Editors are usually pitched pitched specific products by companies or PR firms, or they request them and then try them. That’s what I do on advicesisters.com. But now and then I really love a surprise. So I agreed to become part of the PINCHme blogger network. The deal is that bloggers (I prefer online influencers/writers/editors) receive a box of somewhat random samples each month for review. I won’t know what’s in the box until I open it, but it’s going to have things that most people would find useful, helpful, or enjoyable. The anticipation of opening a large box knowing there will be a bunch of things inside you’ll want to try, but you don’t know what they’ll be is part of the reason I agreed t join. In return I am supposed to offer my honest opinion on the samples. Of course, I always offer my honest opinion!
Why would the PINCHme people do this? Obviously, it’s a way to get online influencers to try products and lean about new brands, and share the news for you. And although I’m an Editor, I am also a consumer, so I might also want to buy more (or a larger size) of a product in a PINCHme box, and tell everyone I know outside of advicesisters.com about it.
I returned home from London to find my first PINCHme box. This one as you can see from the photo I took contained a lot of samples, some full sizes, some smaller ones: Kellogg’s Sour Cream and Onion Cracker Chips 0.87 oz., Fisher Nut Exactly Snack Bites Almond Popcorn Dipped in Milk Chocolate (snack sized no actual size shown), Playtex Sport Combo (box of 2 tampons, 2 liners), Secret Clinical Stretngth Invisible Solid Deodorant (0.5 fl. oz.), Splenda Minis (100 tablets), Berocca Vitamin tablets (2 tablets) Sinful Colors Nail Polish in “Aquamarine” (full sized bottle), DenTek Comfort Clean Floss Pics (3 inidvidually wrapped pics), Goddess Garden Sunny Body Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 ( 1. fl. oz. tube), Skinfix Hand Crean (! fl. oz tube), ACT Advanced Care Plaque Guard Mouthwash (3 fl. oz.). Kura Start Your Smoothie Vanilla New Zealand Protein Smoothie Powder (1.4 oz. package), V Beaute skincare samples/ (4 mini tubes each 0.033),
The thing about samples boxes is that not everything you get is going to be suitable for your personal use or to your personal taste. For example, I don’t use sweeteners in my beverages, but I gave the Splenda Minis that can be used on-the-go from a hand little plastic container for hot or cold drinks to my Spenda-obsessed friend, who was delighted to try these. The Advice Sisters have reviewed Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant Invisible Solid but it’s a great product, and the mini-sized solid stick is now in my travel bag. I’ll thank PINCHme and Secret, the next time I’m on the road. The Playtex Sport Combo was the perfect thing to leave in my guest bathroom at “Dunhamnia” (my weekend house) . Ditto the little bottle of ACT Mouthwash. I’ve used this product before, and I think leaving these sorts of samples for my guests to try is fun for them, good for the companies who supply them as well.
Food products are highly subjective, and the food samples in the PINCHme box are not ample enough for multiple tastings. I like Kellog products in general, and the Sour Cream and Onion Cracker Chips were crunchy and good for dipping, but I’m not personally a fan of sour cream and onion flavor. However, at 100 per snack sized bag, and less than 190 sodium and 2 g of sugar, I could be a fan of other flavors. The Fisher Almond Popcorn dipped in Milk Chocolate were tasty, but there wasn’t any nutritional information supplied on the packaging. This is a serious mis-step when you are trying to get editors to write about your product. When there’s not much information, there’s not much to write about. Enough said! The final food item was the KURA Smoothing packette. I loathe smoothies of any type, so I gave this to my personal trainer. If he likes it, he might just recommend it to his clients.
Some of the other items in the box were beauty oriented. The Sinful Colors Nail Polish is one of my personal favorite brands and we have reviewed Sinful Colors on advicesisters.com so many times I’d suggest you just type “Sinful Colors” into the search box on the upper right hand side of our page and all the reviews will appear. But the bright blue color is not the best choice. Blue stains cuticles and nails that aren’t in great condition. I have dry skin and nails and despite my loving the look of blue nails, I almost never choose it because it stains so badly. If you love it, “Aquamarine” by Sinful Colors is a deep turquoise blue that is stunning. The VBeaute samples are another personal brand favorite, but at 0.033 ounce tubes, you can barely get a sense of what a product can do for you. VBeaute isn’t inexpensive, but instead of four teeny-tiny tubes, one larger sample of one product might have been a better choice. It’s again, a missed opportunity in my opinion as an editor who has been reviewing products a long time, but it takes nothing away from the quality of the products, which is excellent. I know nothing about Skinfix or Goddess Garden Organics, but the sealed, travel-sized flip-top tubes of products were fun to try. Impressive with 6.4% Titanium Dioxide and 6% Zinc Dioxide was the Goddess Garden Organics sun screen. The Skinfix hand cream has 1% Colloidal Oatmeal, which is known to be a soothing ingredient and was pleasant to use.
The PINCHme box re-acquainted me with some tried and true favorites, and introduced me to some new brands I’d never heard of and might not have ever sampled without seeing them “in person” first. In addition, even the products I didn’t use personally found an appreciative audience with others who did use them and are now fans of those products. It’s a win/win for everyone. The PINCHme products I reviewed are available to everyone, not just editors — sample free products in exchange for your honest opinion. All you have to do is Sign Up at PINCHme.