Customization (wish there was more in this box on a couple of things)
So the Winter Marengo Box is extra awesome for me again…as I did the artwork again! This box however ends my streak as Marengo box designer and we’ll see some other artists featured this next year. Hoping to pop up IN the box this year however. 😉 I have created some cards, mugs and other items with this design (and others) in my Etsy shop, so head over and check out what’s on offer. If you want something in another design, let me know! I can create something especially for you. If you want ornaments for this holiday, it’s likely too late though with shipping and processing times.
Marengo is now at a full year of boxes and I believe they have reached the point of surpassing Cavali Club for awesomeness…consistently…every month. Founder Carly Prosser founded both boxes…but stepped away from Cavali Club some time ago. So if you want her amazing curation skills …Marengo is where you need to be. Not to mention the best customer service of any company ever. Another nice thing about Marengo, is that you get to choose several items each box so it’s customized to you and there’s a better likelihood you’ll be happy with your purchase this way.
Now onto the most important stuff…what came in my box, what’s the value, and what do I think about the winter box!
What Came In My Winter 2023 Box:
Dreamers & Schemers Slippers – $39.95
Espoir Equestrian Scarf – $30
Good Boy Eddie Book – $16.95
Equestrian Wellness Essential Helmet Spray – $18.00
The Knotty Laundry Bag – $12.95
The Boss Mare Mug – $19.99
Sam Kalachyan Print – $40
Retail Value: $177.84 (not including shipping costs)
Cost of Box: $79
Addons – Total Cost $83.99
Mug x 2 (that I need to give as gifts)
2nd color of the Espoir Scarf
Additional Helmet Spray
Dr. Hansen’s spray
Equisite Alice Shirt
The value of the box this round was much lower than last round because there’s no big ticket item in my box. On top of that…two of the items are kinda inflating the value a little bit…but I’ll get into that in a minute. There was no big ticket amazing item that covered the cost of the box for me this time. And I ended up spending a LOT more money in addons this time…which made the box feel awesome when I opened it…but the base box maybe wasn’t quite as awesome looking in more detail. Breaking that down below with my thoughts.
Dreamers & Schemers Slippers were kinda the “big ticket” item in this box since I already have purchased all the shirts in the last several boxes. Unfortunately I got the Milton Menasco version which is my least favorite of all of the designs offered by the brand (I’ve never particularly gotten the Milton Menasco thing…but different people like different things and Hollywood Cowboy meets Cool Girl isn’t really my look or attitude). To be perfectly blunt, I find these ugly and I feel like an idiot wearing them around my house. My husband even gave me the eyebrow. The slippers are good enough quality however. Not my favorite item, but I’ll use them. If I’d gotten the gray Giddy Up ones that were the alternative I would have been much happier.
Espoir Equestrian Scarf is my favorite thing in the box. I liked the options so much I bought the second one as an addon. I love scarves…and I love fun prints…so these are an absolute yes from me. In fact I’m now really discovering Espoir and how awesome their print designs are…and I’m going to go shopping at some point…(though I should probably wait until after Christmas). If there had been an Espoir shirt in here…well…that would have made it legit the best box of all time…but…scarves are good too. This item is actually my main buy in for this box and why I wanted it. Again… LOVE these.
There were a number of books offered in this box and I selected Good Boy Eddie because it seemed the most like something that I’d enjoy/get something out of. There’s not much to say here except that I love books and I’m excited to read it and I’m never mad to get a book!
The Equestrian Wellness Essential Helmet Spray is something I’ve already used in the past. I reviewed it I think several years ago…and I’ve been reusing the old bottle to make my own helmet spray for some time. When this popped up in add-ons I bought one. Then I saw it was one of the items in the box…so now I have two. I really like this product so this is a good one for me. Love it!
The Knotty Laundry Bag is an interesting addition. I’m excited to have it. I have large laundry bags I’ve bought on Amazon which I got two for about this price, but this bag feels like a much sturdier quality and has a horsey design on it…so this is a goody for me to. I’ll absolutely use it and I’m getting to discover a new company by seeing it.
The Boss Mare Mug. This is cute. I for sure bought two as addons before I knew one was in the box to give as gifts for two particular people I thought NEEDED it. HA! I do not think the retail value is fair at $19.99. I think perhaps I’d pay $14.99 for an 11 oz mug…but people can price things how they like (I just wouldn’t buy it for that)! However the quality of the mug itself and the printing isn’t excellent (which you’d expect for $20 retail) and the image is smaller than shown on their website promo photos. The quality isn’t on par with this one for the price they charge…but the design is cute.
The Sam Kalachyan Print is another tricky one for me. $40 for a nice print isn’t ridiculous (and the print quality and paper is solid…not cheaply done) …however it is a bit of a thrown away retail value when you’re not getting to pick what you like. Art is VERY personal. Personally for me the print I got is not great. The red and black color combo isn’t good for me. It feels…bloody and aggressive which counters to the image of the horses. Maybe a bit like horses seeking solace in each other during a wildfire. I don’t know. It isn’t doing good things for me. The other print offered is much better IMO. I’m literally not sure what to do with this. I could maybe gift it? But to who? I feel like any Californian is going to see this and think horses in a wildfire. But maybe I’m just too sensitive. Ha! Trash? That would be wasteful but…maybe. Honestly the only way I’m putting it up in my house is that I go in and repaint the background a different color than the red it is now. I might just do that…but then it’s not really appreciating the artist for what they created and it makes me feel a bit icky to do that…but I just might so that it’s not trash. It’s tricky, art. I don’t expect everyone (or even 50% of people) to see my art and like it. It’s just how art is. Not my favorite item, but the quality again…is good. And I like her including art in the box. I just wish there had been a choice of prints or a way to put in color preferences in the account. If I was just “meh” about it…it be one thing…but I have a visceral negative reaction to this one.
So for this box I only LOVE 4 of the things (scarf, helmet spray, book, and laundry bag) and would have paid full retail for them. I like the mug well enough and will use it. I like the slippers well enough to use it (but wouldn’t buy them full retail). Though I will say the mug and the slippers are VERY timely in the curation. The print is a throw away a little bit for me because the colors of the painting make me feel negative.
So the pricing on the items I would buy full price out of this box total $77.90. Taking into account shipping, the fact that I will use a couple of the other items even though they’re not my favorites, and that I have access to addon discounts by getting the box, I more than broke even on my spend personally…which is still a plus. The retail value of this box didn’t blow me away this time and the items inside had a few “meh” moments for me…but it’s still a good box. As you can see from above I spent MORE in addons than I did on the box this time. For that purchase, I’m more than happy with what I ended up with. Honestly the scarf + the shirt were more than worth the extra $84. So the addons really made this box sing for me. Without them I probably wouldn’t have been as happy. When I say that…I’m not saying the box was bad…I’m just saying there’s a certain expectation with these boxes for me and not all of them are going to be met based on past boxes that were just beyond excellent. This box is also going to vary SO much person by person depending on your selections as well.
So while for me personally this box wasn’t the best in value, it still felt like a well rounded curation and the items were timely. The only quality issue really to me is the mug doesn’t feel or look like a $20 mug to me. I like the inclusion of an art print…just I don’t particularly like the one I received…but oh well. If I’d gotten the other print and a different slipper design honestly this review would have been a lot less grumpy sounding. Minor complaints but they add up (especially when you have a very negative response to something in the box…like I have this print). I’ll keep subscribing absolutely however. I’m looking forward to what she comes up with for Spring 2024.
If you’re interested in subscribing, head over to Marengo to learn more!