The Baebox Smartiegirls and Smartieboy [sic] boxes are aimed at 5 – 10 year olds.
The ‘Bae’ part is supposed to stand for ‘Before Anything Else’ the principle being that it is acts as reward and motivation.
I’ll say right up front that I dislike ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ thing, but I’m always interested in subscription boxes for kids and was curious to see what this one was like.
This is their blurb:
We handpick the best items that every child wants with a special message or reward chart depending on age; from items to celebrate life, inspiration for creativity, and of course – for fun.
Baebox has got you covered!
At the end of each month, a beautiful package arrives on their doorstep, giving them the joy of discovering what is inside!
From the FAQs:
Each child receives 5 luxury treats depending on age and sex of lucky receiver.
(Note: This Baebox that I am reviewing is not to be confused with this Baebox! Different company, virtually identical name.)
I ordered both boxes because I wanted to compare them. As I said, I don’t like ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ things, especially when they are marketed so differently.
See? Adventurous boy and, well, girl who isn’t doing much of anything.
Anyway, let’s have a look at the actual boxes to see how they measure up. I’ll add values and a bit of description, (plus any comments I can’t resist waiting for) then put down more thoughts at the end.
It arrived in a plain cardboard box. It was addressed to ‘Your Smartiegirl box has arrived [surname]’. Slightly odd, but it’s a computer-printed label.
Inside was what looked like scrunched up tissue paper with some metallic heart confetti sprinkled over the top.
I have to say that neither of these things gave a good first impression.
Under the tissue was black tissue shred, and a bit more confetti. After removing it (scattering an annoying quantity of both on the floor) these are what I pulled out.
Spray Chalk. There are many brands of spray chalk, but I managed to track this one down on Amazon. Sold as a set of four, it works out at £2.75 a can. It’s interesting that it is not indicated for use by children without adult supervision.
My Lovely Horse Egg. It’s clear to the most casual observer that this is an obvious My Little Pony knockoff.
This is horrible quality. Scratched, cracked brittle plastic egg, and very visible seams on the horse itself. It also smells deeply unpleasant. These are imported from China, and a little googling tells me that they are a rather notoriously brazen imitation of MLP. As far as I can tell they can only be bought in bulk imported from China, at around 40p each.
Adrienne Vittadini Capri Perfume Sample. Samples are free in department stores. I’m totally perplexed by this. What does a 5 – 10 year old child need with perfume?
Maybelline Baby Lips Shimmer Lip Balm. On Amazon at £2.66. If you peer at the white lettering on the right side of the package, you can see it reads ‘for adult use only’.
Choc Brownie Mars Bar and Dr Oetker Pud in a Mug. The Mars Bar comes in a pack of 4 for £1.50, so 38p each, and the Pud is 85p.
Finally, Secret Life of Pets Backpack. There are a lot of kids’ backpacks out there from this range, but I could only find this in one place: a website called Poundshop.com. And the price was, yep £1. Now there is a delivery charge, but it’s a flat rate of £4.95, so if you consider the likely size of an order it works out as very little per item.
There was no reward chart in this box.
So that’s the ‘Smartiegirls’ box.
Now for the ‘Smartieboy’ box.
This box was bigger than the girl box, and had a picture of a ribbon printed on it. The printed address label read ‘[surname]’s Smartieboy box has arrived’.
There wasn’t any tissue wrapping inside, just the same black shred and heart confetti as before.
Yep, it’s more of that Spray Chalk, this time in blue. £2.75 again.
Mini Flip Table Football Toy. I couldn’t find this anywhere, though I did manage to track down the seller: Blue Sky Studios, who sell ‘gift products’. Their catalogue is password-protected, so I was unable to get any prices. I will say that this is flimsy, low quality, and deeply unsatisfying. I’d say no more than £2, and probably less; it’s something I’d expect to find in a pound shop.
Another Mars Bar, 38p again.
Star Wars Glow in the Dark Lightsaber Pens. These pens, in different packaging but otherwise identical, can be found for £2.99.
And finally, another backpack, this time The Dark Knight vs The Man Of Steel design. In style and quality it is identical to the backpack in the ‘girl’ box. The online pound shop didn’t have this one right now, but it was on Amazon for £3.99.
