Monday

Review: Born Kawaii subscription box


When I heard about Born Kawaii on Twitter, I was mega excited. I love anything cute and quirky, so naturally I'm a fan of Japanese kawaii, and this subscription box sounded right up my street. I was very kindly sent a box to review, which I was impatiently anticipating.

Now, before I start my review, I will point out that I've discussed this review with the owner of Born Kawaii who has asked me to be completely honest and I'm afraid it's not going to be a positive review. I've never posted a negative review before, but I have been tweeting about Born Kawaii in the run up to receiving my box and I know there are readers expecting a review from me. There are three issues that I have a problem with when it comes to Born Kawaii, which I will address in my review: The value of the box, misleading partnerships and the management of criticism from customers.


The value of the box

As I said, I was gifted my box, for which I'm very grateful. However, to purchase a subscription, it is £16.99 a month plus £2.80 p&p, so a total of £19.79 per month. For that price, I would expect at least £20 worth of products. Let me explain how these mystery subscription boxes should work:

As an example, imagine a subscription box brand purchases £10 worth of products at wholesale price with a retail value of £20. They sell the box at £15, meaning they make £5 profit and the customer saves themselves £5. It's a win-win situation.

With that in mind, let's take a look at what I received in my box, along with links to other UK online retailers where you can see their retail price.
It also came with a button badge, which tend to go at about £1 online when bought individually. So, adding that up, we come to a total of £8.76, which is almost exactly half the cost of the box, excluding p&p. If I had been a paying customer, I would certainly not have been very happy at all. 

I understand that it's a mystery box, and some people will end up with items they don't want or like. Let me make this very clear: I love the items I got. The food items are fantastic, I like the quirkiness of the miniatures and I adore anything with alpacas on. The problem here is not the content of the box itself, but the value. To justify paying £16.99 a month, customers should receive at least that value in product.

Misleading partnerships
On the Born Kawaii site, at the bottom of the page, it lists "Born Kawaii partners", including such established brands as Sanrio and Candy Hero. I will admit that I assumed this meant they were working with, and endorsed by, these brands. In actual fact, Born Kawaii have since admitted that they are not affiliated with these brands, and at least two of the companies have spoken out to explain that they are not linked in any way. This concerns me greatly as I find it both distrustful and misleading.

Management of criticism
My third issue is the management of the (quite understandable) uproar that has been coming from paying customers. A friend of the owner posted a positive review on her blog and some commenters have been leaving their disappointed, frustrated and angry comments. Unfortunately, Born Kawaii have responded to these comments under their own brand name in an inappropriate and unprofessional way. In one case, they ended a comment with "k thanks bye". I expect a brand to compose themselves with professionalism and dignity in sticky situations, rather than leave defensive and angry comments in return.

Having said all this, I have been following the owner on Twitter for a while and "know" her, in the online sense that bloggers know each other. Having spoken to her since this issue arose, I honestly believe that she didn't mean this to happen. I definitely don't think she set out to scam anyone, and I'm sure this has been a huge learning curve. Born Kawaii have issued a statement on Facebook, assuring unhappy customers that they will receive refunds and that the next box will be better. I really hope it is, but I have to wait and see. As it stands, I'm afraid I can't recommend them. Hopefully we'll see an improvement in the next few months. 

12 comments :

  1. What a pity, as the idea for the box is a great one! Hopefully the owner will sort it out and get some better partnerships to provide better value for money!

    On a side note- Hello Panda biscuits are DE-LICIOUS! x

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    1. It is such a great idea, so I really hope it does look up.

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  2. I miss Hello Panda! Haven't had any of those for a long time! :)
    www.faithfullymarissa.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I love Japanese biscuits so much!

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  3. I have huge respect for you for posting this review and also for speaking to them before you did so. It is such a lovely idea so hopefully they'll improve their value for money. I know I for one would be super interested if they did.

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    1. I would be too, so I'll be keeping my eyes peeled to see how they move on from here.

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  4. That's a shame it's such low value as it's a great idea. With the beauty boxes, even if I ended up not using any of the products I always ended up feeling at least okay about it because I knew I'd saved something silly like £40 on the retail value, and even my food boxes I save around a fiver. Wouldn't be happy at all to be actively losing money, especially when I don't live all that far from some specialist Japanese stores!

    Nicola // pink-confetti.co.uk

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    1. It is a real shame! I'm jealous that you live near Japanese stores!

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  5. Second bad review I've read of this box. I'd be seething if I had paid for this!
    Megan x | MeganRoisinn

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  6. The next box will be good because more than likely she will over spend to make it look good to trick other people in to ordering. But she won't be able to keep it up because she is not set up to run this sort of service. She buys things at RRP prices and made born kawaii to get attention from other bloggers and hopes everyone will like her for it. She has no idea what she is doing, she with her bf had another box (that they now deleted) that failed because they buy everything at RRP prices and still owe a lot of people a lot of money so deleted the Facebook page and Twitter for neek box. It is a nice idea but this girl is deluded and thinks she is something she is not. Saying thanks for this review on Twitter she is clearly a few nickles short of a dollar.

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    1. Yep, I think the problem is that everything was bought at RRP and sold for a profit. I heard about the other box too.

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