Subscription Box Insanity: Nina Garcia Quarterly (Nov. ’14)

Quarterly boxes are here!

Quarterly boxes are here!

I love when the Quarterly boxes come in! Maybe it’s because, as the name implies, these subscriptions only come in every three months, prolonging the anticipation with the promise of the “cream of the crop” for sub boxes. (And starting at $50 a box and up, the expectation is that they will be!) One of the other foundation’s of Quarterly Co.’s model is that the items in the box are hand-selected by a celebrity curator. There are football players and chefs, bloggers, actresses, and fashionistas. The one thing I have noticed is that their curator list has shrunk of late, which may well be for the best in terms of allowing them to really work with the guest curators to get the best items for their boxes.

I currently have Quarterly subscriptions for My Subscription Addiction, Design Sponge, and today’s curator, Nina Garcia. According to Quarterly’s bio for her:

“Nina Garcia, award-winning author of four books, is the Creative Director of Marie Claire magazine. Having worked with the most seminal photographers, models, and designers, she is one of the most influential leading experts in fashion. As the inimitable judge on Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” Nina is a style ambassador and advisor for multiple brands. She has also been a guest style expert for multiple shows, including “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show.”

This box retails for $100. It’s one of the pricier boxes on Quarterly so I expect a high value to go alongside it. I should note that I’ve received two of Ms. Garcia’s previous boxes…one that I liked and one that I returned. This box will be the deciding factor of whether I keep this subscription since I feel like, given it’s high price tag, I really should love it.

THE DETAILS: Quarterly Co. delivers worldwide and typically doesn’t charge for the box until it is ready to ship/being shipped (with shipping included in the price listed on the website). One other thing to note is that when a new curator comes out, the company often provides a code for $10 or so off the first box – but only for a very limited time.

First Look

First Look

With the Nina Garcia Quarterly Co. boxes, Nina actually has her own branded tissue paper and everything comes wrapped in it, so it’s a really a treat to unbox! As you can see, Quarterly Co. boxes always include a curator note in it’s classic blue envelope. I usually skip over this until the end but it is definitely worth looking through because it typically is a note with personal thoughts and sentiments about each of the items selected by the curator.

Ballin Knit Cap

Ballin Knit Cap

Since it’s the only item that isn’t wrapped, this is what I pull out first. The gold thread lends a bit of a luxury feel to this knit cap by Alex and Chloe but at the end of the day, it’s still a knit cap. I’m not too old to know what “ballin'” means in popular slang, but I do feel I’m old enough that I can’t/don’t want to try to integrate this into my wardrobe. This has a retail value of $40, though that feels pretty over-priced.

Pantone Mug: Crocus

Pantone Mug: Crocus

The next item I unwrap is this bone china Pantone Universe mug in “Crocus”. I really love this color…and it seems to be one of the better colors compared to what some other subscribers got! This has a retail value of $16.

Nude Skincare ProGenius Oil

Nude Skincare ProGenius Oil

This Nude Skincare ProGenius Oil was one of the spoiler items, so I knew it would be in the box. I have sampled this oil before and while it is nice, it didn’t blow me away. If I keep this box, this item will get swapped. This is a travel size and has a retail value of $17.50.

The Laundress Sweater Comb

The Laundress Sweater Comb

Next up is The Laundress Sweater Comb. I love this brand; they have a phenomenal stain removing product which I highly recommend! I need a good sweater comb so will keep this, if I opt to keep the box. The retail value of this is $16.95.

Deux Lux Joplin Circle Messenger: Navy

Deux Lux Joplin Circle Messenger: Navy

IMG_1463[1]

Messenger Tag Description

So this Deux Lux Joplin Circle Messenger Bag in Navy is…not my favorite. And considering it is the big ticket item, I’m a little bummed by that. First, the color palette of navy and fuschia. Not my thing. Then the style and material, which is vegan leather. Finally…the fringe! Yuck! The tag says it has a suggested retail value of $75 but when I looked up the bag on their site, their two versions actually have this with a gold-toned zipper and metallic shoulder strap. So I’m actually knocking the value down to $60 for that.

RGB Nail Polish: Deep

RGB Nail Polish: Deep

This RGB nail polish in “Deep” is actually a lighter crimson/garnet than what it appears in this picture/bottle. I like it but have similar colors. It has a retail value of $18.

Rue Gembon Ear Jackets

Rue Gembon Discount and Ear Jackets

Rue Gembon Ear Jackets Close-up

Rue Gembon Ear Jackets Close-up

Last up is this set of Rue Gembon Ear Jackets in Raven Gold. I’ve been really intrigued by the ear jacket trend, but this particular pair strikes me as clunky and just not my style. They are sold out on Rue Gembon’s site and have a listed value of $50, which astounds me. If I were to buy them, I’d probably pay half that, at most. The discount code is nice, but not counted towards the value of the box.

Okay, so moment of truth. If you take the listed value, then this box has a retail value of $218.45 (less $15 for the purse, since it’s not a true duplicate of the item on the website). However, I strongly feel like many of these items are vastly overpriced, plus I really only like the Pantone mug and the sweater comb. So ultimately I find this box to be a real miss and will be requesting a return from Quarterly/shipping it back. As I haven’t liked the last two of her boxes, I’ve also opted to cancel the Nina Garcia subscription. Quarterly Co. offers a 100% money-back guarantee. Since I didn’t even open the items, I packed them all back up in the original box, requested a return from customer service, and shipped the box out using the prepaid return label I was provided a few days later.*

Currently I do a lot of business with Quarterly Co., so I do have a sense of what their boxes can be like. And though this one missed the mark, I’m looking forward to my next My Subscription Addiction (which I’ve doubled up on, I like it so much) and Design Sponge boxes. What Quarterly Co. boxes do you all subscribe to?

*Note: I try to be super ethical with my returns, either not using/opening things at all, or only using a product/service enough to get a sense of whether it works for me before seeking to return or exchange. (And I try always to be clear, but nice, to customer service about the reason for my return…unless they aren’t transparent or nice with me. Karma.)

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