Thursday, April 26, 2012

alice fururun + sheep's garden review

Today I'm going to review the secondhand store Alice Fururun!  This store is much lesser known than Closet Child, which seems to be the number one secondhand website for lolita, but I honestly prefer it because the prices are a lot cheaper.  Most of their pieces are under 20000 yen, including prints, which usually sell for a little bit more at other secondhand shops, and they carry a wide variety of brands.  I was searching through this website, along with every other secondhand site, in desperate hope of finding a Tiara Rose JSK in sax blue.  I didn't find the dress I was looking for, but I accidentally stumbled across another one of my dream dresses; the Sheep's Garden OP in black.

It was for a fantastic price, too!  This print wasn't very popular, but I loved it nonetheless; besides, it was popular enough for it to usually catch a $200+ price tag most places.  However, I found it for sale for 12000 yen, so I jumped on that.  Well, I wanted to.  I was still really looking for Tiara Rose so that I could wear it for my senior prom, and I didn't want to give that dream up because I had wanted to wear that dress to prom since it was released in 2009.  So I had to put it aside and try to put it out of my mind, because I simply did not have the money to buy two Angelic Pretty dresses in the same time span.  However, I worked hard, and made more money than I thought I was going to, so I was able to get both dresses after all!

I bought Tiara Rose the same day that I found Sheep's Garden, so I was completely shot of money then.  I had to wait about two months to make enough money to get Sheep's Garden (can you tell that I don't work very many hours?) and I was terrified that it was going to be sold out when I finally got money, but it never did.  I was so happy, so I took the paycard that I got from work, made a PayPal account with it, and put it in my cart and checked out.  I was super excited!

But then, it didn't work.  No matter how many times I tried to pay the invoice, I just couldn't.  I knew it had to be something on PayPal's end, so I looked all over their website until I found a tiny little note that said, "Pre-paid debit and credit cards are not allowed to make purchases."  Well, I get paid with the equivalent to a pre-paid credit card, so I thought that I was pretty much screwed.  I had gotten the invoice but wasn't able to pay it, so I felt for sure that I was going to be blacklisted and never be able to buy from them again.  (I've never actually heard of Alice Fururun doing this but I was still scared!)

So I was panicing and I asked my mom what to do, so she told me that she would purchase it and I could pay her back, which was fine with me.  I emailed Alice Fururun to say, "Would you resend the invoice to my mother's paypal account?" to which they never answered.  I didn't know what to do, but the footnote to their email said that if you don't receive an invoice, then you should send the money to their email address.  I decided to do this, and then I sent them another email saying that I sent them the money from my mom's email address.

I never heard back from them, so I was scared that I was out $150 as well as possibly being blacklisted from the store.  However, after three days, I got a shipping notice in my email.  They shipped my dress!  Hooray!  I was super happy and so relieved.  I've learned not to use my paycard for PayPal anymore, and I am opening a checking account as soon as possible!

So today I received my item.  Here are the few photos that I took of it:
the packing -- the bag was so adorable!!

The packaging was not the best; I've definitely seen better.  It's customary to ship items overseas in bags, so it seems.  I wasn't really expecting a box.  However, the bags are usually of higher quality, and are made of thick plastic.  This one was just a paper bag with some paper packing tape holding it together in one place!  I wasn't worried that the dress would get damaged, because I've had pretty good experiences so far with packages coming from Japan, but it was still a little bit disconcerting.  The tape came apart from the packaging fairly easily, and when I first pulled it apart, the tape wouldn't stick back to the bag.  The dress was still in perfect shape when I opened it though.  Plus, the bag was super cute: it has an illustration of a bear and it said "Woodland Scenery: Beautiful Season and Refreshing Nature".

rather unsticky tape...
wrapped up nicely in a plastic bag!
the dress!  as wonderful as I imagined :)
All in all, I am glad I found this piece on Alice Fururun.  It was my fault that I messed up with PayPal, so I'm not going to blame that on them, but I'm a little sad that there wasn't more contact.  The lack of contact was actually a little off-putting, but only because I had a problem this time; usually if a store doesn't send any email after the invoice, I'm okay with that, as I don't really need to be updated on every step of the purchase (though I do like getting shipping notifications!)

Overview of Alice Fururun

  • Price - 5/5.  This piece was extremely well priced, and I couldn't even find any flaws on the dress!  The shipping was also about average as it was coming from Japan, if not a little bit cheaper than my other overseas purchases.  This was the best part about the experience.
  • Communication - 3/5.  I was scared when I didn't get a response back from them, but it all worked out in the end, so I guess it turned out alright.  I assume the lack of communication probably stemmed from the language barrier, but it is something to be warned about.
  • Ease of ordering - 5/5.  I used this tutorial for ordering from them, and it was quite easy!  I was intimidated by all of the Japanese, but it wasn't difficult to figure out.  It was kind of a hassle that they didn't take credit cards and they only took PayPal, however, but I know more and more places are doing that nowadays so I wasn't too put off.
  • Total experience - 4.5/5.  The lack of communication wasn't too terrible, but it did leave me feeling just a little bit uneasy, hence the 4.5 instead of a plain old 5.  However, I would definitely order from them again and I would suggest them to anybody else looking for cheap secondhand clothing!

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