Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Hype Machine according to GlossyBox - or, why I unsubscribed.

Image credit: Glossybox.co.uk

I've been holding out for a miracle for the longest time with GlossyBox.  A few weeks ago, the day of their Valentine's 'special', I finally got tired of waiting and unsubscribed.  I've been a pretty resilient customer, in fact: I didn't unsubscribe during what's known as Batiste-gate, I ploughed through crap boxes even when I gave away all of the contents to someone else and I put up with their defensive customer service, where on a bad box day, they'd retweet all the good tweets and ignore all the bad, refusing to deal with the tides of unhappy customers.

I kind of snapped a few weeks ago, and it wasn't even a bad box that set me off.  Everything was… fine.

That's sort of the problem.  No excitement, no spark of interest, everything was just fine.  Hunky-dory.  Okay, so it was a pink (OMGZZZ PINK!!!!111oneone) box. Cute, but not revolutionary.  And there was a sweetie.  Both of these were obviously a gesture towards forcing the contents of the box, protestingly, to fit in the self-imposed Valentine's template.

Then, enter the creation of hype.  "We've got a special Valentine's box!" they perkily tweeted, and suddenly everyone wanted a piece of it.

Now, call me old-fashioned, but I received some anti-ageing night cream from Clarins in my box.  I don't associate night cream with romance - I associate it with - oh! Skin care.  Because nothing says 'I love you' like being presented with the reminder that you're ageing.

The whole box proceeded in the same way and any tenuous link to St. Valentine began to slip through their grasp: a Murad skin primer thing which made my face look sweaty and orange like I was recovering from a bad case of food poisoning after a sunny holiday, and a blue eyeliner.

A blue eyeliner.

Let's focus on that.  It's Valentine's Day.  I'm getting ready for a hot date with my marvellous beau (please note that Kiwi and I would never do this because we simply don't do V-Day) and making myself look pretty. Who in their right mind would reach for a blue eyeliner? I can just imagine myself now, sweaty orange face glinting in the dim candlelight over dinner, eyes lined in blue kohl and red lipstick smeared over my madly cackling mouth and teeth.

Because that's what I think of when I think of blue eyeliner - and I'm sure there's some people who wear it beautifully, but seriously - blue eyeliner?! For Valentine's Day?!  In combination with an anti-ageing cream, it's pretty difficult to imagine the demographic they tried to cover here.  No, GlossyBox, just no.

The best thing is, that after this month's box reveal from the ambassadors, I'm doubly pleased that I decided to end my long-standing and loyal subscription: a multi-use 'soap', yet more body lotion (and EXACTLY the same lotion as their very first box) and lipgloss I'll never use.

Now, if at this point, you think I've got it in for GlossyBox, I'm going to have to correct you. I was subscribed from the very first box, and my anger and negative feelings towards it, their customer service and policies have been gently puffing their way to full-blown rage like a middle-aged jogging enthusiast since.  I'm no more angry or interested in GlossyBox than I would be with any other business I feel let down by.  The thing about GlossyBox is that they're very good at creating hype… but then there's the down-side: they can't take the backlash when people inevitably feel conned and disappointed by their box and they stick their heads in the sand.  Then people forget, and a month passes, and then oh! Maybe this month will be better! GlossyBox says so!  The GlossyBox hype machine rolls on.

I'm glad I escaped, because I feel like unless GlossyBox steps up their game, deals with complaints and constructive criticism, and doesn't constantly change their policies endlessly regarding collecting their famed GlossyDots AND stops creating unnecessary hype by appending unnecessary holidays* to their boxes as a way of driving sales (because seriously - not one of those products would EVER be suitable for any kind of Valentine's Day), then their days must surely be numbered.  Their continual failure to implement any kind of beauty preference or requirement when other beauty boxes can and HAVE implemented it with the sending of a simple email, let alone filling in the GlossyBox profile, means that they simply cannot be bothered to interact with their customers, listen or even care what they want.  Goodbye, GlossyBox. It was nice knowing you (NOT)*.

