Love Makeup or Jewelry? Surprise Yourself With a Wantable Box.

by Amy Lu on 10 June 2013 2 comments

Do you like surprises? Do you like trying out new things? If you're also into makeup or fashion accessories, then you'll want to check out Wantable. I gave it a test run recently, and while I'm not sure it's a good fit for me, I can definitely see how it can work out very well for others! (See also: 10 Places to Find Inexpensive Accessories)

About Wantable

Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Wantable team aims to match you up with fashion and beauty products they know you'll love. From the About Us page:

"Each month our in-house and guest curators hand-pick beauty and fashion jewelry products from hundreds of quality boutique, specialty, and premium vendors to find the best on-trend items. Then we use each customer's unique profile and purchase history to select the perfect set of products just for them."

You may wonder, what's this "unique profile" about? It's pretty simple. They use data derived from a survey you fill out to make sure the products in your box will suit your tastes.

How It Works

You're launched into a tailor-made experience right from the homepage. Start by choosing between two categories of goodies — makeup or jewelry — then complete a survey that asks about your style and preferences. Once your order is in, they'll send you a box with 4-6 full sized beauty products or 3-5 pieces of jewelry and fashion accessories.

The survey takes about 5 minutes. The questions start off broad (What styles do you prefer? What kinds of products do you want?), then gradually shift to the details (How long do you like your necklaces? Do you like matte, shimmer, or glitter nail polish?). They give you some options — with pictures! — and you can move a slider to Love or Dislike, or leave it at Like. Wantable's "curators" will then use your answers to pick out items you're likely to love and leave out altogether the ones you dislike.

Each box is valued at $80 to $100. You can choose to buy a single box for $40 or subscribe for monthly boxes at $36 each. They ship automatically each month, and you can cancel or skip the subscription at any time. Returns seem pretty painless — just use the original box and the prepaid return label, and send it all back at any time — even if the products were opened or used. However, it's an all-or-nothing deal; you can't return one item and keep everything else. (I asked. More on that later.)

The Goodies

I took the survey for both categories but ultimately chose the box of jewelry and accessories. The box itself is a sturdy little thing that should fit in most mail boxes, and it's stuffed with enough packing material (namely, paper strips and a sheet of bubble wrap) to ensure that it all arrives safely. There's also a return shipping label, just in case.

To give you a sense of what the goodies in my box should look like, here are some of my choices on the survey:

  • Love: Classic, Glam, Rock 'n Roll, Quirky
  • Like: Earrings, Bracelets, Necklaces, Silver Tone, Gold Tone, Multi-Tone, Acrylic, Beads
  • Dislike: Seasonal, Rings, Wood, Skulls

And here's what they sent me:

Suzi Earrings

The stud earrings look pretty basic, right? Except they're huge. Well, not huge huge — just way larger than any pair of studs I already own. The scale and square shape gives an otherwise simple design that wow! factor I keep hearing about but never really see out in the wild. Until now.

Retail value: $20

Alisandra Bracelet

I wasn't really sold on the white-and-gold bow bracelet at first. I thought the design was cute but kind of forgettable, and I couldn't figure out how to get it open. Here's a play-by-play:

"I see a hinge, but I can't pull it open." Some gentle tugs. "Huh. It's still not opening." Stronger tugs. The bow twists to one side. "Oh no, I broke it! I broke it!" Bracelet slides open. "Wait. Hold on. I think I got this." I slide a notch into the corresponding hole, and swing the bow into place, securing the bracelet. "This is the best bracelet ever."

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

There wasn't even a survey question about whether I like everyday objects with interesting mechanics (I do)! Even though I know it's just a coincidence, I feel like the Wantable folks really get me with this bracelet.

Retail value: $26

Drew Earrings

I love these. I love them so much. They're exactly the kind of earrings that I go "Ooooh!" over — but far sturdier than most earrings I see at department stores.

Retail value: $22

Nicola Sunglasses

Guys, I really like how the sunglasses look, but I think I made a mistake here. I tend to overthink surveys, so it took me 15 minutes to do the Wantable jewelry survey when a normal person would only need five. But see, when I overthink things, I also tend to make really dumb mistakes — like answer that I like sunglasses (which I do, generally) when I can't wear non-prescription ones. I don't want to return the other pieces along with the sunglasses, so I can either get prescription lenses installed…or give them to my sister.

You're welcome, J.

Retail value: $15

I think Wantable's curators did a great job; I did really like what I got.

Is It Worth It?

I opted for the jewelry box because I don't usually wear makeup and I wouldn't know what to do with 4-6 full sized, brand new mystery products all at once. (Probably comb YouTube for makeup tutorials.) However, I was still a little skeptical about my choice. I can't really justify spending $40 on a few pieces of accessories, and the thought of steadily accumulating jewelry over the course of a $36/month subscription frankly scares me. Even if they are such well-made pieces.

But if you're already in the habit of spending a little extra for quality jewelry or makeup, Wantable may be a good fit for you. The total retail value of the items in my box was $83; at $40 per box, that's just over 50 percent in savings — and that's on the low end. If you receive a pricier box (say, max value of $100), you could stand to save 60 percent on goodies you might not have purchased at full price.

I can also see Wantable working very well as a gift — and they give you that option. They'll send the recipient a link to take the survey and will charge your card when an order goes through. It makes a nice gift for a young woman with a budding makeup collection, or anyone who likes surprises that aren't too surprising. I can think of a number of family/friends who would enjoy the Wantable experience, survey and all.

Final verdict? If the price doesn't faze you — totally worth it.

Disclaimer: I received a free box for an honest review.

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Beth

Wow! You got some great stuff! I think I need a Wantable box myself! How fun!

Amy Lu's picture
Amy Lu

I know! I tried my best, but the photos really don't do them justice. Especially the drop earrings -- they're GORGEOUS in person.