It's pretty clear that Julep is trying to discourage people from skipping boxes. By reducing your ability to skip, they force subscribers to either cancel their subscription or suck it up and buy the box. By offering more customization, they presumably want people to actually want to purchase the box.
I don't think that this is necessarily unreasonable from a business standpoint. My guess is that Julep has a lot of members who skip frequently. I also am willing to bet that there are some months where a shitload of people skip, and some months where only a few (relatively speaking) forego their cyclic nail polish delivery. For Julep, that is almost certainly difficult to handle. They have to be prepared, from a manufacturing standpoint, to meet whatever the demand may be. If they predict that demand is going to be high and a bunch of people skip their boxes, they have a bunch of leftover shit. Anyone subscribed to Julep periodically gets those emails about the ludicrous sales where things a marked down a crapload; I think that's what was leftover from months where they miscalculated how many people would accept their box.
Other subscription services that allow skips, such as Beauty Army, do not manufacture their own product, so skipping probably does not cut into their bottom line as significantly. They can send those same samples out next month to different subscribers. Julep creates and sends out brand new products on a monthly basis. That would be very hard to do without some level of stability.
The price increase is probably a way to compensate for the months where they fuck up on the amount they manufacture.
Clearly, the price increase and reduced skipping options both make subscribing to Julep less desirable. I know that. You know that. Julep knows that. If it's not worth the extra dough, don't subscribe. I think that Julep executives believe that the additional level of stability for subscriptions will save them more money than they gain by enrolling people who are inconsistent.
It is what it is.
Here's what I got this month:
Disclosure: As usual, I upgraded my box to the fancy-pants level using points. I would not have chosen to upgrade if I was paying cash for this box.
The nail polishes included:
Iona (It Girl): The most effeminate navy blue of all time. It's as if the coast guard met a bouquet of irises. Buster Bluth might wear a blazer of this color to a Motherboy event.
Kam (It Girl): Hospital wall green. Er, hospital wall spearmint.
Jeanne (Boho Glam): The color of the sky on a sunny day when it's still a little cold outside. A baby room might realistically be painted this color.
Jules (It Girl): A very pale peach.
Maddy (Classic With a Twist): The color of raspberry sherbet, if raspberry sherbet was filled with a subtle pink shimmer.
Paulette (Boho Glam): A lilac duochrome with a golden shift.
Ramona (Classic With a Twist): The lightest, palest lavender of all time.
Laree (Bombshell): I LOVE THIS POLISH. A neon coral with a gold duochrome. Be still, my heart.
Saaya (Bombshell): A shimmery sunset orange.
Here's how Laree and Maddy look together on my nails:
Plié Wand and Accessories
Julep announced the release of their Plié Wand a few months ago, so there has been plenty of time for people to digest the idea. At its most fundamental, it's an extra-long handle to give additional control when applying nail polish.
One of the complaints I saw among nail polish aficionados is that they don't hold their nail polish caps like a pen, so this would be useless for them. Perhaps this is the explanation for why my nail polish is so crappy… but I totally hold my polish caps like a pen and love the idea of having additional control here. The wand also bends, allowing people to get whatever weirdass angle they need without painting up their knuckles.
The packaging was really spiffy, and the whole thing looks pretty neat when put together.
Unfortunately, shoddy craftsmanship was evident upon closer look. My magnetic ring was completely detached from the product. It's a superglue away from being fixed, but I am not pleased. The only reason I was able to use the product at all was because they sent me extra caps.
The attached brush is also scratchy and terrible. This is dollar store quality, right here.
Luckily, this brush is only necessary if you want to use the wand on a non-Julep polish. You can pull it right out, take the top cap off your Julep polish, and pop your Julep polish in the holder. A bit complicated to explain, but very easy to figure out and do. This method is also fully compatible with all old Julep polishes, which was a big concern when the wand was originally announced.
I definitely felt that the wand gave me extra control, although it by no means will get you from something super sloppy to a professional-looking manicure on its own. Still, I will definitely be using it for many manicures to come. I'm not sure it's a revolution, but it's still handy. It's probably the equivalent of an apple cutter. It's oddly specific, it won't always do what you need, and you can do the same basic thing with a knife… but there will be days in the kitchen where you will think FUCK YEAH, I AM SO GLAD I OWN AN APPLE CUTTER.
The bending feature did nothing for me, but it did not detract from the wand and it may be useful for others. For me, it could have been the Allongé Wand rather than the Plié Wand.
Here are the extra caps they sent me:
I also received the "creativity kit", a striping brush and dotting tool that are Plié Wand-compatible.
They do the deed. I have nothing significant to say about them. Perhaps I am just not advanced enough as a manicurist to tell what separates the good dotting tools from the bad.
As always, the code FREEBOX will get you your first box for free. Of course, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.