*on a side-note, I would be willing to see a Pancake Day-themed box.
* Clearly a Wayne's World reference ;)
* please note that if you'd like to see my previous rant on something else (Eyeko) then feel free to click over here.

35 comments:

  1. I'm also unsubscribing, the box I got yesterday was the last straw, nothing about it was exciting. At first I thought it was okay, but then I realised I'd got a Hand Sanitiser, and yet another crappy blue eyeshadow that I wouldnt use.
    And don't even get me started on the customer service!
    Hollie
    x

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    1. It's weird for me as I never unsubscribed due to a bad content, just reaching the end of my tether with them! I'm very glad I have though :) x

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  2. I was annoyed that the lotion in this month's box was the same as in the first box. I didn't like it back then I'm not going to like it now! It's like they can't get anything new so they're recycling old products.
    I'm giving it one more box and if that's still rubbish I'll be unsubscribing.

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    1. Ahh, the old 'wait one month' approach! That's why I stayed with them for another 4 months! It's so weird how beauty boxes propagate this kind of culture of a fear of missing out! Everyone's terrified they will miss out on the NARS box, or the one Illamasqua one, when logically, the product you want could be easily obtained without all the hassle! x

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  3. This post is so very true. It didn't even occur to me that the Valentine's themed box contained nothing nothing valentine's themed in it! How brainwashed?!
    I think the days of the beauty box are numbered to be honest especially following Feel Unique's stopping of theirs. I unsubscribed from Carmine after receiving a blue eyeliner and a bag of bath salts. I've come to the conclusion that I'd rather spend the money on items I actually want and use.

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    1. I know! I don't mind the products in a general setting, but they made such a HUGE deal about it being a Valentine's box, but not one product was relevant.

      I do feel upset that Feel Unique did cancel their box though - they were one of my favourite boxes as I always felt that they were good value for money with interesting products to a more mass-consumer - it's such a shame.

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  4. I unsubscribed a few months ago; there were always a couple of things in the box that I didn't/wouldn't use and what annoyed me about Glossybox (over other boxes) was that they didn't have the same thing for everyone; so I'd see reviews of things I'd really like on other blogs and I'd be the person who ended up with neon yellow toenail wraps, or sunscreen instead of fake tan (who gets excited about sunscreen!). I'd rather spend £10/£15 a month on something I know I'll like!
    xxx

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    1. I know. I received what I can only describe as vomit-coloured toe wraps. What's the point? I'll never use those. GlossyBox create this unnecessary fear of missing out - like they constantly 'sold out' of their boxes, creating huge demand and then people worrying they'd miss a great box so they also retained their starting customer base. I know I was terrified to miss a great box for months - but I'm glad I finally realised! xxx

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  5. Yesterday's box was the final straw for me. A 'meh' box filled with yet more lotions and unsuitable hair products. What made me finally go 'oh for *beep*s sake'...was finding out that other girls had received a full sized Becca product, whilst the rest of us received what seemed like to me, a box filled with any left overs they could find laying around the office :0/

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    1. EXACTLY. I have that Becca product and it's lovely - but if you're going to do a Becca product, then everyone should have it and the rest of the contents should have varied.

      The stupid thing is GlossyBox have YET AGAIN failed to implement any kind of preference or requirement - people with fine hair received products to make them look like oil slicks and people with curly hair got things for straight hair.

      What's the point? Other beauty boxes can and HAVE implemented hair colour/preference easily and have been praised for it.

      Delete
  6. I haven't bothered with them. I'd rather spend my £10-£13 on something I know I want. I also wouldn't be able to afford a lot of the full size versions if I did like them.
    I love reading your posts, Happy Pancake Day :D

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    1. I think that is becoming the case with a lot of subscribers - and in the case of GlossyBox, I do have to agree that it's becoming a false economy as their product selections get worse. However, one box which was always good value was the Feel Unique box - which was sadly cancelled this month - a fact I am sad about. The service was honest, unpretentious and the product selection was relatively well thought-out.

