A few weeks ago, I dropped a beauty bomb, when I shared an Instagram pic of an entire beauty haul which featured 30 items, all priced at $1 each (that’s about R14!). I NEVER shop internationally because I fear the risk of losing my parcel and the threat of ridiculous customs, but when I discovered Shop Miss A, I knew I had to throw some money at it and of course, share the experience with you!
* This may get a little technical, but bear with me!
Shop Miss A is an online store that sells cosmetics, accessories, underwear and even jewelry, priced at $1. Yep, EVERYTHING that you see, is $1! In an effort to make everything $1, the online store doesn’t do any sort of marketing and relies purely on word-of-mouth, social-media and online influencers to share their affordable treasures. They even offer worldwide shipping at a flat rate of $9.95 (to South Africa) which works out to be just under R150.
Here’s the thing, as I mentioned, I had never ordered from an international store, so was really skeptical and I suppose, nervous. However, shortly after discovering Miss A, I was contacted by Postbox Courier to trial their service. Wondering what they’re all about? Well, Postbox Courier is a simple and unique solution that helps you shop from all of your favourite international stores, while saving on shipping costs by giving online shoppers a personal address overseas.
I have seen a few reviews of Postbox Courier and I really think it’s a cool concept if you’re keen on shopping overseas, especially if you’re a beauty hoarder like myself. However, I don’t think I have seen a review of the service where they compared Postbox Courier to direct shipping, probably because very few online stores offer it, like Miss A. So I set out my own experiment – I placed two separate orders, one that would ship directly to my house from Miss A valued at about $25 (around R400) and later, placed a second order to the value of $35 (around R500), that would first ship to my US based address, supplied by Postbox Courier and then ship to my home address.
In both cases, Miss A took about a week to process my order – which is quite lengthy when compared to local online stores like Zando, Superbalist and even Spree. After the order was processed and shipping had been confirmed, I was supplied with a tracking number, to keep an eye on where my parcel is or could be.
Shipping via Postbox Courier
As soon as Miss A notified me that my order was being shipped, to the supplied US-based address, I logged into my account and alerted Postbox Courier that I had a parcel on its way in. Within 4 days, my parcel had arrived at the US-address and almost immediately Postbox Courier sent me a notification telling me so. It was just a matter of me logging in, paying the shipping and handling fee via PayPal and waiting for my order to arrive.
Surprisingly, Postbox Courier only takes 3-5 days to ship internationally. WAIT, WHAT!? That means that within 2 weeks of placing my second order from Miss A, it was already on its way to me. The best part was the huge surprise I got when my order arrived so soon – I seriously did not expect such an outstanding service. My experience was pain-free, I didn’t need to follow up and had my order arrived straight at my door, by my usual courier man.
** Thankfully, I did not have to pay any custom fees, but Postbox Courier does not include this in their fee.
Direct Shipping with Miss A
Not many online stores make the bold move of offering worldwide shipping, so I raise my hat to Miss A, who have taken on that task while offering it at such an affordable rate. However, this is where things get a little disheartening. My first order was processed and confirmed to have been shipped almost 3,5 weeks before my second one (shipped by Postbox Courie) but arrived 3weeks AFTER delivery from Postbox Courier. (2 months after placing the order.) When I contacted Miss A to notify them that my tracking number hadn’t updated since the 9 of June, they sent me a generic email basically saying that it was up to me to contact whoever (international shipping people or something like that) to get an international tracking number, or a local tracking number. In other words, it was out of their hands and they couldn’t help me.
So when we compare the two shipping methods, here’s what you need to know.
- Took 5 days (including weekend) to deliver, after receiving parcel and payment
- Cost a whopping R750 for an order only worth R500 – yes, that was pricey, I agree!
- I did not have a customs fee
- The package was delivered straight to my door
- Took 2 months to deliver my parcel
- Cost R150 for direct shipping
- I was charged a customs fee of R162
- The package had to be collected from the post office
Postbox Courier offers a much more reliable and convenient shipping method but it is going to cost you. However, had I been shopping with a place like Sephora where I am spending a lot more money for exclusive brands, I’d be more open to paying those sorts of prices to guarantee the safe delivery of my order. However, Miss A is only selling products to the value of $1 and it seems a bit odd to be paying more for shipping than the total cost of my order. Thus, if I am shopping with Miss A again, I am more likely to do direct shipping and save an extra buck BUT if I ever want to ship something fast, and be guaranteed to receive it, especially something of great value, well.. then Postbox Courier is undoubtedly my guy!
Registration is free and there are no monthly membership, handling or storage fees. Check out www.postbox-courier.com, a South African online retail logistics service provider that saves its customers up to 70% of their shipping and courier costs.
Want to see some of the things that I got?
I am going to be sharing my favourite finds in next week’s #365BeautyTips, so do keep an eye out for mini-reviews and which products I completely adore from Miss A. In the meantime, here’s a look at just some of the products I picked up.