My love affair with Althea Korea
Before Althea, I've always just liked Korean beauty products. I found they work well for the price and I enjoy how cute the packaging for the products are but I never really got into K-beauty as a way of life. I think it's because of a lack of access to more unique finds. We have a lot of Korean brands here already and they're so well-priced, too, but I suppose I was missing what the rest of the world is raving about or those good but affordable slipped-in-the-cracks brands that otherwise wouldn't have made it to my radar.
I remember meeting Tammy Lim of Althea Korea last year, when she flew in from Malaysia to meet some of the local beauty writers. She, along with her blogger friend Carol, talked about an online store based in Korea that exclusively sold only K-beauty items. I was like sure, cool, but what's different? We have many good brands here already. She said Althea would offer way more brands and specially curated products for less than the retail price here. I said, ok. I was still unconvinced.
Nevertheless, I became one of the first beta testers before the PH store launched this February. I found shopping experience smooth and hassle-free, and shipping was pretty fast too! I got my package in five business days and this shipping time remained consistent (except for this one occasion, which I will talk about later). Five more of these pink boxes later over the year and now Althea has sort of become my default online shopping paradise whenever I'm thirsty for what's new in K-beauty.
As I mentioned above, shipping time is consistent (between 5-7 business days). I've ordered five times already, during different times this year, and all except one arrived with no problems. My second to the last box though got to me about a month after I paid for it. There were no issues with the box arriving from Korea to PH but for some reason, the local courier would go to my house and say I wasn't there. There was one time I was actually at home when they said I wasn't, and in all six (!) attempts, they never texted to inform me about a package arriving (which they never failed to do previously).
This was stressful to say the least, but I did get to put Althea's customer service to the test. The person who handled my account was polite and prompt in his answers; it takes less than a day to get a response. Since the local courier kept on failing to deliver to me, I escalated my concern to the management. I received several calls - not just emails - from Korea to coordinate the shipping and finally, my order got to my door. The local courier made sure to actually call me when he was near.
I don't know what happened there. I ordered another box early this month and I got it in five business days, no problem. The courier - same company - texted me per usual. It was just that one box! Anyway, I'd like to think they've made steps to improve their local courier service provider. Should this happen to you, just contact their customer service and coordinate closely. Make sure to leave feedback so they know what they have to work on.
Did the experience put me off buying from Althea ever again? Nope. I think the store maintains a great selection, payment is easy (I use PayPal), and shipping on average is reliable. The experience just made me realize how proactive their customer service can be should something unexpected happen, and it made me appreciate Althea even more. That being said - omg I just got the Rilakkuma x A'pieu collection the other day AND IT IS SO CUTE. It's still available so get it while you still can! I'll post the unboxing + look soon.
How's your Althea experience so far? What are your fave finds there?