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    2. The Feel Unique box is the one that seemed to be the favourite. Maybe it stopping shows that to fill boxes with popular/tailored things wasn't financially viable. Which is why the other boxes include more less known (to me anyway) brands and not necessarily popular products - blue/green eyeliners, pink eyeshadows etc.
      (Hope that makes sense)

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  7. I'm in the process of unsubbing but they STILL haven't got back to me (which is no suprise as they are well known for not communicating effectively with their unhappy customers). They had a problem with my payment and after over a week they still hadn't sorted it so I thought stuff this i'm unsubbing because I'm not prepared to pay (or not pay as the case has been!!!) £10 for absolutely diabolical customer service.

    Totally agree with you on the Becca product (and other raved about products) in the fact that they should have at least one common product in every box.

    hmmm Glossybox should read this post + comments! maybe they'll learn... or not..

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    1. I actually think GB make it very difficult to unsubscribe! I had 2 emails and had to click a lot of links to unsubscribe from their service - around 4 web pages one after the other going 'are you really really sure?' I found that kind of obnoxious.

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  8. Completely agree, and so glad to hear someone having the same views as me! In fact, a lot of you seem to feel the same!

    There are sooo many issues with GB that I couldn't even fit them in this comment box, but the main ones are:

    1. Crappy customer service and lack of feedback-taking. Interestingly, this month they don't appear to have done a 'what do you think of it?' post on Facebook...
    2. As you say, massive MASSIVE over-hyping. I'm one of the idiots who re-subbed after getting an email about their V Day box. Well, what a let down that was!
    3. The fact that they give bloggers special treatment, and better boxes.
    4. Totally agree with your response above as well - if they're going to give a Becca product, then EVERYONE should get it. This month it feels like everyone got a totally different box! More so than ever. If they want to do the tiered system, then they should reflect that in their pricing. So, say, £6.95 for a low tier box, £8.95 for a middle, and £10.95 for a top end box.

    I could go on, but I've already ranted my orange Murad-y coloured face off about them here: http://www.ladympresents.co.uk/glossybox-review-the-fashion-week-edition/

    Great post, and thanks for it. Now off to do some nice relaxing hand-sanitising, thanks to my amaaaazing Glossybox.

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    1. I actually read your post when I was finishing off mine yesterday and looking to see what other people were saying about GlossyBox on Twitter - and agreed with pretty much everything you said, both in your post and here. I don't necessarily think that their blogger/ambassador scheme is special treatment as such (in that they seem to get the same boxes us mere mortals get) but I do find it unnecessary to have one in the first place.

      But that's just me.

      Your mention of a tiered system is interesting too - and I would hope to see this one day from a beauty box - but GlossyBox seem so completely unwilling to take criticism well that they cannot be continually excused for their poor service. If they offer a beauty profile (which they did) then they must implement it, and not insult people by sending out different boxes with products they neither want nor can use.

      If they just sent out the same box or same core main product every month with small variations, then I doubt they'd be dealing with the continual shitstorm they get every month. I really don't get it anymore. You'd think that 7 months in they'd have got it by now.

      Delete
  9. I am well and truly over the whole beauty box thing! I will maybe take out a one off subscription if I see a box I really like and it is worth the money but other than that I'm done with them. I also didn't see what was particularly Valentinesesque about that box either! 'Because nothing says 'I love you' like being presented with the reminder that you're ageing.' - love it lol! x

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    1. You know, one of my favourite boxes was Feel Unique's offering, which was honestly priced, well thought-out and not over-the-top like GlossyBox, but they sadly made the decision to not continue issuing them. :( x

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  10. Thankfully i didn't subscribe to anyway. The one thing that drives me mad about Glossy Box from what i've seen, is they ignore people so much, they have ignored one of my friends a number of times when she was tweeting them as she never received her box etc. They also seem to ignore everyone on facebook! Really think they have this sort of idea that everyone should be happy with everything they do, no, they shouldn't, that's what it's like to be a business- unhappy and happy customers. Love your blog, wish you posted more often!

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    1. I agree. I have been ignored by GlossyBox countless times when I have tried to contact them regarding clarification of their beauty profile or policies and they have just never responded - but always made a point to respond to tweets saying the boxes were amazing.

