Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Featured: The Sample Store & Cherchez Beauté is now an official The Sample Store blogger!

Hello dear readers, it's mid-week and I hope you're holding up fine. Today I have two things to share with you: a very interesting local e-store and a good piece of news.

When buying make up and skincare products, full-sized products sometimes leave a bad taste in your mouth (not literally, I hope) if they are not compatible with you or your lifestyle. I've experienced my fair share of failed purchases, which I bought because they looked promising on the shelf, but ended up chucking aside once they proved to be unsuitable for me.

Enter The Sample Store. The Sample Store was born out of the ingenious concept of providing a wide range of samples at a low cost. It stocks a wide variety of sample-sized products (e.g. beauty, skincare, food, health etc.) for both women and men, and works on a point-based system. Basically, you receive 8 points when you first sign up. Each sample costs 2 points to redeem, and you are allowed to redeem up to 4 samples after paying S$3.99 for postage costs. Once you have used up all your points, you can write reviews on products you have redeemed or other products you have used in the past. Each review earns you 2 points (which is the equivalent of 1 sample), allowing you to redeem more samples.

This is a very effective system, as users are encouraged to review the samples for other users' benefit. Before I redeem a sample, I make sure to check out what other users have to say about that particular sample, which is why user reviews are so influential. When I review products, I feel a sense of gratification that my views are being noticed as well, so it benefits both the reviewer and the user reading the review.

If you were wondering what kinds of samples you can redeem, let me share with you one of my recent sample "haul"s. More details after the jump!

Clockwise, from L-R: Lucidol-L Hair Treatment Water (travel size/45ml), YouC1000 Vitamin C - Lemon Flavour (140ml), Bifesta Cleansing Sebum Lotion (travel size/30ml), Goodskin Labs Smooth-365 Intensive Clarity + Smoothing Peptide Serum (sample pack/2ml)

Samples vs. retail prices
Amusingly enough, they really mailed me a full-sized bottle of drink. That's already enough to offset more than half of the postage cost! Since these samples cost my S$3.99 for postage, I paid about S$1 per sample. That's fantastic value for money, even if you look at it as a small purchase. Just take a look at the retail prices of some of the items...

Sold at Watsons: On the left, Bifesta Cleansing Sebum Lotion (travel size/45ml) retailing for S$4.20. On the right, Lucidol-L Hair Treatment Water (travel size/45ml) retailing for S$5.80.

Sold at 7/11: YouC1000 Vitamin C - Lemon Flavour (140ml) retailing for S$2.30.

Value-for-money samples
If you do the math, you'll realise that I received at least S$12.30 (not including Goodskin Labs Smooth-365 Intensive Clarity + Smoothing Peptide Serum sample) worth of products but only paid S$3.99 for them! That's more than 300% in savings, plus I save money on getting smaller sized products to test before I purchase the more expensive full-sized products which may not work for me. For your reference, Lucidol-L Lucidol-L Hair Treatment Water (250ml) retails at S$11.50 and Bifesta Cleansing Sebum Lotion (300ml) retails at S$16.90 at Watsons. I get way more value for money from The Sample Store travel-sized samples of these products than if I were to buy them for Watsons.

My experiences with the recent sample haul
For my recent sample haul, I really enjoyed using the Lucidol-L Hair Treatment Water as it's non-sticky, moisturising and smooths out my hair. I may consider getting the full-sized version. The YouC1000 Vitamin C Lemon Flavour drink was refreshing and totally worth the S$1 as it's a full-sized product. I already have the Bifesta Cleansing Sebum Lotion (full-sized), which is wonderful for cleansing and oil control, and this would be useful as a travel-sized equivalent, for the low cost of S$1. By the way, all of these samples are still available. Act fast to redeem them, especially the travel-sized products, before they go out of stock forever!

The Sample Store special promotions
From time to time, The Sample Store bundles many samples (50 or so) into one TSS Beauty Box, which is usually available for S$10 or so, depending on the number/type of samples. I bought the TSS Beauty Box (48 samples for S$4.99) and even managed to add 3 other samples to the package, free of charge! It was a fantastic deal, and ever since the launch of the first beauty box, TSS has had 3 other beauty boxes and a few other beauty kits that have sold out within as quickly as 2 days after their launch.

This is my box of samples. I received so many of them from the TSS Beauty Box that I haven't finished using many of them! I must admit, looking at them makes me feel glad - I'm a hoarder, yes.

The Sample Store retail products
If The Sample Store doesn't already sound really tempting to you, it also retails full-sized products for a lower price than brick-and-mortar stores! A nice touch to a sample e-store, in my opinion.

You should know what to do now
Just sign up for an account on The Sample Store and start redeeming your 4 samples! Later on, you'll have to review samples to gain points to redeem more samples, but don't worry, the process is very painless. The reviews require you to rate the products on a few categories, describe the product in a few words and indicate whether you'd be willing to buy the full-sized product.

That being said, more popular samples do run out fairly quickly, so do subscribe to their email updates and "like" them on Facebook for the latest samples, promotions and contests!

Good news: Cherchez Beauté is officially a The Sample Store blogger!
I hope you find The Sample Store as useful and cost-effective as I have found it. And here's my piece of good news: Cherchez Beauté is officially a The Sample Store blogger, as you may have noticed from my right sidebar. I'm so excited at the prospect of receiving products for review and event invitations, as I strongly believe in the concept behind The Sample Store, and would be willing to support them in all my capacity. I hope that the next blogger invitation/review will arrive soon, so I that I'm able to share my experiences with my dear readers.

Thank you for reading my long posts, and I hope you have a great week ahead!

Rachel loves sharing about the beautiful things in life from different perspectives. She writes on beauty and lifestyle in Cherchez Beauté , and does more abstract stuff on Antelune . When she's not writing, she's playing with her dog Holly, doodling and reading fiction. You can follow her on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .