I was randomly reading through a Makeuptalk forum and one poster mention having just spent money on the latest Indie Gift Box because it was all Etsy soap makers. Now, as tempting as subscription boxes are, I’m trying to avoid buying beyond my current body care needs since I don’t want things to go to waste (and I have WAY too much soap to root through already). But a box of surprises from Etsy soap makers? WTF, that’s just building a box for my temptation demon to nudge me for. I showed it to the boyfriend (my shopping enabler), but ended up resisting. Surprise for me though, he didn’t resist. So…yay, surprise soap!
Indie Gift Box focuses on curating items from small businesses and does a different theme each month. They use the “limited box” model, where rather than a monthly subscription, there are a set number of boxes each month and you buy one when it becomes available. This month’s is themed “Squeaky Clean” and was sponsored by six different Etsy shops. Each provided sample products except one business, which provided a coupon to their non-Etsy webshop. I haven’t really tried any of these items yet, but I’ll try to provide reviews as I get to them later. But in the meantime, I wanted to do a review of the actual box service.
As far as shipping and service, it seems to have incredibly easy. When asked about their service, my boyfriend’s review was: “I pressed a button. They sent you soap. Shipped within a week.” Sounds like they’re a pretty painless company to buy from. There are (were?) 100 boxes made of this, and they ship depending on when you order them. The boxes are $20 (+ shipping to US or Canada). Once they’re sold out, that’s it.
Packaging-wise, there was no fancy box or anything special like many subscription boxes use. Basically everything was packed in a priority mail box. Some of the more fragile items were wrapped in extra tissue paper with the rest of the items wrapped in a half a torn piece of pink tissue paper. Presentation was pretty basic, but I don’t care a lot about that as long as the items are good and nothing is damaged. Everything arrived safely.
One nice thing is that they included a little card that lists all the sponsors and their websites (though not sure why they use bit.ly shortcuts instead of the actual shop links). They also list the product each company sent and the cost.
Here’s what I got and initial reactions:
Ballyhoo Bath – Calliope Scent soap ($6) + 15% off coupon
This soap is gorgeous! I love the old-fashioned carnival themed branding and the soap itself is so pretty! According to the shop, the scent is described as…
Toffee and honey combined with apple, orange and bergamot, and a bit of baby powder. Compare this fragrance to Honey I Washed the Kids™ by Lush®.
While never having used Lush soaps before, I have smelled Honey I Washed the Kids and I wasn’t a huge fan. I can understand making the comparison, but this scent is nicer. The honey and toffee aren’t quite as overwhelming or strong as in the Lush version. I’m already looking forward to trying this. Only thing I wasn’t a fan of was that the soap was bare except for the paper wrap. I heard this is actually a better way to package soap, but personally I prefer something that makes it easier to store. Not a big deal though, it’ll just get wrapped by me. And I’ve already added the shop to my favorites list so I can plot out how I’m using that coupon later.
Bungalow Bath and Body – Cake Batter lotion ($3.75) and Pink Frosted Cupcake lip balm ($3.00)
I had actually had this brand on my Etsy favorites list before, so I was excited that they were included in the box! A little sad that their soap products weren’t featured, but there were two different types of items included. The Cake Batter lotion smells super duper sweet, and quite literally like a vanilla frosted cupcake. I’m still on the fence about dessert scents, but I’m willing to give this one a try because this smells like something I want to eat. ALL THE TIME.
The lip balm looks to be a good size, but since it’s wrapped in plastic and I’ve got open tins right now, I’ll save this for when I need to open a new balm. Looking forward to it though.
Emily’s Homestead – Probiotic Deodorant ($4.25)
I’ve been starting to get curious about more natural deodorants, so I’m glad to get to try one. Checking out the brand’s shop, they seem to have some interesting soaps on offer, along with a special chocolate themed gift set! Ooooh (favorited!).
Sweet Tea Apothecary – Perfume oils ($6)
This perfume shop sent along two samples:
Notes: Saffron, Sandalwood, Honey, Lavender, Amber, Vanilla
I did think it was cute that this scent was inspired by the character from Ratoutille. This is a nice warm scent with some mild spice. I think I smell the sandalwood the most. This is not a type of scent I would normally gravitate to on my own, so I’m glad I got it as a sample to experiment with.
Her Grace the Duchess Georgiana
Notes: Black Tea, Lavender, Jasmine, Amber, Bergamot
This is another scent I normally wouldn’t consider on my own, but I think I’ll like this! It’s a bit sharp so I think a dab will do me. On the skin it smells more like a comfortable old library. Gives off a more gothy, subdued feeling, almost like it’s the scent for Victorian styled fashion. I can definitely see myself “matching” this scent to certain outfits.
Evitchka – Face Scrubbies ($4)
Okay, sorry. No. These are not face scrubbies. These are not face anything. They’re coasters made of yarn. I actually googled to see if anyone actually does yarn face scrubbers…and came up with some links and Etsy shops! So I guess it really is a thing. But I personally cannot acknowledge this as anything other than yarn coasters. The shop is also not bath and body related, but sells crocheted items. Frankly, I don’t think this product nor the shop should have been included in the box. Mind you, they’re quality products. They’re well-made and very soft yarn coasters….but they’re still freakin’ coasters.
Aura Sensory – Coupon (25% off)
Okay, I won’t lie, even though I knew it would be a coupon, I was still a little sad to see one rather than something to actually try. But the coupon is for a good discount and the shop’s products are quite well priced, so I’ll make sure to use it. I expect I’ll end up getting the gift set….and a soap, natch.
In total, the items totaled a value of $27 with two discount coupons. Not counting the coupons, it’s about on par with what you pay (including shipping costs). I consider the “face scubbies” a dud item but even excluding that, it’s still pretty on point for value.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the box, as I discovered a bunch of brands I never knew about and got to test drive a brand I’ve been wanting to sample for a while. And most of the products will definitely get used. The only minor issue I have is that I felt the box’s theme was a bit misleading. For a box which is themed “Squeaky Clean”, I felt this should have included more actual washing items. The description does say it’s “bath and body products” and if you look at the links, it’s clear that not all the sponsors deal in soaps and body products. But still, it made me think perhaps some shops were using the box to introduce expansions to their line or something. Based on the theme, I would have expected more than one soap in the box, especially when three of the five brands that included products do sell soap and other soap-like products. Maybe it was also the way I was introduced to the box that set me up for false expectations (ie: reading that it was a surprise box from Etsy soap makers).
That being said, I was not expecting to get a full sized soap in the box (I was expecting more sample sizes), and I am really interested in the stuff that was sent, since they’re mainly items I wouldn’t have considered to buy myself but want to try. And I do want to look into some of these brands’ soaps in the future, so I suspect the brands that didn’t include their soaps will still get a sale (or two) out of me in the future. So as a promotional tool for the Etsy sellers, this box nailed it.
But honestly, the above gripe is minor, as overall I’m very happy to have gotten this box and I can’t wait to get to use the items. If Indie Gift Box ever repeats this theme in the future, I’ll be sure to jump for one!
Indie Gift Box is available on their shopping site. As for this posting, there still seem to be more of this month’s available.