Sunday, January 5, 2014

WHY ASIAN WHOLESALE IS BAD // #RANT

I remember when I started my blog, almost 5 years ago. I religiously followed people like Cosette Munch and Shelley Mulshine and many more on Lookbook.nu. Most of my favorite Lookbookers constantly wore really cool clothes from Romwe, and, at the time, it was my ultimate blogging goal to become one of those special selected people! When I looked at their blogger programme, it said that in order to be a part of it, you need to have 2000 followers on one platform, so I constantly posted looks on my Lookbook account, as by that time I was only a few hundred people away and it seemed doable.

Then, shortly before I reached 2000 fans on Lookbook, Romwe contacted ME. They wanted to work with ME. Oh, I was so happy and flattered. I was given a generous budget of 80$ to spend on their website and I still remember my first order. It was a sailor dress, a tank top (which later turned out to be from H&M) and a lace dress which barely covered my behind. I fell in love with this site as the quality was actually quite good for some time, and the clothes were "unique" items which you could never find in such a conservative (style-wise) country as Luxembourg.

Shortly after Romwe, more and more similar companies started contacting me, these included Sheinside, Chicwish, Wendybox, Wholesaledress.net, Causewaymall, Oasap etc. Of course I accepted all their offers and kept receiving items from these sites for a while. I started noticing that the quality of clothing was not very consistent. For example Romwe had a lot of items that had their own label tag on (although I did wonder sometimes whether they just replaced it from the original tag), and Chicwish had legit clothing from some Asian companies AND the quality was rather good! Then again, the odd item every now and then was VERY bad. While I was more pleased than disappointed with Romwe and Chicwish, the other sites I mentioned were mostly always disappointing. The quality/sizing was just so weird and the clothes didn't seem as nice and valuable as something from Topshop (for example).


Since I was such a blogging virgin back then, it took me years of experience, research and mistakes to get to where I am now, in every single way. I used to be naive (maybe still am) and I used to be scared to speak my opinion, especially when it came to companies that I work with. Surely they have been kind enough to send me some clothes for free, I can't bring myself to write something negative! Now, I'm not saying I was a sell-out. There were numerous times when I hated the quality/fit of the item so much that I simply did not post it - sometimes I had to send it back as they did not want me to keep it in this case. However, there were definitely times when I did feature some half bad items in my posts - briefly mentioning that the item was "not what I expected" or that "the fit was a bit off but it's really pretty anyway". I would never lie to my readers though, so when I received questions on sites like formspring or ask.fm about certain companies, I told them the truth!

After a while of hit and miss orders from all kinds of Asian wholesale companies, I decided that enough is enough. I'm simply better than that. If I am able to get free items (as well as good connections AND talk to kind people) from brands like H&M, Wildfox, Motel Rocks and more, why should I accept clothes from these suspicious Asian companies?

You probably have already read the title of this post, and this is the part where I will tell you point by point why you should avoid such websites (in my opinion)!

1. The quality sucks. Yes, we already established that, but it really does suck. The heels you see below, I got them from a company called Oasap and I was SO excited to get them as they looked perfect and exactly what I was looking for. As soon as they arrived, I realized I won't be able to wear them as they felt like size 37 instead of 39 (UK 4 instead of UK6). Fine, I thought, I'll take photos and give them to my sister as that is her size and they are brand new. Unfortunately this did not happen, because as soon as I wore them outside for some outfit photos, the whole HEEL broke off and I almost hurt my ankle. Obviously this was not the only incident with bad quality, but definitely the worst one as I could have got an injury. Also, almost all shirts and dresses from these sites are made of a really disgusting chiffon material, which is the worst thing ever. It feels so absolutely cheap, gets wrinkled from nothing and breaks so easily!


2. Most of these brands use REAL Zara items. I was suspicious about this for quite a while, and not only Zara items but also H&M, Maison Scotch etc. It all started when a couple of years ago I received a nude lace printed kimono/throw jacket which was so nice and I actually still wore it last summer. As well as that, almost every item I received had a cut off label tag, some of them had actually damaged the material of clothing from doing this. Back to the kimono/jacket - I was absolutely dumbstruck when I found a little Zara label inside the jacket, probably near the materials label. I really had no idea why it was there, but after this incident I often noticed these websites selling clothes that I had seen in Zara before. I think the funniest/worst incident was when I received a checkered shirt a few months ago and this is what I found inside:

ZAPA, seriously?!

