Saturday, May 30, 2015

Two Year Birchbox Anniversary & Haul

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you're probably aware that I'm a huge fan of Birchbox. I review my boxes religiously, frequently make amazing purchases from their shop, and get maybe a little too excited each time a new Limited Edition box launches. Heck, I even have a Birchbox T-shirt. Needless to say, I'm never afraid to show my love for a company that I think is pretty flippin' great, and Birchbox is perhaps at the top of my list. As of this month I've officially been subscribed for two whole years. That means 25 Birchboxes have graced my mailbox. 25 boxes worth of little treasures and disappointments. That being said, my Birchbox experience in these past two years has definitely extended beyond my monthly subscription, and I thought it might be nice to take a look back and share some of my favorite moments, features, and other Birchbox related things with you!

As a beauty blogger I've found Birchbox to be an indispensable resource. I'm constantly being introduced to new brands and products, many of which are up and coming or a bit more niche. While it's great to offer your two cents on the latest launches at Sephora or the drugstore, it's nice to be able to talk about products that garner less recognition. In addition to my monthly boxes, the limited edition boxes that Birchbox offers are truly incredible (the Lovely Day Birchbox and Vanity Affair Birchbox are two of my current favorites). You usually get an insane amount of value for the money you spend, and you always get introduced to a number of beautiful and interesting products you might not have stumbled upon otherwise. Some of my all-time favorite beauty products ever have been Birchbox discoveries, and I love being able to share them here on my blog!

Limited Edition Lovely Day Birchbox
Speaking of blogger friendliness, Birchbox has a whole campaign to connect with interested bloggers and offer them special opportunities and prizes called Birchbloggers. The Birchblogger program rolled out somewhere in the last two years, and I'm pretty sure I've been a member since it's inception. As a Birchblogger I've had the opportunity to go to New York for a special beauty lecture and to meet with some of the key players in the company, I've won free books to read and review on my blog, and I've even won products to give away! I've also met a ton of wonderful girls in the Birchblogger Facebook group, which is a great place to connect with other bloggers and share your recent posts, ask questions, and discuss your love of all things beauty.

If you aren't a blogger, there are still so many great perks to being a Birchbox subscriber. First off, for $10 each month you get a box of 5 deluxe product samples specially curated to fit your own unique profile. You are also guaranteed to never receive the same sample twice (in two years it only has happened to me once and I got a 100 points as an apology before my box even arrived). After you try everything in your box out you can go onto the Birchbox website and review your products for ten reward points a piece. That means you can earn 50 points for each Birchbox you receive. 100 points is equal to $10 store credit in the Birchbox shop, which basically means for every two months you subscribe and review, you'll get $10 back to use towards purchasing anything you want! Honestly, what other beauty subscription company offers you such an awesome rewards system? You also earn 1 point for every $1 you spend in the shop, and 50 points for each friend you refer.

My April 2015 Birchbox
Speaking of rewards, in the past two years Birchbox also rolled out their Aces program, which is essentially a VIP designation you achieve from earning 500 points in a year. 10 months of religiously reviewing your samples will guarantee you Ace status, but you can also get there quicker by making purchases in the shop and referring friends. Aces get all kinds of special perks, like free shipping on every order, Ace exclusive sales, and a $15 shop credit to use at your 1 year Ace anniversary. Just as an example, check out this post about the last Ace Exclusive sale.

In addition to being able to easily rack up store credit, Birchbox also is always emailing subscribers promotional codes to get a percent off their order, or bonus points with a purchase. For my two year anniversary I got a code for 25% off my entire purchase in the shop, which I totally made good on! Here's a quick look at what I picked up.

Birchbox has totally got me obsessed with all things Rifle Paper Co., so I couldn't resist this gorgeous floral patterned desk pad. I'm totally an organizational freak, and I love making lists and writing out my tasks for the week. I especially liked that this has no dates on it, so I can use it as frequently or infrequently as I want without worrying about wasting pages.

Birchbox also clued me in to Smith & Cult nail polish, which has certainly got the most stunning packaging I've ever seen. I've also heard great things about the formula, so I figured while I could get it at a discount I had to try it out! I picked up the shade Psycho Candy, which I thought would be a fun bright to wear this summer.

Speaking of enabling purchases, the other two items I got were totally based on blogger raves. After hearing so many good things about the Teapigs liquorice and peppermint tea on Essie Button's channel I decided I needed to try it. And Sammi at Sammi the Beauty Buff has gotten me eyeing the Perlier White Almond Body Butter for months now.

I also got a mystery sample pack (you can add them on for free with any purchase of $35 or more) with Miss Jessie's Super Sweetback Treatment and theBalm's Staniac. The Miss Jessie's is geared towards curly, frizzy hair, which is the exact opposite of what I've got, and I already have a Staniac sample at home, so I felt a little meh about this. However, you can't really complain that much about a freebie, and I can certainly pass them along to someone else who'll better appreciate them.

Another cool feature that's come into play in recent years is Birchbox Plus. Every month Birchbox selects a few special full-sized items that you can add to your box at a discounted price. They usually sell out pretty fast, so it's important to reserve yours quickly after the email announcements go out. There have been some really gorgeous jewelry pieces, bags, notebooks, candles, and more that have been offered as plus items, and it's always fun to see what the next thing will be. Speaking of full-sized items, the latest Birchbox offering is a $20 monthly upgrade to have two full-sized beauty products added to your monthly box. I personally have decided not to opt into this, just because I'd rather spend my money on a full-sized product of my choosing than take a gamble with my $20.

Birchbox Plus Item - Rifle Paper Co. + Birchbox Tote
Now, I know that there are plenty of people out there who have different feelings towards their Birchbox experience, and I will admit that they aren't always perfect. Have I loved every single sample I've gotten? Definitely not. But I see my Birchbox as a means of discovery, and don't expect to fall in love with every single thing I try. Are all of the samples great sizes or incredibly valuable? No, not always. But I have never had a box that was worth less than the $10 I paid for it. On average I would say my boxes range from $20 to $30 in value. Have they goofed up on orders I've place from the shop? You betcha. In fact, I've had missing products from my packages on more than one occasion. However, the Customer Service team has always been excellent and will immediately send out a replacement for missing or damaged items. Sometimes they'll even grant you apology points in the shop for the inconvenience.

I also cannot stress the importance of updating your beauty profile enough. If you aren't happy with the kinds of products you're getting, look at what you've chosen. Be selective and check fewer options for things like your favorite product types. You can always go in and change things if you need a break from a particular type of product. Also, if you want a better idea of what types of products are sampled to different "beauty styles" you should definitely check out this page!

Honestly, I feel like I probably could just ramble on and on about Birchbox for ages. My decision to push that subscribe button two years ago was probably one of the best things that I did for myself, especially since it also was a huge influence in my decision to start blogging in the first place. When I consider how long it takes me to earn $10 in a day, and how much joy my box brings me for an entire month, I feel like the investment is totally worth it. If you're not already a Birchbox subscriber and are interested in joining, I would be ever grateful if you used my referral link. I am also happy to answer any questions that you have, or offer more of my opinions/experiences if it would be helpful to you!

That being said, here's to another year of Birchbox! I can't wait to see what awesome things the next one has in store.