Popsugar’s epic fail. A tale of scandal and woe.

Have you heard of the PopSugar Must Have box? I’ve written about it many times, because I was one of their biggest fans. Once a month, they send out a subscription box. To me, receiving a box each month felt like a surprise “care package;” boxes are filled with a curated assortment of full-size, premium goodies. Items vary, but always include a selection of beauty, fashion, food, and lifestyle products.

Typically, there were a few items in each box that I really liked, as well as a few that are just okay, but since I have a tween daughter, nothing in the box ever went unused (and I always had a great supply of stocking stuffers and Easter basket goodies)!

Several times a year, PopSugar releases an indulgent Special Edition box. The cost is high – normally $100 – but the items are normally wow-worthy. I’ve splurged on a couple of Special Edition boxes and have been really happy with the contents, especially since the retail value of the items was always much higher than the price I had paid for the box. Last month, PopSugar released a super-premium box. In partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, this box had a very high price point ($200!) but promised both “coveted brands and emerging designers” as well as a retail value of $600.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 9.28.08 PM

The PopSugar CFDA box sold out in two hours. I splurged and got one. You know how much I love fashion…and I figured I could do some thrift-store reselling to make up for the ding in my budget.

I was thrilled to get the box in the mail yesterday, and could hardly wait to see what was inside. I immediately opened it up.

PopSugar CFDA

I always love how the items are wrapped – makes the reveal more fun.

PopSugar CFDA

The first item was a hardcover book by Diane Von Furstenberg. DVF happens to be one of my favorite designers, but I must admit that I was not expecting a book. A scarf, perhaps, but a book? Not so much. No worries, though. I have kind of a long commute, so I’m always happy for a good read. However, the claimed value was $28…and we all know that’s just not right. But..whatever. I was definitely willing to cut them some slack.

PopSugar CFDA

Next up was a lipstick from Anna Sui. Again, not what I was expecting in a Fashion box…and definitely not my color…and with a “value” of $30?? Hmm.PopSugar CFDA The third item was even more disappointing: a Marc by Marc Jacobs bangle that is currently being sold at discounters such as TJ Maxx for $30 (nothing wrong with discount shopping – love the thrill of the hunt! – but this bracelet does not belong in this box). “Value” was listed at $80. PopSugar CFDA This next item – a pair of Maiyet earrings – was the one that caused the most uproar in the subscription box community. PopSugar valued them at $395 (I know)!! As if that weren’t enough, the price listed for the exact same earrings on the Maiyet site was $295. A few upset people took screen shots, and a lot of upset people emailed PopSugar about the discrepancy…and then, mysteriously, the earrings shot up in price on the Maiyet site later in the day to $395 (I know)!!!!


As the story developed, the earrings went back down to $295 on the Maiyet site, but PopSugar stayed mum. Personally, I watched with interest, but held back from the fray (mainly because I was insanely busy at work, and also I figured that I had gambled and lost). However, I’m getting sidetracked here. On to the next item.PopSugar CFDA Sigh. When I unwrapped this, I was mystified. ANOTHER beauty item in said Fashion box? Value $36?? Also – didn’t Rachel Zoe just do this??PopSugar CFDA The final item was – finally – something that fit the vibe of what I was expecting. This market bag from Apolis and Claire V is useful, fun, and really well-made. I would definitely use it often, since here in Oakland we need to BYO Bags to the store. Value was $68, and while I wouldn’t seek out a $68 market bag, if I got one in a PopSugar fashion box, I would be very happy.PopSugar CFDAInstead, I was super disappointed. $200 is a LOT of money to spend on ANYTHING, let alone not what I was expecting. If the items had all truly been from “coveted brands and emerging designers” as well as had a retail value of anywhere near $600, I would have been happy. But I was not. I was very unhappy.

Until I saw this float through the community:

PopSugar cfda

Apparently the outcry was so huge that PopSugar had to do something about it. I will definitely be returning my box for a refund, and in the future: caveat emptor.

Buyer beware!

Did any of you get a CFDA box? What do you think about the contents? How about the way PopSugar handled it? I’d love to know!



  1. Wow! I can not believe the stuff they put in the box! That’s horrible. I don’t subscribe to these monthly boxes, but I would be fuming if this is what I got. I’m glad they’re giving you the option to return. Who were they trying to fool?!?