The complete ‘Smartieboy’ box.
So, how much?
A quick bit of pricing information. A one-month subscription costs £15.99 (£14.99, 13.99 and 12.99 for 3, 6, and 12 months) and shipping is included. It’s the same price for both boys and girls, though for some reason there’s no 3-month subscription option for the ‘boy’ box.
How did everything tally up?
The ‘boy’ box comes out a lot higher because of the relatively high price of the backpack. but in size, quality, and everything else except for colour, it is identical to the ‘girl’ backpack.
What do I think? Here’s my overall review of the Smartiegirls and Smartieboy boxes.
One thing I did notice, when I was going through the website, was that the site itself does not look good. It is not well laid out, and there several spelling errors. This probably should have tipped me off.
I thought the online poundshop was interesting, not least because they were selling those Dr Oetker Puds at £1 for three, so technically you could knock that price down to 34p.
We saw at the beginning that a ‘lovely box’ would contain ‘luxury treats’. Call me crazy, but I didn’t see anything lovely about the boxes, and there is nothing luxury about the contents. A plain white cardboard box, or a preprinted bow, with a computer printed address label is not exciting or attractive. No branding, nothing.
The My Little Pony knockoff is really dreadful. Toys like these are pretty common from China. I’m sure there are some better things like this out there, but this isn’t one of them.
A Mars Bar? Something you can grab from any supermarket or corner store? And a microwave mug cake? Really not luxury. And incidentally, those two items together contain 69g of sugar, so not exactly encouraging healthy eating.
The spray chalk was OK, though the cans hardly last any time at all. And you need to have parental supervision; it says right on the can that it’s only for age 15+ unless under adult supervision.
The lip balm, well, I can see why it’s been chosen, but again, it says for adult use only! I realize that a lot of kids have lip balm like this, but at least choose one that’s designed for kids!
A perfume sample? For a small child? Why? How is this appropriate? It’s not even a fun design, or something vaguely aimed at children (not that they need perfume).
The football game is very cheap plastic, and looks like a stocking filler. Though it’s not as cheap and nasty as that horse.
The Star Wars pens are the one relatively cool thing in these boxes. At least they’re useful as well as fun!
The reward chart is mentioned several times on the website, but there wasn’t one in either of the boxes I received.
I’m going to say again that I’m not a fan of separate boy and girl stuff, especially at this age.
If the boxes are supposed to be relatively similar, both having a backpack, chocolate, and spray chalk, why is there nothing useful like the pens in the ‘girl’ box? Even the pictures on the website (above) portray girls and boys very differently, and this is reinforced by the contents of the boxes. The boys have a football game and Star Wars pens, whereas the girls get two things relating to the superficial: lip balm and perfume. It’s ironic that the girl’s box contains not one but two sugar-bombs.
I think it’s ambitious to try to produce a box aimed at kids age 5 – 10. For example, the backpack is small, definitely too small for a nine or ten year old. Nowadays ten-year-olds are known as ‘tweens’, and are certainly way more sophisticated than when I was a kid in the 80s! I’m not convinced it’s possible, especially with no way of specifying any preferences as to actual age, of covering this wide span of development. This certainly hasn’t succeeded.
I’m incredibly disappointed in the value. These are all very cheap pound shop-type items, and they would have been cheaper still being bought in bulk. I don’t have any problem with pound shops, I think they’re incredibly useful for all kinds of things, but I could have got considerably more for my £15.99, or even £12.99! I may have been unlucky this month (March 2018), but there’s nothing here that would induce me to try again. There’s also no way I’d give a young child a Mars Bar.
This is all pretty brutal. I really don’t like this and I’ve said so in no uncertain terms. In fact, this is one of the very few bad reviews I’ve ever written. Now you may be thinking ‘But my kids will love all the things in here, what does the monetary value matter!’. OK, that’s true, maybe they will love everything. But frankly, they’re not paying for it. You are.
If you want to spend £13 – £16 per month on rewards for your kids, there are better ways to do it than this.
So, if you’re still thinking about buying box of nice stuff for your kid each month, here are a few other things I’ve reviewed, all of which are good fun and good value:
Oh, and I wrote about the £2 party bags I made for my daughter’s birthday party. You can do quite a lot with very little!