Subscription Services: Worth it? Or nah?

Okay y’all… easily one of the most asked questions I get is whether or not I feel that my subscription services are worth it; “it” being different things to different people i.e. money, time, hassle, etc. The long and short of it (for me) is no. And here’s why…

Over the last year I have played around with a few different subscription services. I was even invited to rep for some of them (but declined for a myriad of reasons). Those of you who’ve been following for a while know that I have subscribed to Goddess Provisions the longest. To see what I’m talking about, click here. This is also the subscription that’s been the least popular among my friends and family simply because it’s off the beaten path which made some people uncomfortable. Despite my having enjoyed the holistic products and trying something that was new and different, I found that some of the fun was taken out of it, replaced instead by self-consciousness. Being questioned about the products in that snide, judgmental way we have of asking about things we don’t approve of made me suddenly twelve-years-old again wanting approval I didn’t/don’t need even as my twenty-something self told me this was silly. Full disclosure, y’all. I never said it was pretty or perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, please. I didn’t discontinue my service with this company because I was embarrassed. Quite the contrary, in fact. Both my husband and I enjoyed getting the teas, crystals, vegan snacks, and essential oils very, VERY much and gladly shared with our friends what was sent to us each month. I could not say enough nice things about the company, their product quality and variety, not to mention their wonderful customer service. What it came down to was the fact that we were getting products faster than we could use them. My cabinets are still full of teas, herbs, soaks, and salts that we’ve received from our monthly subscriptions. I would still highly recommend this subscription to my yogis, my crystal babes, chakra balancers, vegan warriors, and anyone who is interested in trying something different. It’s totally worth every penny, imho. We just needed a break. Who knows? We may find our way back to it soon enough.

The next subscription services I tried were really both around the same time. So we’ll just start with FabFitFun. This came highly recommended by just about anyone I spoke to about it. The internet agreed by way of many of the youtubers and bloggers I follow and look up to. This subscription is pretty pricey but it advertises full size products and it only comes out 4 times a year so you could argue that it balances out. Was it worth it? No. Not for me. Some of you may feel that I didn’t give this a fair shake seeing as how I didn’t continue my subscription for an entire year’s worth of products. That’s fine. The fact is, I didn’t need to pay for 3 more boxes to know that there wasn’t enough value in it for me. And I did technically receive two boxes from this company (which  because they send you a trial box when you sign up so you can get a taste for what it is they offer.

Yes, some of their products are awesome and yes, there’s some truth in saying that you can expect that there’s a “dud in each box” when it comes to subscription services. But I don’t want to pay for a handful of things I might use or like. I can make my own face scrubs so I don’t need some fancy scrubber gadget that can (but failed to) sync up to my phone to tell me how old my skin seems. I don’t need another purse I’m not going to use even it it’s supposedly a bargain compared to the designer retail value. And really, possibly the biggest reason this was so easy for me to walk away from, is the simple fact that I prefer to find my own deals. This service wasn’t offering me anything that I don’t do for myself regularly. It’s great if you want to take the guesswork out of trying what’s hot on the market. But if you’re willing to put in a little effort and actually go out and find the products, you may be surprised at how much you can save all on your own. Again, just my thoughts.

And then there was one… OwlCrate. Where my bibliophiles at?<– Don’t hate me. It felt wrong as soon as I typed it out. But here we are. I have wanted a book subscription service for years. No exaggeration necessary. I’ve done research on which ones were best received, quality vs quantity, pricing, etc. All my research pointed to OwlCrate. Like FabFitFun, I did not receive a full year’s worth of products from this company; not because I didn’t like the products or find value in the service. I take full responsibility in this one not hitting the right note in my house. While I am a loyal book nerd and unabashed lover of YA literature (keep your negativity to yourself, please), I found that I didn’t need the little extras that came with this subscription. I thought I did. But I didn’t.

I love that it’s an artist’s game right now with so many mediums and markets available to us. I will display the hand-painted, wooden bookmark from one such artist proudly on my bookcase alongside the stickers and pins that I’ve received from OwlCrate. But I wouldn’t buy these thing for myself unless I really, really wanted them. And I think that’s kind of where they get you with these things, ya know? I could justify it at first because each book is signed with a letter from the author and an exclusive cover just for OwlCrate. However, the more I thought about it, I’d happily pay a bit more just for a signed book from an author I really cherished than to pay for a book and an author I might like along with a handful of small extras that don’t do anything more for me than sit on my shelves. Again, it’s just one of those things that boils down to what I find value in personally. Do I love books? Yes. Do I love bookish goodies? Yes. Would I trustingly pay for someone to pick them for me blindly? Turns out, I wouldn’t.

So if you’re on the fence about trying subscription service, here are a couple tips and tricks that I found most helpful on my journey:

(1) Do your research. Find someone IRL who has personal experience with the subscription you’re interested in. Being able to ask questions from friends and coworkers about the services I was looking into was what really swayed me one way or another when it came to signing up. The power of a personal review is not to be trifled with. Trust me.

(2) Less is more. It’s so easy to get swept up in the hype and just sign up for all the things. But it adds up so quickly. They might get you with a seemingly reasonable price tag up front. But trying to keep up with what’s popular or on brand in the moment is not only a waste of your resources, it’s exhausting. Don’t believe me? Swing by your local thrift store and see how overrun they are with the millions of Ipsy bags people have donated or thrown away. *no offense to Ipsy*

(3) Be honest. Ask yourself if these are products you are actually using or you’re just in it for the gram. What I mean by this is, find a service that will actually serve your needs. And then dive in. Don’t be afraid to try something new that you know you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself. Or if you find yourself spending your precious dollars on specific things consistently, see if there’s a service out there that could make your money work a little harder so you don’t have to. And when it’s time to take a break, don’t be afraid to walk away.  “It’s not you, it’s me,” or maybe it’s both of us and that’s okay.

Best of luck to those of in search of a subscription service. And until next time, I wish you all good things. Always.

xo

 

-C

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