I think everyone that knows me, knows how excited I was to discover Sephora was coming to Australia. As I was leaving Calgary I thought my make up obsession was going to come to a screaming halt, but alas, the news Sephora was heading down under, made me do my happy dance. And even better, they promised to price match the USA prices. I don’t know if you know this, but some cosmetic brands have a mark up of anything up to 70% once they hit the shelves here.
I landed in Sydney and it was only a few short weeks that I had to wait. The grand opening was ridiculous (No word of a lie, there were girls who camped out over night so they would be the first to walk through the door! Security guards letting women (and the token guy) in a few at at time, roped off barriers, the works) I found myself drawn to the store, enviously looking at the girls coming out with those fabulous black and white bags.
Last week, I finally went in. And wow. Talk about disappointment! Sephora promised to price match the USA on brands not released yet in Australia, but charge the same on other brands as the major department stores already here to stay in line with them (to me that is a stupid decision – ever heard of healthy competition??). In short – THEY LIED!
Also, my VIB Rouge card, I found out is worthless in Sephora Australia. They have their own points system. This also did not bode well as I spent a small fortune to get to that status, only to find out it is useless here. Also, and I know it was probably just some store generosity overseas, but not a single sample was on offer, and when I asked, the staff looked at me like I had asked for their firstborn!
I don’t think I have ever walked out of a Sephora empty handed. That day I did. I also vowed I would not walk back in to that store. Now before you think I am just whinging because of the prices….it is not a small increase in pricing. A small increase would be the exchange rate, plus a couple of extra dollars for shipping. Not over $20 per item I looked at.
Now today, I went to the local mall near me and wandered into Mecca Maxima/Mecca Cosmetica. I am in love. The staff are wonderful. So friendly, they know what they are talking about and go out of their way to try and find you the closest match they can to something you want if they don’t have it in stock right then and there (if you are open to alternatives of course). I think my friend and I were in there for a good 40mins. We both bought a couple of things and the sales girl asked if they were gifts. We said “yes, gifts to ourselves”. So she took them back, put the items into gift boxes to put under our respective Christmas trees!
Price wise, they have the brands I wear, NARS, Bare Minerals, Stila, Hourglass, Smashbox, Philosophy. Everything is pretty much on par with prices I paid in Canada. At most, I think I paid $6 more for an item than I would have overseas. They have won me as a customer.
I will continue to shop Sephora online, but as for the Australian store – I wish them luck. From the grumbling we heard today in Mecca from other customers having gone to Sephora – they might have a hard time winning over the public. I know for sure, they have lost me!
Can you believe it is 4 days till Santa comes????