PopSugar Must Have puts out a really popular subscription box. Their Neiman Marcus collaboration box was a huge hit last year. Coming with a $250 price tag, it was a splurge that I hoped I would experience the benefits of.
This box was released around the height of the holiday shopping season in November.
I was both excited, as I’d seen a spoiler I liked, but also nervous, as this box is non-refundable and I was very concerned about how much I was spending for something I may or may not love.
THE DETAILS: PopSugar’s Must Have monthly subscription retails for $39.95 a month, including shipping. They only ship within the U.S. and boxes are non-refundable. This particular limited edition, collaboration box had the hefty price tag of $250, including shipping. It was advertised to have a retail value of over $650. This box is also non-refundable, nor could you cancel your order, even if the box hadn’t shipped yet.
I had seen a spoiler from the box, depicting the clutch you will see below. Based on the reviews of last year’s box and the spoiler, I decided to spend the money. There were a lot of folks in the subscription box community who weren’t as impressed with the spoiler item as I was. Perhaps I should have listened to them and waited for additional spoilers…
Even so, part of the thrill of a subscription box is the unknown. However, the unknown shouldn’t include whether one’s collaboration partner will put the box on sale soon after launch, thereby undercutting the customers who purchased from you. Nor should it be anybody’s guess how many times you as a company will discount the box a mere week or so after launching it, and continue to do so…not even entertaining the request from your customers to provide a partial refund. Finally, the unknown shouldn’t include whether you will get a response at all- let alone a very satisfactory response- from the company’s customer service making inquiries into this scenario, as well as inquiries as to just where your box is when the shipping update said it would take more than two weeks to get to you. (Other customers complained that they were still waiting on October/November’s boxes even into December.)
All of these very disappointing incidents happened in relation to this box for me. It happened to many others, as well, and sent the subscription box community into a tizzy. Because of it, I definitely felt pretty let down with my first experience with PopSugar Must Have. Upon opening the box, I was also not too impressed with what I received, which seemed to add insult to injury.
I debated posting a review about the box at all. In the end, I opted to do so so that all of you, dear readers, could both be aware of my experience (mirrored by many) as well as have the opportunity to come to your own conclusions. Here are the items that were included:
The first item I pull out was the original spoiler item. It is a cobalt blue and black, leather foldover clutch by Clare V. A lot of subscribers said this was a deal-breaker for them. I actually don’t mind clutches and have found them to be helpful even for putting inside a bigger tote or bag to keep things in order. I also liked the look of this. It has a retail value of $220.
The next item I pulled out was this white and silver, glass jewelry box by Swing Design. It is a decent size and seems well made but I don’t feel a sense of luxury from this item, and since I have other jewelry, etc. boxes this doesn’t wow me. That doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for gifting and I have a friend who’s minimalist tastes I think will be pleased by this. It has a retail value of $32.95.
This item had a “heft” to it and was very well packaged. It is Monica Rich Kosann’s silver-plated, enamel frame and though I am normally a fan of cream, it strikes me as something one would get as a wedding gift. I didn’t know anyone in particular getting married and this doesn’t quite fit with my decor so this was also a miss for me. It has a retail value of $100, which makes sense with the silver-plating. On the other hand, who would buy just 1, high-end picture frame? Typically people buy sets of these and I would never use my “luxury money” on frames, given my druthers. -sigh-
Okay, here’s an item I can get behind! I’ve actually purchased a canister of MarieBelle’s Aztec Hot Chocolate powder in the past and it was delicious! And though I’m making my way through quite a bit of tea and coffee, I’ve already ear-marked this for a holiday gift. This has a retail value of $12.
The next item was also a weighty one. It was a candle by well-known, designer brand Missoni, from their home collection. However the color/design is definitely not to my taste, nor is the scent. Also, would you believe that this candle has a retail value of $88? Candles are for burning; I get the designer name…but again, I’d not normally spend money for a luxury candle which will eventually be no more. (And again, these kinds of things seem to be best displayed in at least pairs, no?)
Chantecaille is a high-end, New York-based brand and one I’ve heard of. Their products are indeed pricey and so something that would be a real splurge for me. But I’ve got way too many lip glosses and mascaras and am not too picky about either. This light pink color also won’t do much for me since I have fairly rosy lips already and light colors like this might as well be clear on me. The mascara retails for $52 and the lip gloss for $33.
The last item was this full size version of Lancer’s the Method in Nourish; a moisturizing product. I have really finicky skin and given the price tag on this one, I sort of don’t want to know if it works! I wonder though at putting something like this in a box given that there are so many of us for whom this would not work. This size retails for $125.
Okay, so there are for sure some luxury/high-end brands in this box. The total retail value of these comes to $662.95. That is indeed well over the $250 I paid, and slightly over the $650 that was promised.
However, most of these are items which have no intrinsic value or use to me. The skin cream, the candle and picture frame, and the less than “wow” mascara/lip gloss. I did get a few good holiday gifts out of it though, and it could be that I can actually sell some of these items and swap the rest. I’m still not pleased about my first experience with PopSugar Must Have, but perhaps I can find some sort of silver lining.