*UPDATE [Nov 7, 2015]: I’ve been getting several emails from friends/readers about recent problems in ParcelPuppy service. They tried it based on my recommendation before and it worked fine, but there seems to be a problem recently where they were not responsive even after weeks of inquiry regarding request and orders. I emailed them over a week ago regarding this problem since I’ve been recommending them, but did not get a reply. Until further notice, I would recommend using other oversea services instead.
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I’m in US, but I love pretty makeup, so I don’t know why a lot of high-end brands only release the prettiest products as Asia Exclusive. In addition to makeup, Korean skincare is also a big trend right now. While some brands such as Tony Moly, Etude House or Laneige are available from big retailers, there are a ton of brands that are much harder to get in US. So far, I’ve been getting all my Asia LE makeup (and older Guerlain meteorites LE) from Germ1123 and brushes from CDJapan. I got my Asian skincare from a variety of random sources like kollectionk, Amazon and recently EssentielleBeauty.
I trust them with the products being legit, and there are a lot of other
somewhat sketchy websites where you can order from also. However, they either have limited selections, high markup or expensive/slow shipping. I figured it was just part of the hassle until I was contacted by Rose, co-founder of the startup ParcelPuppy, last month with the promise to make oversea shopping much easier. It is basically a personal shopper service that allows you to get whatever you want, as long as there’s a store that carries it in Seoul (Korea), Paris (France) or New York City (USA). There is a $10 shopper’s fee but no markup on the product or shipping.
She asked me if I wouldn’t mind doing a post on ParcelPuppy, and I said that I only feel comfortable blogging about things I have personally tried. I was offered a discount on the service so I finally ordered some Moonshot products I’ve been curious about. Disclosure: Whether a product/service was provided for free/sponsored or bought by me have no influence on my opinion of the product. I was a little skeptical about the service since it’s currently in its Beta stage, and grilled her about all the details for weeks before I ordered. My order has arrived and been inspected, so now it’s time for a review about the service!
Basically if you want some products from New York, Korea or France, submit a request with the name, location and picture/link of the items you wanted. A few days later, you will be assigned a personal shopper that you can communicate with to make sure the product is correct, ask to help you get samples (as I did with Moonshot) or make sure to take extra care with fragile items (so your Guerlain Meteorites doesn’t arrive with 1/3 of the jar crushed as I did when I ordered from Hong Kong…). Anyways, you can see the request I submitted below. Once they found your product a check out button will appear:
Since the two products I want are from the same brand, I filled out one request for both. I was a little worried about whether I should’ve added more information or did it correctly, but a few days after, I got an email notification that my item was found. During the process, you can edit your request, see the status of your request and see the shopper assigned to you once that is available. Once the item was found it was a pretty fast process, I left a note to my personal shopper to include samples if there are any and she responded in a day. Once I paid, the item was shipped within a day. Aside from the local price of the item, you pay a $10 shopper’s fee and shipping:
- Basic shipping is <$10 and take weeks.
- 3 day shipping is $20-$30 depending on size/weight of the item.
I chose the 3 day shipping, and 3 days it was! After I paid on Friday, the checkout button was replaced with a tracking number the next day and I got my package on Monday. It was through USPS and did require a signature.
I opened up the box, everything was well packaged. The shopper managed to get me two samples from the Moonshot store and included them as well as some look cards, yay! So that was the process, pretty easy with accessible customer service. If I wasn’t offered a discount, would I use ParcelPuppy again? Well, that depends on the products I want:
- Option to get 3 day shipping, which really is 3 days.
- Option to leave special request regarding better packaging, samples if available, or second opinion on products when lacking information online.
- Unlimited selection, well, except by location. I’m sure you can get products from 10 different Korean brands in one haul if you wanted and there’s a smaller chance of OOS since the shoppers buy them from physical stores in Korea (or France or NYC depending on your request).
- There is a $10 shopper’s fee plus shipping in addition to the price of the item. If the markup of the products you want plus shipping is less than $20, or less than $30 if you chose 3 day shipping, then ParcelPuppy will probably be more expensive.
I am spoiled by Sephora with the free shipping and samples with every order. Most of the foreign website don’t offer samples and have a limited selection of products. Because personal shoppers shop instore, I can converse with them and they might be able to get samples of things that I otherwise can’t try/get. If I just want some Innisfree or Etude House stuff then even Amazon have them and I’ll probably order from there.
However, if I want an Asian product that I can’t find online (through non-sketchy source) or want some Asia Exclusive LE without the $20+ markup some retailers charge, I would go with ParcelPuppy. In short, it is worth a try depending on what products you want (Asian Exclusive Guerlain Meteorites that you want to have packaged extra carefully, Korean skincare with samples they give out in store, the real European version of the European skincare products instead of the reformulated US version, Laduree Rose Petal Blush in whatever color you want straight from France/Paris etc). From Sephora France website:
Since I’m most likely to use the service for Asian Exclusives and some of the products I’m interested comes from Japan, I asked Rose what are my options and she said “We can get Asian exclusives in Seoul, and we actually can get stuff from Japan as well.” So, if you’ve been eyeing this Givenchy Prisme Libre, Edition Couture, currently only available in Australia and Japan…… jus’sayin…