Yes, there’s yet another subscription based website on the interwebs. If you’re feeling like you’re on subscription overload and are tired of sites that just don’t deliver, you have to try Little Black Bag. It’s a bit complicated to start so let me explain…
Little Black Bag is based on Japan’s Fukubukuro retail events, where people trade in the streets to wrangle the ultimate finds. LBB is an online version of this where users buy a virtual “bag” and have the chance to trade for 7 days to make their bags perfect.
|The contents of my LBB. Do you love it?!|
Step1: The Quiz
First you take a quiz to determine your personal style and brand likes. This helps the LBB “stylists” decide what items in the current gallery you might be into.
Step2: Choosing your 1st Item
After your quiz is completed, you are free to roam the starting gallery and pick out your first item. Items in the gallery can range from $9 to $100. The suggested retail value of each item is shown . You can pick the item you adore the most and then the “stylists” will choose 2 or 3 additional items to put in you virtual bag. There are many recognizable brands such as Kenneth Cole, Butter London, and Steve Madden, and some lesser knowns as well. The cost for this is $49.95 (+shipping). You may love your items and want to keep them, or you may hate them. No worries. That’s when the fun begins.
Once you have a bag, including a chosen item and your additional LBB selected items, you can begin the trading process. You have 7 days to virtually trade your items with other LBB members that currently have an active bag open on the site. It’s part strategy and part luck, which makes the shopping fun last that much longer. Some of these items you may have not seen before since they have all been given/chosen to members for their open “bags”. You are alerted on the site and by email when someone offers you a trade
(although the email notifications are sometimes buggy). (Update: It seems you only get notified for trades that are close in value to your item.) It’s also helpful to send out requests for items that you really want. You can even trade two of your items for one item you just have to have.
Once a trade request is sent out for a particular item, everyone who currently has that item in their bag receives it. So be sure to jump on a trade right away if it can get you something great. If you sent an outgoing request and someone accepts, then the trade happens automatically and you’ll be notified by email. If at any point you decide before the 7 days are up that you don’t want to let anything in your bag go, just press the Ship My Bag button and your items will be on their way. Otherwise, your bag will just ship automatically once your 7 day trading period is up.
Once the bag ships, LBB will send you a box with the items in your “bag”, all nicely wrapped for you. You can only have one active bag open at a time, but you can get consecutive bags as much as you’d like. At the beginning of the next month, they’ll let you know a new bag is waiting and you can choose to “skip” that month and not be charged the $49.95 fee. You can always decided to open a bag later should you decide to skip initially. If you receive your bag and you don’t like an item after all, you can return it for a prorated credit.
I’ve only completed one bag so far, but I already have tips and my personal trading style that let me to get the items in my bag.
1. Be AGGRESSIVE!
On LBB, its advantageous to know what you want. If you see an item that you really like, be proactive and put a trade request out for it. Don’t just wait for requests to come to you.
2. Don’t be scared.
It’s suggested that you try to trade withing $10 of your item’s value. Ex. If you want to trade your $14 earrings for a $35 clutch, that is a bigger jump and less likely to get accepted. That, however, does not mean that it won’t get accepted. It’s really up to you. I’ve seen crazy trades that seemed unlikely, but you don’t want to go offering your $14 earrings for a $100 necklace all the time. Your name shows up with your trade request and people will remember you. Moderation is key.
3. Keep a close eye on the NEWS section.
In this section you can see who’s opened a new bag, what’s inside it, and who has traded what with who. That gives you a better idea of which items trade well, who opened a bag with items that they might not like, and will also show you which items are “HOT” at the moment.
When you see a person has opened a new bag, the first item listed (from left to right) is likely the one that they chose. That means they may be less likely to give it up, but it’s worth a shot.
4. Don’t cancel trade requests
Once you have made an outgoing request, it can be seen once you click on the item you offered in your bag. Each respective item will state how many people have it and how many have passed on your offer. If everyone has passed on your offer, don’t get discouraged and cancel it. If another member gets that item in a trade or opens a bag with the item, your request will go to them as well, and they may be take you up on it.
5. Nevermind the retail value
It’s true that the retail values can give you a general idea of the item’s quality, but it’s really about what catches your eye the most. There were some $100 items that I would never ever wear, so it would do me no good to trade my amazing $30 item for it. Sometimes I think folks get caught up in getting a “high value” bag, and forget that they should really enjoy what they are getting. So enjoy the excitement, but stay focused!
6. Do your research
If you think you might like an item, but aren’t sure about the picture, or quality, do a quick Google search ahead of time. Many of these items are online for sale somewhere and you can run into reviews, and more detailed descriptions. Ex. I found that my Disney Couture “Fantasy” necklace was 14k gold plated, but it was not mentioned in the LBB description. It’s best to know this before you get an incoming request or make an outgoing request so you don’t have to spend time pondering or making funky trades. Also, sizing is sometimes hard to interpret, so make sure you get out that ruler and know the dimensions of the item you’re eyeing.
7. Chose your opening day wisely
Trading is hottest during the 1st week or two of the month. The 1st of the month will vary as far as which day of the week it falls on, but if you join on a Wednesday, I think that is the ultimate day! New items are put into the starting gallery on Monday or Tuesday (Though new things can show up other days as well). If you Join on a Wednesday, you get to grab items that came in that week, and also get to see if anything you love will show up the next week, before your trading time ends on the next Wednesday. Perfect!
8. Don’t ship your bag too soon.
You may be tempted to ship your bag well before the 7 days are up, but don’t give in! You never know what can start to show up in the gallery or what person will decide to take you up on an offer you thought you’d never get. Sometimes its all about timing.
I hope this breakdown was helpful to you. I’ve tried to cover everything, but do give the Help section on LBB a visit to make sure you’ve got it all. I’ll try to add details/tips as it think of them and open more bags. If this post made you want to join, please click on my referral link here, or any of the LBB links above. I’ll get a free item next month if you decide to buy a bag and you can get your friends to do the same once you join.
*You can also use the code facebook10 through the end of the month to get 10% off your bag. Tax applies for NY and CA residents but its less the $5