Times are tough. Over the past year, we’ve seen many individuals start their own home businesses to generate extra income with their first MCO.
While shopping online recently, my boss came across a retailer on Lazada who was allegedly selling an original MAC Cosmetics paper bag at a pretty shocking price.
This paper bag sells for RM65.
When she told us we all immediately thought, “Why not just go to MAC, buy a lipstick or something else and buy the actual paper bag at a possibly lower price?”
Disclaimer: We have chosen not to link or mention the seller’s name in the article and to censor parts of the screenshots to avoid drawing unwanted attention directly to them.
So we compared the costs
The RM65 variant is actually not the only one here, as it is available in 4 different sizes, each with its own price.
- Large (RM75),
- Medium (RM65),
- Small (RM40) and
- Extra small (RM55).
Out of curiosity, I went to MAC’s online store to see what you can buy in-store for the same prices, provided the online and in-store prices are the same.
In making this quick comparison, we thought it would only be fair to factor in the shipping cost of the bag to our Subang Jaya office which is RM3.50 as it is only available online.
With these calculations you can see how the prices for paper bags compare against buying in the store at MAC and receiving the bag for free.
It was difficult to find a product that came close to the price of a large bag at RM 78.50 and the closest we could find was MAC lipsticks at RM 84.
At RM 68.50 for a medium-sized paper bag, at RM 69, the lashes are one of the most expensive things you can find in a MAC store.
For the prices of a small bag for RM 43.50 and an extra small bag for RM 58.50, we have to admit that we had a hard time finding a MAC product at a similar price or below that wasn’t just one Tool was like a brush or a sleeve.
We believe that the Small version is cheaper than the Extra Small version because the seller has more quantities of the Small version for sale.
It certainly seems cheaper to buy just one MAC product and take the bag with you, but it is worth bearing in mind that to get even a medium or large bag, you will have to buy multiple or large products.
In that case, you would still be spending a lot of money as MAC is undoubtedly a luxury brand. For those who really just want a MAC paper bag, we can see how this seller is great value for money.
This brings us to the next question, who is willing to indulge in an empty bag.
Is anyone actually buying this?
In the seller’s product description, there are some advantages of buying this paper bag:
- It’s instagrammable
- Suitable for photo shoots and
- Can be used to show friends.
The seller went on to say that the bag is in 98% new condition, which likely means that it has been used at least once before.
As far as we can see, nobody has bought any of the variants from the MAC paper bag list. However, upon further investigation, we found that they weren’t just selling MAC paper bags.
In total, the seller has 7 different branded paper bags for you to buy. These are 4 more examples of it.
They also have bags from Sulwhasoo, L’Occitane and YSL, for example, but these don’t seem to have buyers either.
However, the dealer was able to sell some Sephora paper bags, which shows that there is indeed demand for empty branded paper bags. There are even reviews and ratings from 2 customers in 2019.
- The Sephora bag is actually the cheapest offer.
- Everyone also rated it 5 stars.
Based on the seller’s description, it seems like they wanted to sell the paper bags to micro-influencers or to those who just want to carry a branded paper bag around to show off. For example, the bags look good as background props for product shots.
However, upon further searching, we found that this seller is not an outlier. We found at least 5 other sellers doing the same thing at Lazada and even one at Shopee, even though they were selling them cheaper for around RM 5-30.
Despite all the ratings and reviews on the platforms and sellers, I could only find praise for the good looks and excellent conditions of the bags.
Another listing we found also gave us more insight into who the target market this seller was, as it was called “Womens New Box and Paper Bags, Square Boxes, Gift Box For Friends Without Scarf”.
Are some friends out there buying branded paper bags to repackage a cheaper gift in hopes of deceiving their significant other?
With all the information we have available, we could assume that those who would buy these paper bags could fit into one of three categories:
- Influencers they want for product shots or as props,
- People who want them to give to friends or family members as gifts, or
- Off-brand cosmetic sellers looking to do more authentically by using legitimate packaging.
Perhaps these sellers are avid fans of the brands, which is why they have multiples of the paper bags.
Instead of throwing them away or letting them collect dust, it is wiser to give them a second life and make some money along the way, especially in this current economy.
No matter how incredulous the prices may be for you and me, for some consumers they are worth buying, as we saw with the Sephora paper bags.
- You can find more information about online shopping here.
Selected Image Source: The Lazada Salesman