Today I’ll be talking about my personal experience of using KoreanBuddy and what I purchased through them.
What is KoreanBuddy?
So KoreanBuddy is a personal shopping service that launched at the start of 2016 and helps customers get products from South Korea to anywhere you are in the world. They can help you purchase anything from clothes, cosmetics, k-pop merchandise and even concert tickets. All you do is let them know what you want, they order it for you in Korea, and then they ship it out to you.
The service works on a commission basis for each item you purchase. If you provide the direct URL to a product, the fee is 10% of the price. If you want something to be purchased in store or need KoreanBuddy to help you find the product online, then the fee is 20%. The minimum commission fee is $9 USD/ approx £6 GBP. Obviously of course, you will also pay the exact cost of the product, the domestic shipping (most Korean sites offer free shipping above a certain amount), and the international shipping to receive your products. They offer both EMS (fast shipping) and regular mail (slower). The cost of this will depend on your package weight and shipping destination.
For more info on how all the pricing works you can check out their FAQ here which gives cost examples.
My KoreanBuddy experience:
I initially placed an order with KoreanBuddy on 28th April by filling in their order form (you can also opt to just send them a shopping list in a word document). There is a chat function on their website which they use to communicate to you and send you the invoice. The response was always very speedy (usually next day considering the time difference between Korea and the UK), and helpful and I was kept updated of the status of my order. The payment process is also extremely easy and quick as I could pay directly through the invoice link by card. There are also a couple other payment options including paypal.
My products were also ordered by the next day and I was told when KoreanBuddy received them and was sent pictures as confirmation of this. They were also very flexible and accommodating as my order hadn’t been shipped to me yet and I wanted to add more items to my whole order a few days later. I didn’t have to fill out a new order form, I just sent them the direct URLs via chat.
Once KoreanBuddy had received all my products (6th May), I was given the weight and possible shipping options/prices. For 750g it was $11.84 for regular registered mail. EMS is quicker (7-10 days) and has tracking, but is over double the price. I was happy to go for regular shipping because I’ve never had an issue with orders coming from Korea and it doesn’t usually take more than 2 weeks. I was again sent an invoice for shipping and then it was sent out to me on 10th May. I received my parcel 10 days later on 20th May. It was well packaged in a box and protected with bubble wrap so my items arrived in perfect condition. The whole process only took 3 weeks and would have been even quicker had I not added more items to my order.
I had a great experience with KoreanBuddy. I would definitely use them again because it was such an easy and simple process and they are great at keeping you updated during the whole process and answering any questions/concerns you have. It does feel like a very personal service.
Would I recommend using KoreanBuddy? Well, it really depends on what you’re after. In terms of cosmetics, I’d say this service is extremely useful for getting hold of products you want from Korea that aren’t available/accessible from Ebay, and other retail sites such as Jolse, IBBI, RRS. I initially decided to try this because I couldn’t find anywhere that sold Isa Knox cushion refills. For finding more obscure, less international Korean brands, or even special limited edition products, then KoreanBuddy is definitely the way to go.
Also this is better value if you’re planning on hauling a lot. If you only want a couple small things or products with a low value, then you aren’t getting your money’s worth because you have to pay a minimum $9 commission fee regardless. I wish I had actually ordered more because I ordered 5 items and 10% commission for each item didn’t even meet the minimum $9.
Another upside to using this service – buying directly from Korea is a LOT cheaper than buying from international sites/ebay because the latter obviously mark up the prices quite a bit. The Lirikos cushion I bought is £30 on ebay and I got it for about half the price. Even paying the domestic Korean shipping + international shipping, my entire order was still cheaper than if I had ordered them from other sites. Of course, that won’t always be the case, as it really depends on the products/brand. If I was going for low-end roadshop brands like Etude House for example, I would probably stick to buying it from Jolse/IBBI because the savings after shipping/commission from KoreanBuddy would probably be minimal and the products themselves aren’t too expensive even with the international markups.
Also, if you’d rather pay a lower commission, you can easily find the products on your own even if you aren’t familiar with the Korean language. KoreaBuddy have tutorials and guides on how to shop on Korean websites and find things you want, and there is always trusty google translate.
All in all, KoreanBuddy provides an easy, convenient way for me to get products not readily available internationally and when I can’t jump on a plane straight to Korea myself.
If you’d like to try out KoreanBuddy, you can enter my referral code ‘WANTASTIC’ when placing your order and you will receive 50% off the KoreanBuddy fee for Korean skincare/beauty products. (Please note this code is not valid for non K-beauty related purchases).