very oily friend). It has yellow undertones and is suitable for light and very light skintones up to NC20, maybe. I'll post a full review after testing it some more.
- Cremorlab Cleansing Veil Sheets (10 sheet pack) - this was a freebie. The full size pack has 70 sheets.
Here are the two sheet masks:
- Cremorlab Herb Tea Blemish Minus Calming Mask - single price US$5.00
- Cremorlab Nutrition Deep Hydro Plus Intensive Mask - single price US$10.00
As you can see, the combined total of these masks is nearly double of what my 10% would have been. Thank so you much, Brush and Powder!!!
The hand written note recommended this mask:
I'm going to try it tonight and report back :-)
And in addition to all that, a generous stack of samples and foils was included in my shipment as well.
Miss N (the oily skinned friend) immediately grabbed the CC cream samples. She's the one who reported back that it worked like magic.
Mineral Treatment Essence, Shadow-off Cream and Essence Tonic are new to me. While one foil is not enough to get an idea about a product, I'm still looking forward to trying them all.
Incidentally, September is my "use up all the samples" months, because I am trying to reorganize my stash.
So there you have it.
A totally honest, non-sponsored store review.
What are you waiting for?
Go, do some shopping!
And now, if you excuse me, I have to start preparing for yet another typhoon. Meh...