I'm so sorry, y'all. This was suppose to be done DAYS ago, but my allergies are coming back with a vengeance after taking a nearly decade long hiatus. Combine that with a sick toddler and hubby, and I've just been out of commission. Anyway, this is the final installment of a three(ish)-part series on Avecko. Perhaps you'd like to refresh your memory?
- Prologue: Tutorial: How to Type In Hangul On Mobile
- Part One: Unboxing My First Avecko Haul
- Part Two: How Much I Spent, What I Did Wrong, and What I've Learned
- Part Three: Tutorial: How (and How Not) to Use Avecko's Buying Service
Looking for Specific Products
Snow & Kahime have a spreadsheet with a ton of Korean brand names on their guide as well as categories and popular websites. It's incredibly handy, if not flat out necessary, since Google Translate will only take you so far, and some sites like to put everything into images instead of easily translatable text.
Sometimes I just type the name into Naver to see what shops come up. From what I've seen, most of the stores tend to have products for around the same price and a lot of them seem to be listed on Gmarket. This is an excellent time to go through /r/AsianBeauty/ and look at people's Avecko hauls, or at your favorite bloggers' Twitter or Instagram feeds to see what new and awesome things they procured from Korea. I have a Wishlist spreadsheet that I use to keep track of all the interesting, new things I want. (You can get your own by going here. Click on "File" and "Make A Copy..." to be able to edit.) Other options which allow for a better visual would be Pinterest or Evernote.
Cat's post explains how to browse through websites, searching for their Beauty, Skincare, and Cosmetics sections, so instead of repeating that, I'm just going to clarify some things with Memebox's Korean site.
If you type in www.Memebox.com or even www.Memebox.co.kr right now, you would get redirected to the US site (or the country you live in). Sometimes http://www.memebox.com/?countryCode=KR works for me, and sometimes, it redirects to the US site.
To access Memebox Korea, you would have to scroll to the bottom, and click on the South Korea flag.
And then ta-da! Memebox Korea.
|Google Translate. Meet your new bestie.|
Another thing with shopping on Memebox's site is the shipping. Let's say you stumble across these bangin' sheet masks.
They're 2,300 W each, with free shipping over 20,000 W so maybe let's grab two. And then you shop around a bit more and find these really interesting serums and decide to pick up all four of them, which would be 39,600 W, totalling 44,200 W - more than enough to get free shipping for the masks, right?
Unfortunately, the free shipping with conditions thing applies per product page. You would get slapped with a 2,500 W shipping charge for the sheet masks. That applies if you just wanted one sheet mask from different brands that don't provide unconditional free shipping, so that can really add up. My first submission had 5 2,500 W shipping charges! That's 12,500 W for shipping from just one site! You're better off getting this instead. It has free shipping.
I mean, look at how jelly the other guys are. And the girls find Nipple-Free Man fabulous. NFM exudes confidence and manliness, and you. can. too.
|From Memebox Korea's site.|
Here's something cool - sometimes brands have amazing sales on their own sites. Whamisa, for example, sometimes sells their expiring hydrogels (which retail in US for ~$9, and Korea for ~4,500 W) for as low as 900 W a piece. I snagged this heavenly emulsion from Goodal Korea's site on a half off sale (still going on!)
It was free shipping over 10,000 ₩ too! Compare that to Memebox US:
Also, don't forget about Gmarket and 11st. They offer international shipping, but not on every item. For example, there's this amazing deal:
It's only available for domestic shipping - which is something that's perfect for Avecko. Guh, that delicious looking Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream!
Cat has an excellent spreadsheet on her post that I'm not going to link to directly, because that's kind of douchey. I used that in conjunction with another spreadsheet I made for filling out Avecko's form, available here (Click File, Make A Copy to be able to edit). Keep in mind that Avecko's 10% handling fee also applies to domestic shipping charges too (which I think is BS, but hey). To enter more than one line in each box, you can hold Ctrl+Enter.
Weeding Things Out & Portion Control
Yes, some of the best deals come straight from Korea, but sometimes, it's better to just order through sites you already frequent. For example, take this Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil that I've been drooling over since Tracy reviewed it on Fanserviced-B.
25,000 W isn't bad, but consider RoseRoseShop's eBay site:
$22.56 with $2.50 shipping, $25.06, no filling out forms, no 10% handling fee, no unknown shipping rates.
