Reviews for Subscription Clubs

Last time on this blog, I talked about the idea of subscription boxes or services that are geared toward today’s gentleman. I also shared a rating system that I use in regard to some of the subscription boxes that I have used.  Today, I am sharing with you those services, their ratings, and my comments.  Let’s dive in!
Dollar Shave Club
Value 5 Service 3 Customization 4
Headline – Simple and straightforward; Recommended Ongoing
This popular shaving club is dedicated to providing good shaving products at greatly discounted prices.  While the razors aren’t brands that can be bought outside of the subscription service, they are in many ways comparable to well known brands available in various retail stores and outlets.  While the value is strong, making adjustments or discontinuing the service is not as easy as I would like.  I still have this service, and I have slowed my razors to every other month.  Interestingly enough, just this month they have begun expanding their offerings to trial sizes, free sample sets, and even a quarterly “Re-stock box.”  Talk about expanding the brand!
Bespoke Post
Value 4 Service 3 Customization 5
Headline – Ecclectic and enjoyable, easily adaptable; recommended 12 months
I have only been using this service for a short time, but I am very impressed with the service over all.  The cost is a little higher than some, at $45 per month, but this service runs a little differently.  Like most of the services, when you sign up you fill out a profile.  Each month an email is sent detailing what is scheduled to come to you based on the profile you built.  However, each month you can either opt in, opt out, or select a different box entirely from the selection that is available that month.  The products are generally grouped (pen and journal, cooking accessories and cook book, you get the idea) and some items show up as box options several months running.  This has been one of my favorites.
Birchbox
Value 5 Service 3 Customization 2
Headline – Details for the modern gentleman; recommended 12 months
This was the first subscription box service I used.  It was affordable, at $20 a month, and was focused on grooming and fashion products for men.  I received samples of various soaps, shampoos, colognes and hair fixatives along with socks, shirts, gloves, hats and other accessories.  It was like Christmas each month for the first 18 months.  And then the boxes started to feel somewhat repetitive.  And while there was no ability to customize the box more than filling out a profile survey, the site included a shopping option where full size items of the samples could be purchased.  All in all, it was well worth the time and the money.  Cancelling was simple, and I have to admit that some months I really miss this box.
Cairn
Value 4 Service 2 Customization 2
Headline – Great gear, eventually repetitive; recommend 6-9 months
Carin was perhaps the longest subscription box (to date) that I have participated in.  The cost started around $25 and gradually increased to $35.  Even at that cost, the value of each subscription box tended to be slightly higher than the actual dollars being paid on the box.  Boxes typically shipped around the 10th of the month, arriving mid way through the month, and they all were packed according to some kind of theme.  Most boxes had a couple consumable items (gel or snack items) a durable gear piece (socks or water bottle, things like that) and some type of special gear item.  Some of them were awesome, some were not usable by me (like the sunglasses that came in one box.  I wear regular glasses, so that box was a bit of a bust).  Most months I filled out a survey, which got me point that I could use for discounts on future subscriptions or Carin branded gear.  The website didn’t have other items for purchase, but would direct the visitor to websites for suppliers of gear that had been featured.
After two years with Carin, my perception of the value started to dwindle.  After all, how many collapsible bottles do you need?
A point of note is that Cairn had a second subscription service called Obsidian.  This was a quarterly service and was much pricier, at $200 per quarter.  The gear that came in the boxes was much more substantial, with each box providing about $300 worth of gear.  I used this service for two quarters, and found the value to be stellar, but the gear that came was often not gear I would have chosen, nor did I always find it immediately useful.  I still own it all, and some of it is now in my bug out bag or my goto hiking/camping kit.  Great gear, little flexibility.
Cancelling was simple, but adjustments to my profile didn’t seem to have any impact.
So there you have my wrap up on the boxes I have used so far.  I am hoping in the near future to try a few more.  Some of the clothes services like Trunkclub, Stitchfix, Bombfell and FiveFour look interesting.  So do some of the more outdoor/survival gear clubs like Battlebox, SHTF Survival Box and the Prepper Box.  I’m also looking at some fitness boxes like Fit Lifestyle Box and Buffbox.
Sounds like there might be more of these posts coming!
Go forth and conquer!
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