a savvy surprise?

by Angela, Bellacara

There is an ever-growing trend of companies offering subscription services for surprise gifts you give to yourself. For the sum of $10 – $250 dollars a month, you can sign up to receive a gift box of surprise items in almost any category. Birchbox is one such company. For a $10 subscription, they will send you a box of sample beauty products to try. You never know exactly what you are going to get, but it allows the product junkie an inexpensive way to try out new products. For $10 a month, it seems like a fun thing to do. I’m sure seeing that little box in the mail would brighten my day.


What perplexes me is the slew of subscription services of $100 or more for surprises in the mail. Inevitably, there will be items I don’t care for in that box. There will be a lipstick color I could never wear, a bracelet I wouldn’t be caught dead in, or a candle I can’t stand the smell of. I like presents, but I don’t like wasting money. If I am going to spend that money, I would rather spend it on something I know I like. Oddly, if we tell ourselves we’re going to go spend $100 on ourselves each month we aren’t likely to do it. There is something about the surprise factor that is alluring to people.

Did you know that at Bellacara we have a subscription service too? We do it a little differently though. For items you use regularly, you can sign up to have them delivered to you monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. If you know you run out of something every month, why not have it delivered rather than come in and pick it up? Surprisingly, far fewer people take advantage of this service than the surprise gift ones.

So what do you think? Is the thrill of the surprise worth it to you?

  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.


1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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