FOR ALL COSPLAYERS and Japanese fashion enthusiasts, we all know of Taobao, the Chinese marketplace that seems to have everything we want for sale. Cosplay wigs, otaku items, Lolita dresses–all dirt cheap. It can be a challenge to purchase from Taobao though, as you would need a Chinese Bank Account and even then, shipping costs can be frightening. And still, even then, there are Customs taxes to deal with. Enough to discourage me from wanting to try out purchasing!

But then one of my trusted shops, Dolly House Shoppe (DHS), opened a Taobao Shopping Service group. Hallelujah! A chance to try out Taobao Shopping. In this blog post I’m going to rate my experience with the DHS Taobao Service. And then of course rate the fabrics that I purchased from a certain Taobao shop. (Click here to see the shop!)

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Fabrics I bought through the DHS Taobao Service

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IN THE FIRST STAGES OF this service, I immediately asked the owner of Dolly House how payments would be divided and how much service fees are going to be.

But the breakdown is that there are three (3) stages of payment. Here it goes:

  • First payment – payment for the item prices and the Chinese agent fee. The Chinese Agent Fee is 50RMB, which would still be divided depending on how many people are joining in on the batch. So the more people join in, the better!
  • Second Payment – payment for the shipping fee of your items from China to Manila, and to your doorstep. Shipping is through Express, so expect it to be a bit pricey. Also, shipping fee will depend on how much the items you ordered weigh, so it’s fair to everyone in the batch.
  • Third Payment – payment of Customs taxes (if any)

Prior to DHS I’ve already been asking around other local cosplay shops who cater to Taobao orders on their fees if I would order items from Taobao. I either got expensive fees or wouldn’t flat out tell their rate. That’s why when DHS told me that their rate is 3.5%, I knew it wasn’t bad. I wasn’t going to order worth more than PHP1000 anyway.

But screw the Third Payment. Our batch didn’t have any Customs fees, and as of today DHS states that they will not be charging a service fee. Isn’t it awesome?

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PRICE BREAKDOWN OF MY FIRST PAYMENT

The things I bought off Taobao amounted to a total of 85RMB, including shipping to the Chinese Agent, which is 15RMB. (So I just bought 70RMB worth of items in total) Ideally I should be now paying PHP595.

But then we also have to pay for the Chinese agent fee which is 50RMB. There were four of us in the batch so we split up the 50RMB with 4 people. That’s 12.5RMB, or an additional PHP87.5

And then there’s the Paypal fee, since Paypal is used for the transactions. That’s PHP595 + 87.5 + 15 (mandatory Paypal Fee) +29 (4% of the total amount, a Paypal Fee) which now puts us at PHP725.5

In actuality, I paid P750, but put the additional PHP25 to an allowance to fluctuations in the exchange rate of PHP, RMB, and HKD.

The actual value of my items is PHP 595, but I pay an additional PHP 155 for the processing of it all.

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PRICE BREAKDOWN OF MY SECOND PAYMENT

For shipping, I had to shell out another PHP575, which is a heavy feat since that’s almost equal to the price I got my items for. DHS uses either EMS or DHL for the orders, so if you wanna do it the cheap way you can find someone who’ll ship through Postal. I’ve had three experiences with the local Post now over items and it seems all good so far–I get the items in good condition, although they do arrive later than expected. I never had an item come in from China though–usually from the more Western parts of the world. Postal’s really cheap, though. I might give it a try one of these days.

Afterwards I just picked up the pack from Ozine Fest! I’m glad there are no more service fees and Customs fees.

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RATINGS FOR DHS TAOBAO SERVICE, AND OTHER NOTES

POSITIVE: DHS Taobao Shopping Service is a good place to start if you want to buy from Taobao. The service is good and the owner sees to every query herself. Payment modes are very flexible, and the owner is very nice and understanding if issues suddenly arise. Items arrived in time and they have no service fee for ordering your items, which is really good.

NEGATIVE: There are some little slips that happen–like that I ordered 2meters of pink lace and paid for 2 but instead got only 1. However we cannot tell if the error is on the part of the Taobao shop, the Chinese agent, or DHS. Of couse 2RMB (PHP14) isn’t a big issue for me, so I let it slip, but I’d like to avoid mishaps like that in the future. EDIT: The owner of DHS has promised me a discount in the next service for this little mishap (I didn’t ask for it btw~). I also had one mishap with them before when the headband I ordered from them arrived to me broken–not their fault but the courier’s–and DHS promised me a replacement for it. I think this “negative” isn’t exactly a negative–it shows that DHS is able to handle little mishaps like this well.

NOTE/FAQ: Will I be able to save here compared ordering from Cosplay Shops?

The answer is–it really depends on the item or the shop. For wigs, I still highly recommend buying wigs from Cosplay Wig shops instead of a Taobao shopping service. More clients simply buy wigs from shops that cater especially for wigs, so they’re able to offer them at a cheaper price since there’s a lot more of you guys ordering in a batch, and you can pay in one straight payment instead of minding two.

Shops that cater to cosplay wigs, though, will more often than not charge you more fees for ordering items from Taobao outside their catalogue, so for non-cosplay items DHS would be a good place to go. But still, nothing beats sending an actual inquiry to where you plan to buy your cosplay items from, and then to DHS! As a reference, the shipping cost of one wig through DHS is around more or less PHP300.

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LOLITA FABRICS FROM TAOBAO

You can click here for the shop in Taobao that I got my items from. I chose sample-sized fabrics in multiple colors for the most part, and a meter of one print that I liked in particular. I also bought some laces to match with them. Here are my photos of them:

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I bought a meter of this fabric. I really like the print, it suits my personal aesthetics. This one was at 28RMB, so it’s PHP210 a meter. I am hoping to make a skirt, capelet, or bag with it.

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These loud pastry prints scream Sweet Lolita. If you have a sharp memory, you’ll know that Dorotee Sweetlips carries dresses with these very prints. I took sample-sized squares only, only hoping to make small accessories and purses with them.

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Another sampler pack. I really like strawberries, don’t I? I once made an essay of why I’m like a strawberry, mwahahaha.

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Bought some lining too. I expected the lining to be hard, though, and this one is soft.

479970_10200690005434436_2120227631_nLaces. I love the laces. They have beautiful designs, don’t look cheap, and have a thickness to them that isn’t scratchy, but is unlike the local laces either that are too soft the fibers fall off.

Overall I enjoyed my first Taobao Haul. Will I do it again? Depends on what items I hope to get, I suppose! Sometimes the shipping fee really discourages me. But if there’s something I want and I can’t find it somewhere else, I suppose I will do it again!

Jakilyn /Kageshoujo