Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Review of Golden Tote - A Surprise Shopping Experience

When I learned about Golden Tote, I was immediately interested. I mean, how cool is the idea? You pick one or two items (depending on whether you choose the $49 or $149 package) and get a bunch of surprises that fit your choices and style profile. Sounds great! In reality, it's okay, but not great.

It should have been a warning sign when I looked at July's Golden Tote deals and wasn't really interested in anything. Instead, I waited until August and invested $149 plus shipping for my Golden Tote. I chose two items that I really liked and hoped for good luck with my other items.

I placed my order on August 5, 2014. My Golden Tote arrived on August 25, 2014. Due to the long wait, I called customer service twice, and both times it went straight to voicemail. So, wait - I spent $7.95 for my order to arrive in 20 days? And not reach customer support to discuss it? To be fair, an email from Golden Tote noted that the company was extra busy this month, so maybe this was a fluke.

Okay, so I chose my two main items for the $149 deal, which were great. I feel like they fit my personality and style well. They are pictured below (the top and the dress):

Next, I chose my style profile. For this, you're shown three pictures and you pick the one that best fits your look. The one I chose is below. Note the colors, shapes and patterns in this image.

In this image, I see lots of neutrals, blacks, clean lines and sophistication. I love it! I'd wear most of the items in this picture (the pink shoes and one of the blouses aside) so I figured I was in good shape. Structured jackets and skirts, basics, jackets - awesome.

I sent my order through and the excitement built up. Then I waited, and waited, and waited...and when I opened the package that arrived 20 days later, I was so disappointed. I loved my original two choices, but the rest were just...wrong. They were either completely wrong for me or totally uninspired. Pictures of the other items are below. So wait, I paid $149 to get a plain gray open top? Are you serious? Unfortunately, the tote is all or nothing, so I have some serious thinking to do - do I keep the items I chose and try to give away the rest? Or give it all up and try again next month...or maybe not. Note that if you return a tote, your original shipping is refunded but you have to pay for the return shipping and it will take several days for your return to be processed.

Note: All images above are from Golden Tote. Images below are mine. 

Below are the surprise items I got in my tote.

I will admit, three out of four items followed the neutrals rule, but what is up with the tank top, which looks like someone threw paint at it? It's not a structured pattern, neutral or even remotely cute. The second and third items aren't my style, and the fourth item is just an open cover up - I could buy that at Target for $10. All of the items were incredibly baggy and I was not impressed. It kind of feels like the Golden Tote company was overwhelmed, sent overstock and hoped for the best.

So what are the pros and cons of Golden Tote?

- The items to choose from are relatively diverse.
- The pricing points are fair.
- The items are great quality.
- The clothes are true to size (a medium fits a medium).

- Expensive, slow shipping.
- Returns are all or nothing.

- Lots of risk - the surprise items don't seem to truly fit the style profile. And they seem a little random - this blogger chose one of the same items as me and got different surprise items. I liked hers a little better than mine. (Maybe she chose a different style profile, but one of the shirts looks the same as mine but in different colors.)

- All of the clothes seem baggy, which is fair to fit more body types, but not my style.

Would I use Golden Tote again? Maybe. I'm very torn on what to do with my current tote because I love my two original items, and I know I can choose great items again. But the other items were less than stellar.

Want to try Golden Tote yourself? Click here to order and let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

There is a Facebook group for selling/trading your Golden Tote items that you can join (Golden Tote Trading Group). The owners (Sarah Becker and Sarah Woodward) are also active in the group and they take our feedback seriously and have made changes based on that. They also let us know of any shipping issues, etc that come up during the month. You can also put in notes when you order as to what you like/dislike so that they can tailor their curation even more.

The long wait time is because it is a small company and each box is personally curated (the Sarahs personally do most of the boxes). With almost 2000 orders on launch day alone, many with multiple totes, this takes time. Before September, shipping was the Friday of the week after you ordered. However, starting in September, they now start curating and shipping on launch day and ship out every day based on time that you ordered(some people in California had their totes two days later). More changes are coming next month with the new website, including a more detailed style profile.

I would encourage you to give them another chance - it really is a great company with responsive customer support.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure why they have to reach out to you and "make it right"? All the rules are so clear....do they have to treat you differently because you have a blog??

Less Than Reality said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Less Than Reality said...

They actually did reach out to me in response to correspondence I sent directly, so that was fine. And no, I don't expect them to make it right because I have a blog. I expected them to make it right because that is part of the role of the customer service team. Having a blog is just a way to share my opinion, which I am rightfully entitled to.

Realistically, I can understand not liking the items - the point of Golden Tote is that it is a surprise. A major problem was the shipping time. The commenter above notes the reasons they have delays, which is fine, but the delays were excessive, even beyond what the email I received conveyed.

I am sure they have some stuff worked out by now; I may try again in a few months. We will see. As noted in this article, there definitely were some positives to the service and once more kinks are worked out, it'll likely be great.