3. They don't care about you as a blogger. I have lost the number of times that I've received an e-mail from Persunmall starting with "Hi dear," - like ummm, I have a name?? I'm not trying to sound as a very stuck up blogger or something, but I wouldn't want to work with a company that doesn't even know my name. There have also been times when I was in the process of talking to a certain company and then the same person would send me an introductory e-mail starting with the same old "Hi dear". I know that it's tempting to accept free clothes from these companies, especially when you're a new blogger, but you should always know your worth and learn to say no, not just in blogging but generally in life.

4. Custom duty taxes. Obviously depending on the country you are in and it does not happen every time, but I've had a few nasty incidents where the postage company would keep calling me to pick up my item and pay the customs. At that point I thought that I'll just leave it because I am not willing to pay £20 for items that I supposedly get for free. I guess I had to change my mind when the post company sent me another letter saying that there will be legal issues if I don't proceed! So this was my situation in the UK. Another time when this happened in Latvia, the customs people weren't sure how much to charge so they kept asking me how much I paid and obviously when I told them that I got them for free so that I could post about it on my blog, they laughed in my face. Ugh. The worst was when I eventually paid it and ALL 3 items in the parcel were poor quality/too small etc. The companies do sometimes mention to you that they will cover the costs for customs but every time I tried to get in contact with this I was ignored.

5. Shipping time is ridiculous. This affects bloggers less than normal customers though, that I have definitely noticed. These companies don't want bloggers to have a bad impression of them so they try to minimize the shipping time to 1-2 weeks. However I have read countless reviews and even heard it from people I know personally that they have waited for AGES for the parcel to come. So don't be fooled by the free shipping, free does not mean fast and efficient.

6. Sizing is very off. Yes, this issue can be avoided, because experienced shoppers already know that sizes vary from country to country. Not to be stereotypical, but Asian women tend to be smaller, so when shopping at Asian stores you need to be extra careful with sizes, fair enough. So many of these websites boast about their efficient sizing information, because all measurements are written there. You know what? I've followed those measurements very precisely at times and STILL the items are ridiculously off in terms of sizing. Another issue is the length of items, especially dresses. The dress below is a classic example. In the photo it may look almost decent length, but no matter how much I liked it, I later decided not to wear it that day as it was just ridiculously short.


7. Pictures on their websites are misleading. Colors are off, shapes are off, materials are completely different and the WHOLE thing can be off! You might think you are ordering a dress, but you actually receive a top. Most times the item is a little bit different than the pictures - but even that is disappointing, because you expect one thing and another one comes. They excuse themselves with things like "different lighting" and such. How exactly do issues with the lighting produce a completely different item, I wonder?

8. The whole internet is full of customer complaints addressing these websites. I am not sure if this is actually a legit argument, but it would certainly put me off shopping on these sites! I remember once reading a customer review, where a girl had received the wrong dress and wanted to return it and a refund. The response she got was something along the lines of "Dear, we are so sorry, but the dress you got is also nice, please understand". I wish I bookmarked this as this was ages ago, but it gives you a pretty accurate idea of what these companies consider customer service.

9. Some of these sites fake positive reviews on review websites. It's very obvious when you see 100s of negative customer reviews, and suddenly there is a VERY positive review in bad english. Honestly, if I received a good order from a website, I probably wouldn't spend my time writing paragraph after paragraph why this website is amazing, right?

10. The only reason these websites actually *seem* so successful, in my opinion is because of bloggers. They spam bloggers e-mail inboxes with e-mails on successful cooperations, boast about their statistics and make you seem like a queen by offering free clothes. Most of the times I honestly wished I just didn't accept the clothes because they became a burden.

