Their website has some really slick photos of how the box looks and all the super cool projects you can make. Their blog features even more projects and things they find cool and washed out photos of women gingerly holding their craft projects in their hands.
Of course I want a craft project of my own to cradle, so I purchased one of these awesome boxes.
It sucked. Like so bad. I like complaining, obvs, but when I Googled Whimseybox reviews (by Binging it at Computer.com) a lot of others had similar things to say.
First off, a lot of the subscription services make an effort to surpass the price you pay for the service. Birchbox and Ipsy seem to typically send products that at least quadruple their $10.00 per month fees. I did take into consideration the usefulness of the items, because that brings the value up more too. I am also a pretty savvy craft supply shopper, and rarely purchase anything at full price. Joann Fabrics and Michaels send a million coupons per week, on top of normal sales and clearances, so unless I really need something I can usually wait until I have some sort of deal.
Let me break down what I received in my Whimseybox:
-Sturdy reusable box with velcro closure. (Upon reading some of the reviews, this box used to be a bit better with a magnetic enclosure, but this is still useful). It's a lot smaller and more shallow than those photo storage boxes which I use a lot for random storage. I typically pick those up when they are on sale for $2.50. However it's not much better than some other boxes I've gotten in the mail when I ordered something, which are basically "free" I guess.
I'll value the box at $1.00
- Everything was wrapped up in some lime green ribbon and tissue paper. It looked very nice when I opened the box up. It seems like others include this wrapping stuff in describing what they received, and I do tend to save these things and add them to my stash. There was about two and half feet of ribbon, and one sheet of tissue paper. It's hard to put a value on the ribbon - it's not a color and texture I'm likely to use, but it feels really nice and I would probably use it to wrap something else up. So I'll say 50 cents. I buy normal colorful tissue paper sheets at the 99 cents store. There are about 20 sheets per package. So the tissue paper is valued at five cents.
-Also in the box was some natural kraft paper shred. Joanns has 4 oz valued at $2.99. Uline sells it for $24.00 for 10 pounds. I'm not sure how much I actually received. Obviously I would never buy 10 pounds of it, but I also wouldn't pay $2.99 full price. It's not something I'd buy unless I was putting together a gift basket specifically. Just for the sake of me being grumpy and unfair, I'll value this at 50 cents as well.
-Now we've got some crafty stuff. I received four Crayola fabric markers in a fairly hideous color combination: yellow, purple, brown, and blue. These are something I would not normally use because I don't really like how markers look on fabric. Just not my thing. Maybe if I could draw better? However I know that because I have them I will probably use them at some point. So not the worst, but just wish I would have gotten some better colors. A 10 pack is listed at Joanns for $4.99, but is currently on sale for $3.74. If I purchased them I would definitely use the sale price or a coupon, so based on the sale price four markers are approximately 38 cents each, or $1.52 total.
-Next I received a bottle of DecoArt ink effects in Pink. Apparently you paint it on any light color paper, let it dry, and then you can iron on the design onto fabric. It is supposed to work like iron-on transfer paper, but without that weird plasticy film that ends up on the fabric. I could always use stamps with the ink so this will be more useful than the markers. Whimseybox's idea for this ink was to make this nebula pillow, which is pretty cool. I don't know when I'll use this but I'm glad I got it. I think it would have been neat to get the colors shown in their idea. But that's a lot of product to send out. Joanns has this for $2.99. I would like to purchase more colors, and would probably use coupons or wait for a sale. But I'll keep this at 2.99 because I would pay that much if I were picking up a single color.
-I can always use another blank notebook because I don't already have 500 of them. So I was meh at receiving a 4x6 spiral notebook. The notebook has a white canvas cover presumably to be used in conjunction with the fabric markers. I don't like spiral notebooks because when I throw them in my purse the wires always get all bent or tangled on something. I was even more disappoint when the inside back cover said it was from Oriental Trading Company. I like OTC, but I just don't think quality when I think of them. Some very similar notebooks (mine has a white spiral) are selling for $15.00 per dozen, so each notebook is worth about $1.25.
-Also from Oriental Trading was a white 19" polyester bandanna. It's pretty small for an adult bandanna, but is probably good for a child. I'll find a use for this but it's not the most interesting or inspiring item. It looks like this product, which is $13.00/dozen or $30.50/50. I would be more likely purchase in bulk if I found a use for them where I would make multiple items (napkin sets perhaps?), which would make them 61 cents each. I probably wouldn't buy the dozen, which is $1.08 each. But I'll go for the $1.08 for the Whimseybox purpose.
-I received two paintbrushes (size 2 and one that looks like it's for 1st graders - the purple one shown in the link below). OTC sells 200 mixed brushes for $28.00, which would make them about four cents each. I haven't used them,but they definitely look cheap and I'm sure they will shed right away. I have a million cheap brushes that are almost disposable, so these will go in that collection.
-Finally there are some promo items thrown in. I got a Whimseybox 6 inch wood ruler, three "Stop Pinning, Start Making" stickers, and what they tout as a "collectable art print" card which lists more about each product on the back. I do appreciate the art card. Mine says "Creativity is a drug I can't live without". It's a good size and I'll be putting it in my craft room eventually. The problem with the print is that it is difficult to value. Nice art prints are all over etsy and have such a wide range in prices. The Whimseybox print is cool but still serves as a promo item. So I'm not going to value the print, but I really like it. The ruler is nice because it's easy to stash in with a small project. And the stickers are cool but again are a promo item.
So the total I valued my items at is $8.97, not including the promo stuff. Again this is just subjective and based on my buying habits. I feel like I would have gotten more satisfaction if they'd included a whole set of markers, or maybe two ink effects. Even a nice brush would have been cool! The make-up subs like Ipsy often include nice makeup brushes and other "full-size" items. I think if Whimseybox put together something a little more cohesive rather than what I might throw together to entertain my 10-year-old cousin I'd feel better. There wasn't one suggested project I was inspired by. I thought that because Whimseybox was fairly established they'd be able to obtain more sample type things from these companies. But it feels like they are shopping in bulk and filling treat bags. And for $15.00 a month I think the value should exceed what the customers pay. Because otherwise what's the point? I'll browse Pinterest for cool stuff and then buy those supplies myself. I guess it's good maybe for parents with children who can do simple crafts like draw with markers on a notebook. Or someone who doesn't normally craft but wants to start and needs a little direction.
I'm scheduled two more before it runs out and I seriously hope it gets better.
/end of negativity.