      Delete
  11. Great post, and I agree with pretty much every comment. I have a few more things to add:

    Would we have allowed ourselves (like flies in the web of the beauty box industry), to get so caught up in it all if it weren't for the boxes themselves? It was a rare month that I got a product I will get more use out of than the boxes they came in. Would I have fallen into the web if I'd got products in a pastic bag, or a plastic bag in the bargain bins in a real store? I think not.

    No personal offence meant here Cami. I think you're brilliant, but would we have fallen for beauty boxes if our favourite gurus and bloggers weren't featuring them, and sometimes extolling their virtues? I have often thought that it must sometimes present a dilemma for the bloggers who write for beauty boxes, not in having to be positive as such, but maybe in not being able to be as negative or as expressively negative when talking about boxes that they write for, as opposed tos the ones they don't.

    What about the movable ('cause we're making it extra special girls') payment and delivery times? Take my money and sit on it for two weeks why don't you beauty box spiders? Even better, take my money and sit on it for three months and have a phone number that leads to a full voicelmail box, or a dead line, and never answer my emails Boudoir Prive/JolieBox. Their bullying and blackmail tactics were second to none. They pretty much said 'what would it take for you to stay with us?'

    Why can we never speak to a person over the phone about our beauty boxes? Surely not so they hope we'll give up trying to get an answer.

    How about we try to reengage our brains, (we're an intelligent bunch of women surely), and try a radical new approach: Buy things we like, or even that we have seen and think we'll like? I hear it's the next big thing in the beauty world!

    That was rather cathartic, forgive me!

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    1. Yours was a very interesting comment, and possibly one of the most difficult to respond to.

      Without blogger/social media exposure, I do agree that beauty boxes would not be half as popular - however, you have to look at it from my point of view as a guest blogger for one of these boxes, too - which you have put across very eloquently as your role of consumer.

      As my role as beauty box writer, I have no affiliation to Carmine besides writing for their blog - and occasionally reviewing a box (which is not something I have to do, more of a choice, which is why I have not reviewed every box). Hand on heart - my review system has always been honest as I would never, ever compromise my integrity, nor would I want to lie to anybody. Thankfully I have not been put in the position to warrant a negative review so far as I have enjoyed the products, but I will, as always, be honest. I only ever extol when I feel that it is necessary.

      To you it seems that perhaps my reviews are less expressly negative for Carmine, but in truth, I try to review everything within the same criteria - this GlossyBox post was the culmination of months and months of annoyance and dissatisfaction - which is why it appears as scathing as it sounds. When I write a post like this, it's much more emotive because I'm being emotive in it - whereas a review for me typically takes a more neutral tone whether I like or dislike the product.

      Does that make sense? It was so difficult to express what I'm trying to get at.

      I haven't tried to ring GB personally, but I have heard the stories about the dead phonelines. When I tried to cancel my Feel Unique box, I had to ring them. I waited on hold for 10 minutes before speaking to a guy who then asked for my email address - so even when you DO speak to someone, they don't always seem to have a clue what's going on.

      I think that the reason people do like the phenomenon and choose to spend the money on a subscription service rather than say, spending the money on a new product, is because it opens a wealth of new chances to try different product. The problem then becomes a kind of addiction, where people are scared to miss a good box and then feel unable to subscribe. I know when I unsubscribed from GB, I had to click around 4 separate links and wait for 2 confirmation emails, so the process was unnecessarily difficult.

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  12. Your posts always make me laugh. I never subscribed to beauty boxes as I'd rather spend the money on a product that I want but I have been sent two by the company.
    I do wonder whether anyone outside of the blog world actually subscribes to them - I've never seen them advertise or try to promote themselves to "real" people. Not that bloggers aren't real people but we're definitely more susceptible to hype and spending money on something like this. x

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    1. Hmm, you raise an interesting point! I haven't actually seen them marketed to the 'real' world so much - but the people I have spoken to it about outside of the blogging community seemed curious and interested - but then were instantly put off by the idea of the lottery and not knowing what you were going to get. x

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  13. I totally agree with what you have said.
    I wasn't that impressed with the Valentine's box and definitely wasn't impressed with this month's box. However I'm going to give it one last try but it's very likely that I will unsubscribe after next month's box. For me the novelty and excitement of beauty boxes is definitely starting to wear off!

