Last year I found a top on Aliexpress that I loved so I decided to order it. The order went through fine and the item got marked as dispatched so I waited eagerly for it to arrive. I then received an email a good few days later stating the item was out of stock and I needed to open a case to get my money back. It took a while but I did get my refund, the transaction put me off wanting to use Aliexpress again. However, at the start of November last year I found out about the Chinese singles day sales (its a bit like Black Friday) where most items would be discounted and you could even play games to earn money off vouchers. The sales take place over on Taobao too.
Singles’ Day Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singles’_Day
I decided to try Aliexpress again as other people had ordered items without any issue so I guess I was just unlucky with my first purchase. There are lots of tips online about how to spot good sellers from bad and about understanding feedback scores. I tried reading some of these but found it confusing so in the end if the seller had been going for at least a year and had mostly good feedback I decided to risk it. Or in one case they were selling the item cheapest so I gambled.
I placed my order in two parts as I ended up coming back later in the day and finding more stuff that I wanted. You add the items you want to your cart where it totals the amount and it separates it by seller. You can then check out and pay for it all in one go. One thing to note is that you have to pay by card, there’s no paypal option, also I made the mistake of not changing the currency and checked out in USD incurring a conversion fee on my card. It wasn’t a high amount but I could have avoided it by altering the currency. So, on to the items.
*My first purchase was for this adorable sheep hand warmer from the seller TQ Plush Toys Factory.
Store Link: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/236253
I’d seen one before at Hyper Japan but didn’t buy it and then I’d regretted it ever since so when I found one I had to buy it. Plus it’s so cute, how could you not? You couldn’t select which colour you wanted, it was random. The item cost $8.55 (approx £6) and shipping was free. I don’t have any packaging photos, I seem to have accidently deleted them. It came in a standard grey plastic postage packet but it was clear the item had been stuffed in it as it was so tight. It was packed as tight as was physically possible. It’s only by luck that once opened the sheep bounced back and wasn’t left with any nasty creases on the fabric. The sheepy was inside a clear pastic bag to keep them clean but when I took them out the bag I noticed a large dirty mark on one horn. I don’t understand how this can happen if they are kept in bags, unless the original bag had been torn so they put it in a new one. I don’t know if they knew it was damaged or not when they sent it. Luckily I got the mark mostly off but the fabric looks a bit ruffed up on that patch. I didn’t open a dispute with the shop as the mark mostly came off and given it only cost £6 I didn’t see the point.
Product: It was exactly like I expected and is true to the description. The fur is very soft and it’s nicely made. It’s a bargain at £6-ish. I’d give it 5/5
Shipping: The item arrived on the 1st December, it was the first thing to come. It took 20 days, so I think that’s pretty good and it’s to be expected. 5/5
Packaging: The item was in a bag inside the plastic postage packet. The packet was too tight for the item really, they should have used a larger one. 4/5
Shop: They shipped the item quite fast but the way they packed it shows they don’t overly care. The fact the item was also damaged means I’m unlikely to use them again. 3/5
*My second order was to House of Novelty for a whole load of cute stationary.
Store link: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/613287?spm=2114.10010108.0.35.yUoSYQ
I placed one order in the morning but found more stuff I wanted later on. The total order included 17 items and cost $25.59 (approx £18) I could easily have spent more, it was so hard to resist. Again the shipping was free. They packed the two orders together and put the items in a strong box, it even had bubble wrap around it. Everything arrived perfect and was all in individual packets. The items were all Christmas gifts for friends so I can’t say what the quality of stuff is like, it all looked great. The face cloths weren’t great quality and the colours are quite pale, I don’t think they would last long but the small towel was nice and soft. I’m not going to add all the stock photos as I bought too much stuff but everything looked exactly like expected.
1st part of order:
Set of 8 Rilakkuma stickers $1.59 (approx £1.12)
Rilakkuma memo folding book $1.23 (approx £0.86)
x2 Hello Kitty sticker sheets $1.16 each, $2.32 (approx £1.63) in total
1 fox masking tape random design $1.41 (approx £0.99)
Alpaca sticker sheet $1.34 (approx £0.94)
Rilakkuma memo notes $0.75 (approx £0.53)
Rilakkuma memo notes $0.75 (approx £0.53)
X2 decorative tapes $1.32 each, $2.64 total (approx £1.85)
2nd part of order:
Rilakkuma sticker sheet $1.27 (approx £0.90)
Sentimental Circus rabbit memo folding book $1.66 (approx £1.16)
Wooden owl pegs $1.59 (approx £1.12)
Pink 26x47cm Hello Kitty face towel $2.39 (approx £1.70)
Rilakkuma playing cards $2.35 (approx £1.65)
Blue 20x20cm Hello Kitty face/hand towel $2.15 (approx £1.52)
Purple 20x20cm Hello Kitty face’hand towel $2.15 (approx £1.52)
Product: Everything was exactly like I expected and true to the description. It’s all super cute and overall I think it’s worth what I spent. I wouldn’t bother with the face cloths again though. 5/5
Shipping: This was the last order to come and didn’t arrive until the 15th of December, it took 34 days to arrive, so just over a month to come roughly. 4/5
Packaging: All the items were carefully packed inside some bubble wrap and put in a small box. The box was fairly strong and certainly protected everything. They also added a little note. 5/5
Shop: I love everything that I bought and it was carefully packed so even though it took a while to come I would buy from them again. 5/5