Hop Shop Go experience
I made a few orders from Forever 21 and Amazon recently, using a shipping service called Hop Shop Go. I used this service because international shipping rates from Forever 21 are quite steep normally, and the items I ordered from Amazon were not available for shipment outside the US. Therefore, I signed up to Hop Shop Go for free and decided to use their service to provide me with a US address I could get packages delivered to, and then have HSG deliver everything to me in my home in Australia.
I placed an order on Forever 21 and got free domestic shipping for my order worth $62, as you get free shipping for orders over $50 within the US. For international orders this order worth $62 would've cost $48 for shipping. In the billing address I put in my normal address in Australia, and for the shipping address I logged into Hop Shop Go to find my US address. It was some place in Oregon and I just put that in.
After the order was processed, and shipped from Forever 21 to the address in Oregon, I received a notification email from Hop Shop Go saying my order had arrived. The email also said at the bottom "We provide free storage for your package in the U.S. up to 30 days." This is not entirely true, as if you go to this page here you only get 15 days of free storage, and only Hop Shop Go Prime rewards members get 30 free storage days. You won't become a Prime member if this is your first shipment using HSG's services, so I really only got 15 free storage days.
I actually overlooked the fact that storage fees existed at all and ended up paying $62.15 to Hop Shop Go because of the storage fees included. This sucked, as this meant I paid more than if I had simply ordered from Forever 21 directly and paid $48 for international shipping.
Nonetheless, this mistake of mine makes for a really good lesson to myself in the future and to any readers of my blog who might be interested in using Hop Shop Go. The broader lesson is to read the fine print and to log into your account, to check if there were any unexpected fees added on. In this case, I found out you only get 15 free storage days and according to that page here, you cop $1 storage fee per extra day past those 15 days.
My initial plan was to consolidate several different packages together and then ship them out all at once, to save on shipping fees. However as the storage fees had become quite high already ($33) and would only be creeping up more and more with each day, I decided to ship this package out first.
I then received this shipping confirmation email. Below are also the additional costs Hop Shop Go charged.
(I blanked out the shipment reference no. and shipping address).
more after the link below:
Total declared value:
$62.38. This is the value of the items in the package from Forever 21. These are not included in HSG's charges because I already paid for them to Forever 21.
$33. As I already mentioned, my stupid mistake was not knowing HSG charged storage fees past the 15 days of free storage.
International shipping charges:
$3.36. Calculation of fuel surcharge is explained here.
This means that had I not incurred the storage fees, and if I had shipped this package out by itself, using Hop Shop Go's service is still cheaper than international shipping directly from Forever 21:
Forever 21 would've charged $48 for international shipping to Australia, and Hop Shop Go would've charged me $29.15. This is a saving of $18.85. Despite the inclusion of fuel surcharges and mandatory insurance, it was still cheaper to use Hop Shop Go.
The shipping from Hop Shop Go was also very fast. That shipping notification email was sent on the 22nd of July and I received the package on the 26th.
Would I use Hop Shop Go again?
I like how HSG provides notification emails for when your package arrives at the US address they provide you. When you log into your account at HSG, you can easily see how many storage days you have left, how much in storage fees you have incurred, and the invoices for each package. (I obviously did not log into HSG very often at all so I totally missed seeing all those unexpected storage fees.)
If you however remember to log in regularly or simply never leave your packages over the 15 day storage limit however, HSG is actually a very useful service. Some places impose such ridiculously high international shipping fees, and some places might not even ship to your country at all. With HSG you can access all those items you need and often at a lower shipping rate. So for those situations, then yes I would use HSG again.
Forever 21 review
Forever 21 is a clothing chain store that is really popular in the US and Canada, and seems to market itself towards teens and young women looking for the latest trends at very affordable prices. No physical stores have opened up in Australia, but international shipping is available on the Forever 21 website. However in the past few years I think the shipping fees have become quite unreasonable, by increasing with the more you purchase. Before that, there was a cap where above this amount, international shipping would be free. Now it seems there is no longer that incentive to add more to your cart. This is why I resorted to Hop Shop Go to cut down those shipping fees.
For those of my readers who haven't been able to physically walk into a Forever 21 and check the stock out themselves, I've done a little review of the stuff I ordered. I know a lot of people are curious about the quality of Forever 21's products because of how popular this brand is. Most of the items here are sold out however because of how long ago I ordered them.
Meow Kitten Top (currently sold out)
My little sister really wanted to order this one top, and I thought this might be a good opportunity to try out Hop Shop Go. I wanted to get free domestic shipping first so I tried to make the items in the cart add up to at least $50. To do this I stuffed it with some random things I really didn't need, now that I look at them in hindsight.
For this top, the material is actually very thin and I had expected something a bit thicker like a jumper. However it doesn't look cheap, and as soon as I took it out of the packaging my sister and I both squealed in delight over how cute it was! Suuuuper cute in person and I think it fits more like a cropped top and the sleeves aren't long enough either, which I suspect is probably why it went on sale. However the seemingly poor design is more like a win for my little sister, as she is so tiny and petite that this top just fits like a normal top on her. I really wanted to take photos of how this looks in person but she wouldn't let me >:(
Beaded Shells Top (currently sold out)
I honestly don't remember ordering this! Oh well. This came in a separate plastic wrapper of its own, probably to protect the delicate beading. Overall it's a really cute top and the quality is reasonable for what you pay for. It would be really difficult over here to find something like this under $20. This is definitely something I'd wear a lot when summer comes around. I'm anticipating that the whole mermaid/aquatic trend is going to be big in the next few seasons so the jade colour and the seashell-like embellishments are perfect.
Asymmetrical Peplum Dress (currently sold out)
(gee this model looks like she's about to disappear..)
For a dress like this over here in our local chain stores you'd expect to pay at least $40. However like I said with the top above, you are getting what you pay for and I personally think $50 is the limit for a dress like this.
Leopard Pattern Bodycon Skirt
I don't remember ordering this either haha! I'd be very surprised to see a skirt like this instore for a little over $10 though, so I'm happy I still scored a bargain. The quality of this skirt is pretty average. It's super comfortable to wear as the waistband at the top is quite loose and generous, and the material is thin and unrestrictive.
Scalloped microfibre and lace underwear (currently sold out)
Aaand I'm not going to model this one. Obviously haha. But it does look true to the picture, and it's realllly comfortable! Love touching it!
I think Forever 21 is definitely worth the hype and if they ever opened shop down in Australia (and maintained similar prices to the US), they would be HUGE and really give a lot of the stores here a run for their money. This is because the quality is actually quite good for what I've reviewed, and these low prices are so unheard of. There are a bunch of random boutique stores over here that also aim to sell trendy stuff at low prices but Forever 21 has that extra edge because of its existing reputation overseas, so ultimately I really believe Forever 21 will be very, very competitive over here. As for how consistent sizing is, I got size Small for all the items and they all fit like sizes 6-8 Australian.
If you end up using a service like Hop Shop Go and the shipping is cheaper than it would be to order from Forever 21 directly, then even including shipping fees you are definitely getting what you pay for (maybe more!) from Forever 21. However with those shipping fees Forever 21 imposes on international buyers for direct orders, this might make everything more expensive than what they're worth.
I have three more packages sitting at my US address, waiting to be shipped out again using Hop Shop Go. This is why this review is part 1, and when I get those three packages (mix of Forever 21 and Amazon stuff) I'll do a part 2 review.