If you absolutely need to shop on any of these Asian sites, I would actually recommend Chicwish as I've never had any major complaints about them, not the kind that I've mentioned above anyway. The girl who was in contact with me was always super kind and I got personalized Christmas cards, but I can't guarantee whether that was because I'm a blogger or not. At least the items were always as pictured. The sizing was not always how I wanted, but most of the time it was spot on. If you also search for complaints on Chicwish, you will have a hard time finding any, however if you look for complaints for sites like Sammydress and such, you will have hours of reading material. When it comes to Romwe, again it is not as bad, however for the prices that they have I don't see why anyone would want to shop there as the quality is again not always the best. There are, unfortunately, plenty of complaints on Romwe. Apart from these 2 sites, I would suggest you to avoid shopping in Asian wholesale at all costs.

It's getting late now and I feel like I've said everything that was on my mind. Hopefully there aren't too many mistakes in this post - it was a heat of the moment thing, which I just felt like should be out there. I never expected to publish such a post on my blog. I am not a person who tries to be mean about companies just because I have a blog and certain "power". The means of this post is simply to inform people on my experiences, and hopefully aid them to make better decisions. Too much money, time and patience is wasted on shopping at these sites. You get what you pay for. Sometimes you pay, but you don't get anything. The choice is yours!

#rant over

32 comments:

  1. True words. Totally agree!

    Sarah Lena

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow. this post is so helpful! i have loved seeing so many bloggers rave about these websites, but only saying great things. i'm glad you gave REAL feedback about these websites. and good thing i read this before i spent sooo much money on not so great quality clothes!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was thinking about buying at Romwe and after your blog I wont anymore. I live in Brazil and those clothes they show look very interesting and would costs lots of money here; The thiing is that I'm sure the shipping would take so long and the quality as you told is not that good.

    thanks for the post :)

    oh, and I follow your blog since 2010. Its nice to see you growing with it \o/
    I wish you the best always!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much for that post. I think there should be more honest bloggers like you! Cause little bloggers like me (or as you said you in the beginning) are so naive and do not know what's happening at first.

    pssshhht.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such an interesting post! You did a great job informing us ;).
    I really enjoy reading your blog, so keep up the hard work!

    Anne (Belgium)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Kristiana,

    Thank you very much for this post. I consistently read your blog and as a "fan" hehe I do appreciate this sort of posts. I also have my own experience with one of the websites you mentioned. I ordered a cardigan from Romwe, which I found thanks to your blog. However, it looked really nice on the website and it turned out to be, maybe not entirely different, but not what i was expecting. I have never worn it and it makes me feel bad because it wasn't too cheap :/ Needless to say I haven't ordered anything else as I was not satisfied.

    So anyway, I am glad that you decided to write this post, it was very helpful and informative :)

    Have a good day! xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Pati kādu laiku sadarbojos ar dažiem tevis minētajiem interneta veikaliem, līdz šim īpašu problēmu nav bijis, izņemot ar veikalu Sheinside. 1kārt, man 2 piegājienos tika atsūtīti svārki, kleita un playsuit, un neviens no tiem man tā īsti nederēja. Kad mājās ar mērlentu izmērīju pēc cm visus apģērba gabalus, neviens nesakrita ar veikalā minētajiem. Kā arī 2kārt, klientu apkalpošana bija ļoti vāja, ļoti bieži atbildi no viņiem vispār nesagaidīju. Sekojoši izlēmu pārtraukt ar viņiem sadarboties!
    Pašlaik ar tiem veikaliem, ar kuriem sadarbojos īpašu problēmu nav bijis (nav bijis jāmaksā nodokļi, jo vienmēr pirms pasūtīšanas palūdzu, lai sūtījumu atzīmē kā dāvanu ar zemāku cenu kā $25, sūtījums jāgaida apmēram 1 mēnesi, bet mani personiski tas tik ļoti netraucē, protams, gadās, ka izmērs līdz galam neder, bet nekad nav bijis tik traki kā ar Sheinside). Es gan apzināti izvairos pasūtīt kleitas vai svārkus, jo tā kā esmu 176cm gara, pastāv ļoti liela iespēja, ka man nekas nederēs! Un, jā, tā kā strādāju H&M un pārzinu veikala sortimentu diezgan, ja ne pat ļoti labi, bieži vien šādos interneta veikalos redzu vai nu tādas pašas, vai nu ļoooti līdzīgas lietas kā H&M!
    Haha, sorrī par garo komentāru, vēlējos padalīties ar savu pieredzi! ;)

    www.callmemaddie.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. You look so beautiful in that lace dress with the parka <3

    And thank you for your pleasant comment on my blog! I checked your blog and I like it <3 Of this cause I would like to follow you on gfc and/or bloglovin. It would be great if you come again to my blog to follow me – then I will follow you immediately back.

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    www.dressedwithsoul.blogspot.de

    ReplyDelete
  9. You can not believe how good your timing is with this post for me! This morning I received an e-mail from Persunmall with the exact 'hi dear'. Now I'm not a naive person. 1. I don't have very much followers, so that they contacted me, is weird in my eyes. And 2. I never ever buy things that have to come all the way from the USA or Asia, just because I'm afraid of these taxes.
    So although I wasn't planning on getting involved with this website, this post made it even more clear to stick with my first decision! x

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, thanks for writing this! It's a good warning not to trust suspicious companies. Legal issues...? Seariously! :D
    I really like your blog by the way!

    ~ Kris from Finland

    ReplyDelete
  11. I totally understand where your coming from. Sometimes clothes I've ordered from ROMWE (paid with my own money) have taken ages to come and not like the description on the website. However, I've ordered some dresses which I absolutely love and are some of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe. As for getting items sent courtesy of companies, I think they're a bit hit and miss. I received a completely different item the last time. Saying that though I really genuinely do like pieces I pick out!

    Megan xxx
    Thumbelina Lillie | UK Fashion Blog

    ReplyDelete
  12. Man bija ļoti interesanti lasīt, jo es nekad līdz šim nebiju iedomājusies par šo interneta veikalu slikto pusi. Vienīgais, par ko biju informēta, kā pirms pāris gadiem Romwe mats matā nokopēja un izveidoja pilnīgi tādus pašus legingus (ja ne pat legingu kolekciju, tiešām nezinu), kā latviešu zīmolam QooQoo. Diezgan nesmuki. Toreiz nosolījos, ka ja man nākotnē būs iespēja, sadarboties ar Romwe, es to nedarīšu. Un arī lasot Tevis rakstīto nodomāju, ka nav vērts ņemties ar šādiem interneta veikaliem, kaut gan, es nenosodu, ja citi to dara blogu vidē, jo katram jau ir jāsāk no pašiem pamatiem, jānovērtē iegūtais & lēnām jāizaug, lai kļūtu ne tikai par, teiksim slavena, bet arī kvalitatīva(!) bloga īpašnieku! Bet tas ir tikai mans viedoklis. :)

    http://happinessvictim.blogspot.com
    x

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love this post, you're one of few that actually tells how it is. Reading all the most successful bloggers, all they do is get free things and live fabulous life, we got the idea that this is how it should be. We've all been there, when you get offered free stuff and you're very excited about it, but that loses its charm when they're all in just for the profit... You got me thinking and from now on I'll think twice before accepting anything. :)

    Keep on blogging sincerely, it's the best way!

    xoxo, Peppi
    www.thefashionjunki.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. i love love love this post. nothing better than the truth! you should definitely write more :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very helpful post, thanks for sharing it! Happy new year! =D
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, I already followed you on Bloglovin and GFC, check it out! =)

