Awesome. . . err. . . ish?
So if you've read any of my reviews of Fabletics (here, here or here and one to come shortly), you know that I love it! Seriously, maybe my favourite sub. Fabkids is just like that one. . . only not my favourite - not even close in fact - which is disappointing because I have been so eager to try it out. I'm not sure when they started shipping to Canada since last I checked, they didn't. And, to be honest, I think their shipping (and customer service) still need some work!
Fabkids follows the same sub model as Fabletics: you become a VIP member (usually they offer a steep discount on your first month). At the beginning of each month, you have 2 options - choose an outfit to purchase for that month (Fabkids outfits start at $29.95 USD, VIP pricing) or skip the month. If you forget to do one of those things by the 5th of the month, you will be charged $29.95 anyway - but don't worry because you can then use those credits to make a purchase whenever.
Now that's out of the way, here's my honest review. As always, all opinions are my own. Do I like Fabkids clothes? Absolutely - check out the outfit I picked up for my 3 year old:
Supercute, right? He loves it and loved getting his own package in the mail!
"It's Only Rock & Roll Tee" ($14.97 USD)
I love the logo - it's definitely not something we would normally pick up or even find where we usually shop and I think it's really cool. This shirt is soft, washes well and fits well also. My son is pretty tall and slim so, despite being 3, he often wears 2T clothes. I ordered these items in a size 3 so he could grow into them if they didn't fit yet and it actually does fit pretty well right now. If your child is a little larger, consider sizing up.
Toddler review: "It matches those shorts." Okay, that's not super helpful so I will add that he wants to wear this tee daily despite it being decidedly short sleeve weather. I think that's pretty glowing.
Camo Cargo Short ($14.98 USD)
I love these shorts! They are really well-made and have my favourite feature in kids' clothes: an adjustable waistband (seriously necessary with a slim child so his pants aren't hanging off him all the time). These also wash well and have a good fit - a little loose around the waist (even adjusted) but wearable. Again, if your child is a little larger, consider sizing up.
Toddler review: "That lady brought it. It came in a package." The lady is our Canada Post delivery person. . . I should really find out her name since she's at my house so frequently! With further prodding, he admits that they are nice looking and also comfortable as well.
So, when it comes to the clothes, I'm happy. They fit well, they are stylish, and the quality is good. Moreover, $30 (plus exchange) is pretty reasonable for a children' outfit - I wouldn't spend it every month but it's reasonable. . . and the thing with kids is they just keep growing so you need to buy clothing more often than you expect. I also feel like these will last well enough for my younger son to wear them when he's older (perks of having two boys!). My only complaint about the clothes is that, at least when I was shopping the site, there didn't seem to be a lot of options. Maybe that's a boy thing. . . *checks*. . . *sighs*. . . Yeah, there's definitely more options with more variety in the girls' section.
I know this sounds pretty glowing to this point. Why do I ultimately feel my Fabkids experience is "not so fab"? Shipping costs and customer service. Here's the story:
I didn't know Fabkids shipped to Canada until I received an email through Fabletics inviting me to try Fabkids for the low, low price of shipping costs. That's right - this outfit cost me $0; I just had to pay shipping. Now, I'm no fool. I've been shopping online for a long time now and like to think I'm pretty savvy - especially when it comes to the travesty that is shipping to Canada with most US companies. So I read the fine print. Twice. Here's a screencap from that email (highlighting is mine):
Sweet! A whole outfit for my kid for under $5 US? Of course I'll try that out! Then this happened (again, highlighting is mine):
Wait. . . what? Didn't the invitation email clearly say (in the fine print, at the bottom) that shipping to Canada was a $4.95 US flat rate? Also, that's how much shipping is with Fabletics so that makes sense (maybe since the email was through Fabletics, that's how that cost got there? regardless, there is no other shipping cost listed). Let's check the bottom of the confirmation email:
Hmm. . . strange. It's almost like they offered me one price and then changed it after I made the purchase. . . I think there's a term for that. . .
So I went ahead with the order and contacted customer service. Surely Fabkids would make it right. Nope. My initial query was polite and the reply was essentially "no, that's the cost of shipping." My second email to them was less polite and I asked pointedly "so your company will not stand by the offer made in the initial email?" I received no response so, two business days later, I called Fabkids. Unfortunately, the robot who answered my call was so insistent that she could handle my issue instead of putting me through to a real person, and made it so easy to cancel my membership, so I just cancelled. If I had spoken to someone, and Fabkids had dealt with my issue, I may not have cancelled. . . and this would be a glowing review in which I could compliment their customer service. But I didn't and so it's not. I sent one final email:
"Since I did not receive a reply regarding this issue, I called and cancelled my account. I am still very disappointed at the misleading information regarding shipping costs. . . and about the shipping costs themselves. Fabletics can ship adult clothing to me for $4.95 a month but Fabkids needs 3 times that amount to ship children's clothing? Hopefully someday Fabkids will be more interested in doing business in Canada as this experience has indicated that this is not currently the case - despite an email sent through Fabletics Canada inviting me to try this service."
And received a reply saying they were sorry to hear I had cancelled and that I should check out Fabkids Canada. Fabkids Canada? *googles* *googles more* *reads through pages of google searches* Where is Fabkids Canada? *enters fabkids.ca and. . . is redirected to fabkids.com* *sighs heavily*
Don't get me wrong: I am not lamenting the fact that I got a great outfit for my son for under $15 US (just over $20 Canadian). I really like the Fabkids / Fabletics model and I really like the clothing. That said, if Fabkids wants to do business in Canada, they need to do better. A $30 US outfit is not affordable if one has to pay half that amount again in shipping costs. That's just ridiculous. I could justify purchasing the outfit if shipping were $4.95 but otherwise, just no. I can drive to the States in an hour - it's not like I'm in the Arctic, here! If I purchased an outfit every month for a year, I would be spending $179.40 US on shipping alone - that's enough to buy almost 6 more months of Fabkids outfits! I'm pretty sure Fabletics has a physical presence in Canada and that's why their shipping is more reasonable. Maybe Fabkids should consider doing likewise? Unless, of course, they aren't actually interested in Canadian customers. And when it comes to customer service, not cool Fabkids. I felt like my totally appropriate concerns were brushed off and dismissed. That doesn't make me feel like a valued customer. And there are other places I can shop.
If Fabkids decides to make some adjustments (to a more reasonable shipping cost), I will gladly become a member again and will recommend them unreservedly. Until then, I am sad to say that I can't. I wanted so badly to love this sub :(