So if you’re a maven (or if you just read Julep’s facebook page) you’ll be aware that August 2014 is the month that shall live in Julep infamy. Julep has been experiencing more issues than the National Geographic and their ways of dealing with those problems have caused even more.
So before I get into the maven box, I’m going to do a quick review of Julep’s Truth or Dare Vanish Mystery Box. I actually had no intention of getting a mystery box. And it came about as a result of one of Julep’s (now commonplace) errors. Julep had a red marker sale in which I placed an order for a few assorted items for myself and a couple of gifts. According to my Julep account, the order is placed, my checking confirms it was charged and I have a shipping notice. Each week the dates on the shipping notice change. Almost a month goes by and I decide it’s time to call. Apparently, my order just never shipped. Despite, being placed, charged and receiving a shipping notice, someone just decided never to send it and their computer system decided to just cover that lazy dude’s tracks.
Since I was so patient in waiting for my box, by now, a few of the items I ordered are sold out. One was the Vanish drops that I had picked out as a gift. I noticed there was a Truth or Dare mystery box that included it and I was told they couldn’t split it up. So I swapped my missing polishes and Vanish drops for the mystery box. I figured I’d guarantee myself the item I wanted to gift and maybe pick up some other things to add to the package (or for myself).
So enough boring backstory, and let’s get to the mystery box:
VANISH TRUTH OR DARE MYSTERY BOX:
Vanish Cuticle Softener & Remover: (Retail $18.00/Maven Price: $14.40)
Description: “This conditioning formula quickly removes overgrown cuticles, clearing the way for a cleaner, prettier mani (or pedi). Over time, you’ll notice a dramatic decrease in cuticle regrowth.”
I own this and really enjoy the product. Not only does it remove cuticles but helps with any nail stains you might have. This item was the reason I purchased this box.
Cleanup Tool: (Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Description: “Designed to clean under nails and wipe polish off skin.”
I already own this so it’s being added to the nail kit I’m gifting.
Julep Color Fan: (Retail $8.00/Maven Price: $6.40)
Description: “Take a spin on the color wheel while organizing your favorite colors! Twenty-two nail spoons in a convenient fan to swatch your collection.”
I purchase nail swatches on Amazon for much cheaper and the shape on them is a bit better than these and they are easier to move around. To keep my collection uniform, I’m going to add these to that nail gift I am putting together for my friend.
Fiore: (Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Description: Espresso brown crème
I already own this one so I’m adding it to my gift pile.
Tatiana: (Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Description: Golden burnt orange microglitter
Tatiana has been a staple in the last few mystery boxes, so I’m guessing Julep is trying to unload this shade. I don’t own it, but it just doesn’t work for my complexion so I’ll be gifting it to someone who can pull it off.
Valerie: (Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Description: Teal with iridescent microglitter
I own this one and have worn it a few times. I’m a sucker for teal and this has a lovely micro-shimmer. Another one for the gift package.
Brielle: (Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Description: Deep autumn orange crème
Finally, an item for me! I don’t have this polish or anything close to it. Oranges are tough for me, but this deep shade looks great with my vampire complexion and it’s a perfect color for fall.
The cost on the Mystery box was $24.99 and it guaranteed $100 worth of products. The retail value came out to just under that at $96.00 and the maven retail was $76.80. I can’t tell you exactly what I paid since I swapped out missing items for it. I think maybe I got $2 off the regular price when swapping my products for their red marker value. I think the box is nice for $24.99, but I do think Julep should have hit the $100 they promised. If anything throw in some buffer blocks or a buffer sticks.
Mystery boxes are a great option for the folks building their collections or who aren’t mavens and want to try some new colors. For folks like me with a Julep hoard, it’s mostly going to be repeats. I got a lot of nice items for my gift pack and a polish for myself so I think I did pretty well.
Now moving on to the August Maven Box and the Wanderlust collection. Now this is where we get into the real drama. It seems that the super popular August collection became the catalyst for an epic Julep meltdown. From the start, entire boxes and products were sold out within hours of the window opening. And from there on it was all downhill.
The Wanderlust collection was filled with bright colors that really were more Indian/Sari inspired. I was super disappointed to find that once again the Modern Beauty box featured an old item. This time it was the eye palette that had been featured in all the maven boxes just a few months back. Since I had some jules I opted to use them toward Julep’s special Mani-versary box that featured Queen Anne, their anniversary polish and a few other items. Once again I opted for a choice that would allow me to gift a few things and keep a polish for myself.
Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum: (Retail $28.00/Maven Price: $22.40)
(Photo from Julep.com)
Description: “Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum’s secret weapon to transform dry and damaged cuticles almost overnight. Plus, get visibly stronger, smoother nails with fewer ridges and less splitting and brittleness in only 2-3 weeks.
For some reason I forgot to take an individual pic of this item, so I grabbed one from the Julep site. I already own this so it’s going into the gift package. I do think it’s a bit overpriced (even with the Maven discount) so I thought this box was a great way to pick it up at a more reasonable cost.
Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops: (Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Houston, we have a problem
Description: “these game-changing drops will leave your manicure touchably smudge-free in just a few minutes.
I love these drops and use them regularly so I grabbed this one as part of that lovely gift…except the fill line on this is super low. As you can see the bottle is sealed and the contents are well below the pink label. The issue with these drops is that the packaging allows for a lot of evaporation. But Julep’s faulty packaging doesn’t mean that I’m going to settle for a package with over a quarter of the product missing.
Cleanup Tool: (Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Houston, we have an even bigger problem
Description: “Designed to clean under nails and wipe polish off skin.”
This item was left out of the box (although you can see a pic of it above in the mystery box). After some sleuthing on different forums it seems it was left out of nearly all the mani-versary boxes.
Queen Anne: (Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Description: Lilac confetti microglitter
Lilac isn’t usually my first choice but the glitter on this is lovely and the hint of gray to it makes it very wearable.
Julep included this nifty phone screen cleaner and a note that we can get extra jules by downloading their app on our phone. I thought this was a cute, useful bonus and I will definitely be taking advantage of that app.
Lucy, you got some s’plaining to do
Well, once again I sent Julep an email, waited about a week to not hear back from them and then followed up with a phonecall about my cleanup tool and Tada drops. At first the customer service lady said that that fill line was the normal one for the Tada drops, but I knew that was incorrect having received them previously and having seen others. They said they’d mail me out the missing tool and the drops.
The saddest part of all this is that those mistakes are not even close to the worst I’ve seen from Julep this month. There were folks that received empty boxes, boxes missing polishes, boxes filled with random extra products, boxes with tons of wrong items, boxes with 5 duplicates of the same polish, boxes where polishes had been replaced with random choices because the current collection was “out of stock” and my personal favorite, a box that included a chewed up pen. Some folks still haven’t gotten their boxes, others had their boxes sent to old addresses they haven’t used in some time.
In combating the shitstorm of issues, Julep customer service choice various tactics. Some folks got 1900 jules for late shipments, others were told they couldn’t get refunds when they didn’t get a box or polish and that they had to take jules instead, while others got refunds. Some got giftcards for a polish, others got sent random “replacement” polishes without any input on whether the choices were appropriate. Some were told products were sold out and more would not be made, while others were told they would be sending replacement of those same out-of-stock-never-to-be-seen-again items.
A few days ago, those of us with the mani-versary box finally got an email acknowledging that problem and saying the missing item was being sent. Today was the first time Julep made a statement referencing the insane amount of problems and what Julep is doing about them.
The retail value on this box was $74.00 and the maven value was $54.60. My only issue with this box is about the packaging problems and lack of communication from Julep. I like the items included and think the anniversary polish is lovely.
I’ve decided that everyone deserves a second chance and I’m going to give Julep the opportunity at redemption with my September box. I really do love their products and before the muddied up the Maven program with all these changes it was so much fun. I don’t mind delays or hiccups, I just want clear communication and a set policy for all customers with issues.
Are you a Julep Maven? If so, did you have any problems with your August box or was it smooth sailing?
COUPON CODE: If you love Julep’s products, you can try out a box for free just use the code: FREECOLOR
Just remember this signs you up for a monthly subscription. If you don’t wish to receive boxes you will need to call Julep to cancel .
Julep specializes in toxin-free nail color but also features beauty products. They are a small company based in Seattle and have been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things List.
Monthly Maven Options:
Maven Subscription: $19.99 – Monthly Maven box where you choose from the boxed sets in each category.
My Maven Subscription: $24.99 per month – Allows you to customize your box
3 Month Prepaid: $19.99/month
Maven Luxe: $39.99 per month – Gives you access to add on more expensive items
3 Month Prepaid: $34.99/month
Modern Beauty – (For those who prefer beauty items over nail color) – “You’re a savvy tastemaker obsessed with the art and science of beauty.” Get two full-size beauty products in every box.
Boho Glam – “You’re a dynamic free spirit with a creative eye.” Get two limited-edition nail colors and one full-size beauty product in every box.
Bombshell – “You’re a confident frill-seeker with magnetic appeal.” Get two limited-edition nail colors and one full-size beauty product in every box.
Classic With a Twist – “You’re an iconic beauty with a timeless aesthetic.” Get two limited-edition nail colors and one full-size beauty product in every box.
It Girl – (For those who want polish only) “You’re a colorful trendsetter who’s not afraid to be bold.” Get three limited-edition nail colors in every box.
Julep will email you with the contents of your regular box selection, and at that time you can opt to keep it as is or change it. Every time you purchase a box you get the option of add-ons along with access to Julep’s “Secret Store” that lets you get other products at great prices. Another perk is that when you’re a maven you get 20% off anything you purchase from Julep’s website along with free Shipping. Julep polishes retail at $14.00 each, so a Maven box of two to three brand new polishes for under $20.00 is a great steal.
Julep also has a rewards program that gives you “jules” for taking your monthly boxes and on your birthday. You can use jules to pay for monthly boxes and some other items chosen by Julep.