If you have been following me, I recently did a box swap with Stephanie Wright a.k.a Effie from the United Kingdom. I live in the United States, so awhile ago we decided to do a box swap filled with makeup, skincare, and candy! I have posted an overview on what I got in my last post, but I thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences! I feel like this was a blogging milestone! I’ve never done a box swap before so it was a new experience for me! Effie did a version of a post like this also. Make sure to check out her lovely blog by the way! You can find it here.
STEP 1: Find a fellow beauty lover to do a swap with!
Make sure that you trust this person, because that would be awful to send a package all the way there and then find out that the other person didn’t follow through. I haven’t heard of problems like this, but I’m sure it has happpened. I, of course, trusted Effie and knew that she wouldn’t do something like that!
STEP 2: Decide on what kind of products to include
This is the part where you decide on what you want to exchange. During my swap, we decided on makeup, skincare, and candy. Also, decide on if you want to do drug-store, high-end, or a little of both.
STEP 3: Decide on a budget and a timeline
Remember, there are exchange rates so take that into consideration. A good way to figure out exchange rates is by using Google. Oh, how I wish I was the one to invent Google. Don’t forgot about the postage, because it is super expensive to send an international package. The shipping was almost the same amount as the set aside budget. Also, decide on a timeline on when to send the packages off to each other!
STEP 4: Research!
Research favorite brands of yours and see if the person you’re doing the swap with can get that brand where they live. For example, I knew that Effie couldn’t get Indigo Wild in the United Kingdom, so I decided to send her a Zum bar. I’m sure her review will be coming soon, so you will have to stay tuned for that. Effie and I used Twitter messages to talk back in forth about brands. Also, ask the person if they have a item they would love to try. I really wanted to try Sleek, so this box swap was a perfect opportunity for that.
STEP 5: Shop!!
Here is the fun part! I went to many different stores such as: Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart. I also got a few things online! Make sure to watch for sales! I was able to get Effie an amazing palette because it was 50% off!
STEP 6: Make a pit-stop at the Post Office
This was my first time sending an international package so I was sort of clueless! I wasn’t sure of the costs and which way would be best to send it. The guy at the Post Office was very helpful and told me the best way to send my package. Using my own box it would be around $38 to send it, but with a 4 lb weight limit. Or, I could use a Priority Box, but then the price would jump up to around $60. I decided that I would go with the 4 lb weight limit, and I knew I had the perfect box at home. If I would go over the weight limit, the price would skyrocket up to around $58. I can’t remember the exact pricing, but I’m sure pricing changes all the time, so I do recommend checking it out before sending the package. Also, I’m sure weight limits change throughout the years.
STEP 7: Putting it all together!
This is another fun part! Make sure to have a lot of tissue paper or bubble wrap, because your package will have a long journey! Once you drop it off at the Post Office, it is no longer in your control. With that being said, make sure to add padding and cushion, because it is always sad to receive a broken item. Luckily, both packages were safe and nothing was broken. The box of mine was a little bent on one side, but that was it!
STEP 8: Adding the personal touch!
I think that it is important to personalize the boxes! You can do this by a variety of different ways such as: cards, post-cards, item descriptions, and many more. Thank the person that did the swap with you! Personalization just makes it special. Effie added a card in hers and it was really sweet of her! She just seems like such a kind hearted soul!
STEP 9: Weigh the package
Make sure it is under the weight limit. I used my mom’s scale and of course every time I tried the battery would die. It did flash 3.4 before dying so I thought I was good, but wasn’t sure if it was accurate. Point is, make sure you weight it before going to the Post Office, because it’s no fun having it over the weight limit.
STEP 10: Send it off!
So this was the nerve-racking part. Luckily my experienced Grandma came with me. She had a foreign exchange student from Spain years ago. Sadly, her package she sent him and his wife for their wedding is MIA. I got to the Post Office and it was over 4 lbs! My heart fell to the floor! But, at least only by a few ounces. I felt really stupid standing there trying to decide what to take out. Of course, there had to be a line! I ended up taking out the Toostie Pop Drops (which were mighty good, I ate some in the car afterwards with my Grandma). She re-weighted it and still it was a little over! I then took out the Jolly Ranchers, opened up the bag and threw a few of them on-top. Finally! It met the weight requirement! Sorry Effie, that you didn’t get your Tootsie Pop Drops! If you liked the Tootsie Rolls I sent you, then you would love these! So once that part was over, another nerve racking part comes. The customs form. I don’t know why, but I didn’t specifically count how many items I had in the box. My phone was also dead so I couldn’t look at the pictures. I ended up filling it out, but it was still hard to remember each and every thing I put into that package. Also, know that other countries addresses are totally different than what you might be used to. I will admit, I got confused on where to place what parts of the address on the customs form. I was so worried that my package would not find Effie, because I felt like somehow I was writing the address down wrong. All I have to say is “Effie, how do you remember your address?”
STEP 11: Keep all records of sending the package off
Make sure to keep your copy of the customs form and also the receipt, just in case the package gets lost! Hopefully you have better luck than my grandma did.
STEP 12: Wait….wait…..wait…..wait….wait…..wait
This is the not so fun part! I hate waiting for packages to come! It seemed to take longer with the weather (our weather was cold, icy and there were blizzards – delaying the mail), but luckily both of ours arrived! We decided to do ours after Christmas because we figured Post Offices are crazy busy that time of year and the mail service would slow down afterwards.
STEP 13: Enjoy!!!
Make sure to thank the other person and let them know that the package arrived safely. I tweeted Effie when I got my package. She said that it made her day! I know it made my day when I read the tweet that she got hers during my lunch break at work!
STEP 14: Blog Posting!
If you’re a beauty blogger like Effie and I, then it is time for reviews!!
With that, I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know your experiences with doing box swaps! I already have another one planned end of this Spring! I know I want to try more Sleek!
The Beauty Deputy