    http://whattostyle.blogspot.com/

    xoxo,
    Jess

    ReplyDelete
  16. Actually I am not surprised, I don't cooperate with such shops, but I was always very suspicious :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Amen. This is so true! Thanks for sharing the article on Facebook today so that I could find it.
    I decided not to work with such companies anymore a few months ago and even though I got many cooperation offers since then I have never regretted saying "no". All you said is just so true and now that I have made more experiences in the world of blogging I´m really asking myself how I could ever accept these cooperations. In fact we didn´t lie to our readers because if we didn´t really like an article we told them or we didn´t publish it but on the other side would you have shopped at any of their sites if you would have had to spend your own money? Well I wouldn´t and this is what makes me feel bad about ever only just putting a single link to their sites... Not only us bloggers get spammed by their mails but it´s also us who spam our readers with all the stupid posts like the Persunmall wish list post every blogger has to do before being accepted to their blogger program. If you think about it in retrospect it´s such a stupid and fake business... The weirdest moment I had when cooperating was with Persunmall. At one point they told me I didn´t have enough traffic leading to their page and asked me if I knew a solution for that problem. When I gave them my solution they just ignored it and asked me to end the cooperation. A few months or even weeks later I got another e-mail with a cooperation request. How awful is that? They´re working with so many bloggers that they can´t even distinguish between bloggers they have been working with and bloggers they haven´t been working with...
    So sad. I´m definitley going to share this post and I hope I will be able to write something similar because I really think more "small bloggers" should be warned. At the point where I am I really don´t understand how big bloggers can still cooperate with Romwe and the other brands...
    Anyway thanks so much for taking the time to write this post :)
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm not surprised, I'm glad somebody has posted these things :)

    Love Emma xx

    www.collagemepretty.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  19. thanks for your honest opinion! I really liked the post and I think it was necessary. because there are so many bloggers who are raving about these shops...of course they do, they actually dont have to pay for the clothes. but the real customer has to pay for such a serivce and quality!! thanks a lot again :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm glad I haven't purchased from any of these sites. The main reason I haven't is because the websites are so awfully laid out and garish that I can't bear to look through it.
    I'm shocked that they use zara and other brand clothing too! It makes very little sense and doesn't seem exactly legal?
    Thanks for this post! Its unfortunate to hear how many negatives go along with the asian fashion sites but its good to know :)
    Roshni’s Journey

    ReplyDelete
  21. I bought those shoes in your point number 1 from Oasap, because I saw how awesome they looked on you, and your review of them was good, otherwise I wouldn't have ordered them myself. Although they are in fine condition now, I am gonna be scared to wear them next time. Note to myself: not trust items that are blogged about.

    ReplyDelete
  22. it's great that you came up with this theme!
    I almost went trough the same thing,but luckily never accepted any of their offers. Because in their first email they wrote me too choose one of their dresses. I thought : alright sounds fine. I replied to them with a link of the dress an to send me a contract (just to get things clear) and suddenly they only talked about a cheap,like really cheap,giveaway ( jewellery that's even not worth a dollar) and that i had to join their affiliate program ( no thanks)
    And even after sending numerous emails to several of these companies that I would not be interested, I still get at least one message from them every single day.Really annoying.
    And that Zara thing is crazy!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Ou, yes, absolutely TRUE with every thing, and nothing is so sad when you wait so long time your chosen item and it comes absolutely different or not coming at all :D sad that you don't get as it is on the photo, end it's so disappointing with every thing. But when you order in normal online stores, even with more than half price or even the item is expensive, service is so good, you can return and nothing pay for it, arrived in time and you are so happy about item, so Asian cheep wholesales are not even cheep, because you spend your time, feelings and need to buy new one because item is so bad quality or even absolutely different and you just need to buy something again.
    Very good and interesting blog post ;)

    www.morefashion4u.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Paldies! Ļoti noderīgs raksts. :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow.. thank you for that very helpfull post.. now i will really think twice if I order something at asian sites..
    Xoxo, Katii

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks so much for writing this! I used to think the bloggers cooperating with those companies were SO lucky to get plenty of clothes for free and I spent a couple of hours brousing through those oh-so-cool blouses and dresses and skirts and leggins... But never actually ordered anything because I didn't believe the quality matched the price. So it turns out it was a right thing to do. Anyway, could you maybe do a post about your favourite online shops? Would be very much appreciated! xx

    ReplyDelete
  27. so true... I am small blogger, & still get tempted for getting free clothes, but sometimes the quality is so bad that I can't wear it in front of anyone

    ReplyDelete
  28. As a fairly new blogger this was very helpful for me thank you for being real!

    ReplyDelete
  29. This was soooo helpful..... I am trying to reach more people on my YouTube channel by doing look books. If I do get to the point where people are contacting me I know what to look out for! thanks

    ReplyDelete
  30. You are so right...the truth is I have bought from them...and still do, I buy things like blouses, that I know I will wear 3 times in my life...I don't espect much of the quality...oasap had rather decent quality...great post

    ReplyDelete