  2. Timeloss says:

    I don’t intend to be mean but… I want the last 3 minutes of my life back. I wish I could UNread this. Is there a way to send this experience back (perhaps inside the same pointless Popsugar box)?

    • Points Pixie says:

      Timeloss – And I don’t intend to be condescending but…why didn’t you just stop reading? A couple of tips for you:

      1) If a blog post has a title that looks like it might not be interesting to you, proceed with caution! Understand that there are many different types of people in the world with many different interests, and that you may not be interested in the subject matter of every blogger/every post.

      2) Once you begin to read a blog post, you can stop at any point! No need to keep reading if you aren’t enjoying what you read.

      I know this skill is challenging for some, but if you practice really hard and stick with it, you might be successful.

      Best of luck! I’ll give you a head start by NOT READING any of your future comments 🙂

    • Timeloss – WTH?! What a weird comment. Wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

      • Points Pixie says:

        Carrie – Some people apparently lose control of their eyes once they start reading blog posts and cannot stop reading. Instead, they feel compelled to criticize in the comments. Fortunately, there is a cure, but unfortunately, most of the afflicted refuse to seek help. 😉

  3. This one would’ve had me livid as well! I only splurge occasionally, but have really lucked out when I do. The Apolis and Claire V bag is about the only worthy item in the whole lot. I have to wonder who’s been curating some of the higher end boxes recently…

  4. What a fail! I tried Popsugar must have one month (with a discount code of course) and I was not pleased with the regular box. I got a candy dish (??), a cheap dollar-store looking scarf “valued” at $98, a vampy lipstick, and some other nonsense. Even at the regular price, I canceled immediately. I’ll stick to birch box and ipsy

    • Points Pixie says:

      Angelina – I remember that box! I agree that it was awful as well. On the whole, the boxes I’ve received have been pretty solid, but every so often there is one that is not so good. However, usually they don’t cost $200!!!

  5. Christine says:

    Sorry, but I have to echo Angelina. I tried a popsugar box and was thoroughly disappointed. A stale brownie, an unsharpened pencil (who has pencil sharpeners anymore?), five note cards and a scarf with an unappealing print on it. Thankfully, I also used a discount code. I cancelled immediately but the next box had already been sent. I then had to make a trip to the post office to return the unopened box. I was immediately credited so I give popsugar that. Just soured me on the whole experience but, then again, I ask my family to give me consumables if they want to give me a gift because I just don’t need anymore “things.”

    • Points Pixie says:

      Christine – Ugh, sounds like a bad experience! While PopSugar was the original lifestyle box (and was the best, in my opinion), I do think that the whole “subscription box” craze might have run its course.

      • Christine says:

        Just one more example of too much of a good thing gets diluted by too many entering the arena.

  6. Thanks for the review & glad I didn’t order this one

  7. Rebecca says:

    What a bizarre box! I was, of course, tempted as I often am with their special boxes. But SUPER glad I didn’t splurge, such odd contents.

    Generally I do love their monthly boxes. Some months are a bit blah, but some months are fabulous. Anything I don’t like, I throw into my “gifting box” and save for the holidays, friends birthdays etc.

    Can’t wait to see what their next special box is!

    • Points Pixie says:

      Rebecca – Sounds like you are still willing to trust PopSugar even after this. I’m not sure I will…not sure what they are thinking right now!

      • Rebecca says:

        Well, I’m not really up for a $200 box. But I’ve loved some of their boxes in the past, including some of their special $100 limited edition boxes. There was a recent Target fitness box that I’m super bummed I missed. It had loads of cool stuff including a FitBit ($50-100 alone). And I’ve loved some of their special holiday boxes and gotten really cool things.

        I did put my monthly box on hold, but will likely try again sometime.

        It sounds like they screwed up royally this time, but I’m hopeful they’ve learned. The fact that they’re offering refunds tells me they’re listening.

        • Rebecca says:

          BTW – their limited edition Summer box just went on sale today….

          • Points Pixie says:

            Rebecca – I saw that! Wonder how it will do.

          • Rebecca says:

            I just ordered the summer box ($100). I missed it last year and was sad. Given the tropical climate I live in, I hope there will be some treasures. Despite their huge flop with the fashion box, I’m optimistic the next Limited Edition will make up for it to win their customers back. Holding out hope!

        • Points Pixie says:

          Rebecca – I am rooting for them, as well! Just don’t really trust their next few boxes to be amazing.

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