Why Birchbox have lost me as a customer

Since I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing about my holidays, I’ll interrupt the travel posts with a little rant about Birchbox. Now, you’ll see from my blog that I rarely post anything negative. I’m a very positive person, and prefer to tell you about things I do and things I love. But for two months in a row now I’ve been annoyed with Birchbox.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with beauty subscription boxes in general if I’m honest. My first subscription, a good couple of years ago now, was with GlossyBox. I remember at the time (this was before I’d even considered blogging myself), there was a vast difference between the contents of the GlossyBoxes that bloggers and a select few received, and the contents the majority got. I was always one of the unlucky ones, and I think it was one month in which some received Clarins and the other Weleda (or along those lines), that I decided I’d pack it in. Not that there’s anything wrong with Weleda, but the difference in value between the two variations of that box was ridiculous.

I would like to point out though that I did trial GlossyBox again recently and things seemed to have evened out – they’ve also produced some fantastic collaboration boxes, such as the one with Harvey Nichols, and there’s a NARS one coming up which will be a must get. On that note, I strongly recommend you register you interest for it here. Pssst… if you do, it’d be nice if you use my referral code here so I can earn free boxes.

Seriously, look at this awesome box…


So anyway, I subscribed to BirchBox. My thoughts on the Birchboxes I’ve received have been mixed, some months I’ve been tempted to cancel, but have just been too lazy to. Now is most definitely the time.

For October I received the Back To Basics box which was, quite frankly, the dullest beauty box I have ever received. Boring contents, boring packaging, just boring. Although, it did what it said on the tin – it contained basics. But it wasn’t until I saw on social media people raving about the contents of their Birchboxes that I realised there had been two boxes available in October – some people received the Basics box, and some received a much more exciting collaboration box with Stylist. I just put it down to bad luck, until I saw comments from others on the Birchbox Facebook page. Apparently, subscribers were able to select between the Basics box and the Stylist box. News to me, and I clearly wasn’t the only one. Now I’m normally really on top of things like this, so it seemed odd to me that I’d miss an email, but whatever.


Image from www.birchbox.co.uk

But last week, I saw a blogger friend (you can see her thoughts on the SkinnyDip x BirchBox here) post about the November Birchbox, a collaboration with a brand I love, SkinnyDip (remember their awesome Simpsons range?). In addition to the beauty box, there was apparently an option to add a SkinnyDip phone case (which I actually would like) for £4 (a great deal, since SkinnyDip phone cases are usually £12 plus). Unable to see how to add this to my order, I emailed Birchbox enquiring, and also pointing out my disappointment with the October box.

Now, I’ll be honest, I’m used to companies providing pretty good customer service. So I was expecting a response along the lines of, ‘sure, we’ll add it to your order’. Pretty much what you’d expect right? I wasn’t asking for anything for free, but just to be able to purchase something at the price others were able to purchase it for. I also made sure I had contacted them before my box was dispatched so the addition could easily be made.

But the response I received was ‘we apologise that on this occasion you have missed out – we hope you will still be able to enjoy your Birchbox!’. It was a little more elaborate than that – it detailed that I should look at their social media, and if I were subscribed to the newsletter I would have known about it with instructions as to how to subscribe. Now, especially as I have received emails from Birchbox previously, I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t down to receive the newsletter – with every other shop I’ve purchased from I’ve been automatically updated, or asked if I want to be. Whether my settings have somehow changed, I don’t know – if they have been they weren’t changed by me. But that’s not the point, really. If an email is advising an already subscribing customer that they need to make a selection, that email should go out to EVERY SINGLE SUBSCRIBER regardless of whether they have opted to receive the newsletter. Edited to add that this morning (the day after this was posted) I actually received a random promotional email from Birchbox…

Besides, I hadn’t actually missed the information this time, I just couldn’t work out how as an existing subscriber to add it to my order. This was never explained to me. I presume it was in the email I wasn’t sent.


Moving on, I received my Birchbox today. I received the box on the right in the above promotional picture. Of the products pictured I received a sample of Notting Hill Femme from English Laundry (not the usual kind of scent I go for, but still rather nice), a Lord & Berry pencil in ‘Silhouette’ (I’m a fan of white eyeliner so this will get used – edited to add this in fact a clear lipliner), and a small Trilogy Make Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm (not tried a cleanser like this before). In substitution of the Living Proof, Ren and Cowshed products pictured in the promotional images I got Beauty Protector Beauty Cream Hand & Body Moisturiser (I never use this kind of product), Delarom Acquacomfort Cream (no opinion on this product) and So Susan Featherlash mascara (generic beauty box filler but mascara is always handy). It’s a shame, I’d have liked to try Living Proof and Cowshed products. But it’s ok, I understand by now that not everyone receives the same contents and I’m not complaining.

But do you know what I was looking forward to receiving? The SkinnyDip shell bag. It appears that the shell bag actually doesn’t come with the box (correct me if I’m wrong?), in which case I find the above promotional picture which appears on the Birchbox site pretty misleading. And it also begs the question as to how, aside from the shell print on the box itself, this is really much of a collaboration with SkinnyDip? Previous Birchbox collaborations (such as that with Sophia Webster, which contained a cute purse) have had items inside which are relevant, so it isn’t unrealistic to have expected a SkinnyDip item inside. Or was that collaborative item the phone case which I was unable to purchase? Or maybe the discount code they provided (£10 off a £24 spend)?

I actually loved the little purse from the aforementioned box…


As I said at the start of this post, I’m not usually one to complain. And from looking at the Birchbox Facebook page, and the reviews for the October box, I am by no means the only one feeling this way. I really am disappointed with the customer service I have received from Birchbox, and I think they need to review their treatment of their existing subscribers.

And so, that’s me done with Birchbox. I’m now waiting on the rather high priced but highly raved about Cohorted box, so we’ll see how that one goes! I’ve also splurged on the Pusheen box which I’m really excited for!

I’d love to hear of any subscription box recommendations, not necessarily beauty! Link me to your reviews, or just comment with ones you like or dislike.

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

1 Comment

  1. November 12, 2015 / 12:28 pm

    Totally agree with you!! I was so disappointed at the lack of anything skinny dip related whatsoever! When my subscription runs out after December I won’t be repurchasing! Great post! 🙂 xx

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