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    1. It's funny because looking back on this post, I've unsubscribed from two boxes this month and I'm so far from regretful. I, like you, kept giving it one last try, but I'm glad I have gotten rid of them now! Some boxes are so inconsistent with the quality!

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  14. It's the cathartic one again!

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply Cami. I wasn't meaning you in particular when I talked about bloggers who write for/about boxes, and really just wanted to reflect on the dilemma there must be for bloggers who have an affiliation of any kind with a beauty box.

    I read and watch you as I enjoy hearing your views, and I don't think that you've compromised your integrity or anything like that. I was just thinking out loud that it must be tricky sometimes for people that's all, and not meaning for you.

    I hope that's made sense.

    You're the first beauty-tuber/blogger I turn to for tips and reviews, as I tend to like really similar things to you, and love your intelligent but quirky approach. You have great taste. Keep doing what you're doing. By the way I'm not normally anonymous when I comment on blogs, I just wanted to speak no holds barred, and didn't want Boudoir prive/Joliebox putting a horses heaed in my bed! :-)

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    1. You're welcome - I'm glad you enjoy my blog and videos and extra-super glad you don't think I've compromised my integrity! I do think that it is very difficult, and completely agree with you.

      Thanks for your lovely comment, and hopefully no horse head ;)

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  15. Cami, your post is spot on! Couldn't have said it better myself. Yet what am I doing.....giving GB one more month - I'm not sure why as apart from the Christmas box I've been disappointed every time.

    Like you I loved Feel Unique so wasn't happy they have cancelled the service. I have subscribed to a new box called SheSaid in the hope they will be good but the Beauty Boxes are starting to lose their novelty.

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    1. Haha, I did that every single month until I snapped! I just gave up, I would rather spend my money on other things rather than GlossyBox in particular. I do feel that as a company they are very inconsistent in comparison to others. Let me know how you get on with SheSaid! I'm curious :)

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    2. Thats the thing, I keep thinking of the money I've spent on Glossybox and how I could have bought something I really loved instead! pah! I will let you know how I find SheSaid - apparently it shipped today - fingers and toes crossed!

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  16. Oh my, the "red lipstick smeared over my madly cackling mouth" line was the funniest thing I read all day. You're just too funny! I was always on the fence about signing up for one of these subscription services but every time I view someone's YouTube video showing the contents of that month's box, I must say it is never anything particularly impressive. It does seem a bit of a steep price if you only like and use 1 or 2 of the items out of 12 months worth!

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    1. Haha, glad you enjoyed! I can only say I've truly enjoyed 2 different box companies so far - Feel Unique and Carmine - and both for very different reasons. The main thing was that both are/were (in the case of Feel Unique) consistent, dependable and their contents reflected that each month - nothing flashy one month and then a sachet the next, if you see what I mean!

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  17. Hi Cami,

    I came to the same conclusion with the beauty boxes and unsubscribed. When filling out the feedback form for Carmine, I mentioned I would prefer (and would be willing to pay more) for a more customised approach reflecting my skin type and beauty preferences. However, I got blasted by some other members saying I was being totally unrealistic as it would be too costly and time consuming.

    Since I do not want blue eyeliner, fake tan, bath salts, pink eyeshadow that makes me look like I've been punched in the eye, tiny half a face samples or sweeties...I thought it best not to be wasteful and just remove my subscriptions to the various boxes I was receiving.

    The one beauty box I do continue to receive is the Amarya Beauty Box..it's exactly what I want from a beauty box. The range is already determined to suit me, as it's all organic/natural and they send a full size product every month. Every single box has been great and I am able to use and try everything they include. Their customer service is excellent too. It's a real shame they are not more popular because it's a great deal and I suspect they won't continue it forever if they can't make it pay.

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