Review: Bespoke Post 2018 Black Box

Just like last year, I ordered a Bespoke Post box this past Black Friday in order to get my hands on one of their mysterious “Black Boxes” that comes as a free add-on for this greatest of U.S. shopping holidays. This year, I decided to order their Raw box, which contains a $45 pair of GILD Raw Denim Jeans. For a refresher on Bespoke Post and how it works, see the beginning of my review from last year!

Descriptions of six items, just like last year

The 2018 Bespoke Post Black Box came with six items, just like the previous year’s box, and you can see the list in the picture above. Just like before, I’ll review each item and put an estimate on my price valuation (my own in bold and retail in italics). This year, Bespoke Post boldly claimed that this free box is worth $50 (up from $45 last year), and this review will attempt to validate this.

Leather Refillable Journal, Ash & Fir

This leather pocket journal is the first item listed in the description and is by far my favorite item out of this Black Box. The notebook measures about 3.5″ x 5.5″ and sports a very natural-feeling (and smelling) and thick leather cover. The unlined paper it comes with it is nothing special and is attached by an elastic band. I couldn’t find an Ash & Fir website (I suspect they might be a subsidiary of Bespoke Post) and you can’t buy this notebook a la carte, so my best estimate of a retail price is from looking at comparables on eBay that are worth about $17.00. I’d more or less agree on that as my personal valuation too at $15.00 and I plan to use this as a New Year’s resolution in the upcoming year.

Stainless Steel Tie Bar, 1.5″, Ezra Arthur

The next item in the Black Box is from a brand we saw last year, Ezra Arthur, except instead of cufflinks, we get a tie bar this year. At 1.5 inches wide, this tie bar is best for skinny ties or smaller regular ties, so that makes it less useful for a regular closet. Given that I have a couple of ties that fit this criteria, I could make some use of it in the future, but I wouldn’t value it above $5.00, especially given the ordinary material. In terms of retail price, like last year’s cufflinks, these are not on Ezra Arthur’s website, so eBay is my best friend again, where they’re going for about $10.00.

Beard Oil, MVRCK by Mitch

So it’s worth noting that I don’t have a beard and I don’t plan on growing one at any point in my life, so I think Bespoke Post really dropped the ball on this product (and the next), since according to this study by GQ, only about a third of American men rock beards that could use this product. Although the description does say though that “for the beardless, […] this oil also keeps stubble itch-free, and delivers moisturizing essential oils to your skin”, I’m a little skeptical given the branding of the product. That said, this product retails for $18.00 on Paul Mitchell’s website, so hopefully it’s worth something. I’ll give it a try on days when I don’t feel like shaving my stubble, but I don’t expect it to be worth more than $3.00 of value.

Skin & Beard Lotion, MVRCK by Mitch

Another beard product from MVRCK by Mitch for people who actually have beards. This one retails for $15.00 on Paul Mitchell’s website, which makes sense compared to the beard oil above since this is essentially just fancy lotion. That said, it being lotion makes it more useful to people like me who don’t have beards, so I’ll value it at $4.00.

Stainless Steel Cap Snap Bottle Opener, Mefford Design

Let’s be real: most of us who have a need for a bottle opener already have one. Mefford Design aims to introduce a two minute conversation into your life by creating a $12.00 product that allows you to open a beer bottle with one hand (!) while impressing your peers. Sure, I’ll use it, but don’t expect me to keep it on my keychain in those circumstances when I want to impress someone at a party with my beer-opening skills. I’d pay $2.00 for it.

The usual spam

Last but not least, one of the six “items” is a $10 off $75 gift card that I will never use, given that each box is $45, so this is more like $10 off $90 (and I’ve never bought two boxes at once). Like last year, feel free to steal that code in the picture if you actually need it. One thing that’s unique in 2018 is that Bespoke Post managed to get a few advertising dollars by including some coupons in the Black Box for other products. Let it be noted that I’m actually a person who looks at these coupons in the mail to take advantage of interesting trial offers on new products; however, these three were useless to me. All in all, I’d value this at $1.00 again whereas I’m sure Bespoke Post counts the gift card as $10.00 retail.

In conclusion, I’d say the 2018 Bespoke Post Black Box was a slight disappointment compared to last year’s. The retail value came out to total $82.00, which is about the same as last year’s and well above the company’s $50 target. For my personal valuation, I essentially got a total of $30.00 extra for free from my $45 box purchase this Black Friday. I think it’s just enough for me to stick around and try it again next year, especially if there are boxes I think are worth the initial $45 cost (the Raw jeans are great, by the way). Again, if you’re interested in their boxes, please use this link to sign up and I’ll get a referral bonus!

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