Review: Shopaholiques US Parcel Forwarding Service

Posted: October 7, 2011 in Fashion, Reviews, Shopping
Tags: , , , ,

A few weeks ago, I had a ticket to attend a formal event at Crown Palladium to mark the end of the football season. Naturally, occasions such as this call for a new outfit, so I set off to the CBD to look for the perfect dress. After two days of searching every inch of Myer, DJs and Melbourne Central, I was extremely disappointed. My budget was around $300 but everything I saw was either too short, too revealing, too casual, the wrong colour, too expensive or too polyester. Out of frustration, I turned my attention to Google and was able to quickly find exactly what I wanted in a wide range of US-based stores.

Ordering from the US was surprisingly easy. Although not many stores ship to Australia, most accept international credit cards, which means that all you need is a third-party forwarder. After a bit of research, I decided to go with Fiona at Shopaholiques, who offers both a parcel forwarding service and a purchasing service (for those websites that don’t accept Australian credit cards). The best part about Fiona’s service is that she is located in New Jersey, which means that there is no sales tax payable on clothing or shoes, saving you around 8%.

Since I was purchasing from sites that accepted my Australian credit card, I didn’t need to contact Fiona first – I just put the order in using her address as the shipping address. After ordering, I used to contact form on her site to let her know how many orders I was expecting and where they were from.

My first purchase was the ‘Arjeta’ silk-jersey dress from Tory Burch which was reduced from $348 USD to $174 USD. I thought this would be a great dress to wear to the office in summer.

My second purchase was the ‘Palais’ dress from BCBG Max Azria which cost $248 USD. This is the one that I wanted to wear to my formal event.

I needed my dresses in a hurry, so Fiona ensured that they were sent via USPS International Express Mail. This option cost me around $50 USD for 3.5 pounds (approx 1.5kgs) including tracking (as opposed to approx $30 USD for First Class mail with no tracking) and the dresses arrived within five business days of being posted!

I was very happy with the dresses and thought the fabric quality was amazing. The best part was that I didn’t have to worry about seeing anybody else walking down the street in the same clothes (how often have you seen this with Country Road or Cue dresses?!)! More importantly, I felt like I was able to get a much higher quality garment for my money from the US than what I could buy for an equivalent price in Australia.

Shopaholiques is very good value for the service Fiona provides. She charges a base rate of $20 to forward one package, then $2 per additional package to consolidate. You then pay the shipping costs and Paypal fees on top of that. I was very impressed with the personal service that I received. Fiona is very organised, replies to emails within 24 hours and is super-friendly, helpful and reliable. I would definitely use her service again and am already planning my next order!

Tips for shopping for clothing online:

  1. Measure, measure, measure!  – utilise the measurement charts provided by stores to ensure the perfect fit.
  2. Order early if you need your clothing for a special occasion – the whole process of ordering and parcel forwarding usually takes a minimum of 1-2 weeks. If you need something urgently, plan ahead and use premium mail services to avoid mail delays.
  3. Take advantage of opposing seasons – You can make great savings by buying winter stock in the US end-of-season sales just as it is arriving in stores in Australia
  4. Check the return policy – if your order arrives and isn’t what you expected, make sure you can easily send it back for a refund/exchange.
  5. Utilise rewards sites for cashback – one thing the US does well is coupons and cashback. Sites such as eBates offer a percentage of your purchase back as cash on every order from a wide range of retailers.
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