Thursday, February 21, 2013

My First Little Black Bag Experience!

Little Black Bag  is a subscription service with a twist:  after you place your order, you can trade items with other buyers. And I soon found out that trading is half the fun!

To start, you sign up and take a quiz to determine your style. From what I could find out online, opinions are divided over whether or not the quiz results actually mean anything. I was happy with what I received in my bag, so guess the quiz is valid. Others seem to think the contents are random, so I'd recommend not sweating the answers and just do it for fun.

After you complete the quiz, you have your choice of a $29.95 or $49.95 bag. What you are offered depends on which bag you choose. I went for the $29.95 option, as I've never bought one of these before and didn't really want to spend that much. They also give you the option of signing up for only one month at $39.95, but that's a little silly as they let you cancel at any time, so save the $10 and sign up for the cheaper subscription!

Now the fun starts! Browse through all of the options offered to pick the one item you can choose for your bag. There are all kinds of posts and videos online with trading tips, but I didn't research that until later and just picked a pair of earrings that I really liked:
Punch - Multi Chain Bead Drop earrings
Aren't these cute? They're by Punch, who I've never heard of before, but figured I'd take a chance. I got lucky and they turned out to be a "hot" item, but I didn't know that at the time.

After you pick your one item, you add it to your cart and go to the check out screen. The LBB stylists add 1-3 items to your cart that they think you'll like, but you don't find out what they are until you actually commit to the bag. There are lots of strategies for this section on how to guess what's in the bag, but I didn't learn about those until later. Duh!

I was hesitant about committing, so decided to think about it and left the screen. I didn't realize until I went back that rather than exiting, I got a pop-up box offering me an extra item if I bought the bag. Way to twist my arm LBB! Well played.

Once I added my credit card and completed my order, I found the below three items in my bag:
'Zad - Feather necklace
All The Rage - Bangle Set
Vosges Haut-Chocolate - Peppermint Candy Cane bar

The necklace and bangles are both nice, and who doesn't love chocolate? Pleased with my bag, I decided to see what would happen next. 

Once you buy your bag, you automatically receive trade offers for your items that other buyers have already submitted. You don't know who has what item, so people offer trades based on the item alone. You can accept the offer or pass. It's like a fun swap meet where you don't know who made the offer or how many others received it, as once it's accepted the offer is off the table for everyone else. My advice is to take that great offer before it disappears!

I passed on all of the initial offers, as they were either ridiculously low (a candy bar for my earrings???) or for something I wasn't interested in. Browsing through the gallery, I started making my own offers. I had heard that the more offers the better, but stuck to items I liked rather than trying to strategically increase my bag's value. When an offer is accepted, you get a large pop up screen showing you the trade and your bag automatically updates. 

I traded my leaf necklace for the below Kenneth Jay Lane earrings. Thought the black stones were really pretty.
Kenneth Jay Lane - Drop Disk earrings

A few hours later, received a notice that my bangle offer was accepted for the below bracelet. I'm not a big fan of gold jewelry, so thought this bracelet was more my style.

Rain - Three Row Beaded bracelet

Happy with my trades, I still had two days of trading left, so decided to see if I could get anything else and made several other offers. Around this time, I started looking for LBB tips and tricks and saw the below earrings on a girl's unboxing video. I immediately fell in love! Was very happy that my offer for the beaded bracelet and chocolate bar was accepted! It's earrings with the evil eye! Love it!

By Philippe - Protective Eye Hoop earrings

Pleased with my items, I still had over a day left before my bag closed. Several people had advised to leave your bag open as long as possible in case you get an amazing trade offer, so decided to take their advice and see what came my way. Since I ordered the cheaper bag, I only get a 3 day window for trading. I believe that the expensive bag gets 7 days, but I'm not positive. 

I did receive several more offers for each of my earrings, but I wasn't willing to let them go for anything other than true love, so passed.

Things I learned:

  • Either stay glued to your computer during the entire trading window or choose to get an email for every trade (and keep checking your phone!). I missed out on a few amazing trades when I was away from my laptop.
  • Open a box at night instead of morning, as more people are online and you'll get more trade offers. Also, LBB is not kidding that you'll only get X amount of time. My box closed at the exact time I opened it, 3 days later!
  • Scroll through the newsfeed to research recent trades. This will help you know if an item is hot or a dud.
  • Expensive doesn't always mean better, as I was offered a really ugly bracelet that the newsfeed showed people were practically giving away!
  • Chat - some people love it, but I didn't find it very helpful. Seemed too cliquish to me, my questions were rarely answered, and during busy sessions it scrolled by too fast. Not very user friendly IMO.
  • Do a Google search for LBB tips & tricks, as there are several incredibly helpful videos out there!

My Final bag:

Punch Multi Chain Bead Drop earrings. Value =  $36
Kenneth Jay Lane Drop Disk earrings. Value =  $30
By Philippe Protective Eye Hoop earrings. Value = $45

Total value of bag = $111

All in all, it was a fun experience and I was happy with the results. Only $29.95 (+ $4.95 shipping) for three pairs of earrings! That's less than $12 per earring, which is more than reasonable. Can't wait to receive them and see what they look like in real life!

Looking forward to seeing what they have for next month! If nothing grabs my interest, I have the option of skipping the month.

If you're interested in trying Little Black Bag, please consider clicking on one of my links. I'll get an extra item in my next bag for every referral, which is a nice way to spread the word. And if you're already a member, I'd love to see what you got in your latest bag!