Another example - Banila Co. Miss Flower & Mr Honey Hydrogels 5pcs on Gmarket are sold for a little less than they typically are found on the Memebox US site. But that's 17,000, plus 2,500 domestic shipping, plus 10%, AND international shipping (I just weighed them, and it's 230 g for 5 hydrogels and its packaging). Not to mention, adding $9 worth of products on Memebox US gives you free shipping and Memebox always has 15% off coupons floating around.
Another thing to look out for is why some products get so heavily discounted. The Whamisa hydrogels for example? They were discounted because they were expiring within a couple of months. Not a huge deal, but by the time I found them, they were expiring in just over a month. Considering how my Avecko order took nearly a month to arrive, I might have gotten a bunch of expired masks. Pay attention to 제조일자 (Date of Manufacture) and 유통기한 (Expiration Date). Can you use up 6 creams that are expiring in 3 months? 30 hydrogels within 2 months? Remember that there will always be other deals. (Check out Deb's (Adoredee) very relevant post on How to Beauty Haul Responsibly.)
These are sold out now, but they were being sold for 170 W a piece on Memebox Korea's site. To get free shipping (over 15,000 W), you'd have to get 89 sheet masks - which sounds like an obvious bargain. Until you consider that the average sheet mask weighs about 30 g, and 89 sheet masks weighs approximately 2.7kg. To ship a box of just 89 Malie sheet masks, you would be paying $47.10 for ePOSTg. That's really only $0.53 to ship each sheet mask, so that's $0.70 a sheet mask, but nearly $50 to ship cheap sheet masks isn't worth it in my book, especially since I was doing that to save $2.50 on domestic shipping in the first place.
Portion control is really important when shopping Avecko, because it's so tempting to grab every sheet mask in existence or any product that looks interesting, because it can be so cheap. Sometimes buying more just to hit free domestic shipping just isn't worth it. And sometimes buying straight from Gmarket or 11st (which means you'd have to go through EMS) would actually be a better deal, since there would be no 10% fee.
|This adds up so quickly.|
The problem with using Avecko is you don't see the international shipping until it's almost all done. There's no backing out (typically), where you can just edit your cart and shift things around. You need to estimate your shipping rate if you don't want to get slapped with a shocking number. Some sites like Korea Depart list the weights of their products, and pretty accurately too (I got 212 g instead of 209 for the Beauty of Joseon Cream). You can also use Tester Korea's weights as a general reference. It isn't really cost effective to haul tons of sheet masks through Avecko, as mentioned before, they can definitely add up. This post is getting a little out of hand, so I'll do a spreadsheet for typical weights of products at a later date. In the mean time, the average weight of sheet masks are around 30g, and hydrogels such as Soyedodam and Whamisa go for around 45g. Don't forget that they have to package the products, and the box and padding will add another ~150g. For estimates of shipping rates, Avecko actually has a page for shipping, and there's this very handy page for EMS rates. I included space for you to input estimated shipping on my ordering sheet (File, Make A Copy to edit). With exception to the Banila Co stuff, everything listed in weights there is accurate.
Dealing With Avecko
Submitting Your Order
I emailed Avecko a while back with some questions. They are able to use coupons if anyone can use them, and they will order through mobile sites/apps that have better deals if anyone can access them.
Tracy did a fantastic walkthrough of how to navigate Avecko and submit your order. The only thing I would add to that is how to show quantity, for example with sheet masks or multiple products on an order page. For the first three products, Avecko actually has a special form for you to fill out, but after that, they just give you a big text box to type everything in. I would save anything that has extra options for the latter. What I have found works best for clarifying quantity is in the Option section to type '3 ea - 01. Product Option', for example to show you want 3 of Imaginary Option 1.
|Top: Avecko Ordering Spreadsheet, Bottom: Avecko Form|
You will receive a confirmation email after you submit the form, and typically within 24 hours, Avecko should email you back with a link to their product page so you can checkout.
|It looks gorgeous.|
I hope this tutorial helps you have the smoothest possible Avecko experience (better than mine, anyway). This is a great buying service, but there is definitely a wrong way to haul, and I made a couple of mistakes, some of which I ended up having to pay for. Sorry for this being so long - I just wanted to be thorough. Let me know if there's anything else you would like to see, or if you have any questions!