Posted on Sunday, at • 608 views
I bought from Rockeresque when they first opened, a full year ago. I’ve placed a handful of orders with them, I’ve watched their inventory slowly grow, and they seem to have maintained the publicity-momentum, lining up some excellent photo shoots. Their packaging is excellent, and if you’re into the image that the brand is selling, it’s absolutely great. However…I’m not quite so into the image, and so I’ve been able to focus on the quality and value of the products I’ve purchased. While they’re not bad, not even necessarily sub-par, they’re not my personal cup of tea. The eyeshadow line has expanded fairly slowly, and the colors that they’ve released have been interesting enough, but not as pigmented or as good a value as I could find from other indie companies. The good news is: if you are a huge fan of the brand presentation, you aren’t getting poor-quality or harmful products. There’s good stuff under all the glitz. Just not a wide variety of it, and not the utter top end of the scale. And in both the indie and the mainstream makeup worlds, so many companies with lots of flash and fancy have sold bad or outright harmful products that it’s a bit of a relief to be able to say, “Yep, they’re an indie company, and they both look like they have a mainstream-advertising wing *and* their products are decent and won’t injure you.”
When it first launched, the store was largely Flash-based. It's since moved away from that, but maintained the same general visual flavor and layout. The navigation is straightforward, page load times are fairly fast, and the pages work fine on almost any desktop device (like most sites, the design is a fixed centered 960-pixel width. That's been a design "standard"/shortcut for several years now, as all but the smallest desktops will easily accomodate that size without horizontal scrolling.) There's additional navigation along the top, which can sometimes be overlooked - but it's navigation about the site, not navigation for the product categories. There's a site search. The layout is clean, the line spacing is good, the font size is easily readable. It's a clear, clean site that's easy to move through, that carries their branding. And I do like the fact that they moved away from the Flash. It may mean that the site lacks the "wowza" factor...but with HTML5 and CSS3, the "wowza" factor is slowly but surely coming available to sites that don't have to rely on Flash or Silverlight.
Their membership program, which I mentioned in my first pre-opening writeup of the company, is still going strong. I haven't placed too many orders, and when I did place my orders I didn't go through the extra effort to enter my member number to get the points. But it's nice that it's still going, and I think it's great that Rockeresque put the thought and planning into having one at the outset.
I haven't ever had problems of any type while placing an order with Rockeresque. The last time I placed an order with them, there still wasn't a "login" option for people in their membership program to easily get credit for the orders they placed - I think having that would really make life easier for so many people, but I don't know if they have the ability to implement that easily. The checkout always went smoothly, and I knew how much I'd be paying for shipping (and the US/domestic shipping costs are kept fairly low.)
When I received my orders, they were always in a box, wrapped in tissue paper and the paper closed with a Rockeresque sticker. I never had problems with leakage or spillage, and aside from a few longer TATs, the packages all got to me fairly quickly. Packages also always included some little goodie: usually a sticker, but sometimes a bit of costume jewelry or a small trinket.
Like I've noted before, there isn't a huge range. I think that the eyeshadow range has doubled since Rockeresque officially opened...but when you consider how few eyeshadows they opened with, this is still "careful growth" when compared with any of a dozen other indie MMU lines. Rockeresque has had a few limited-edition kits, and about half of those items have made it into the regular line. However, they only offer eyeshadows. No blushes, no face powders, no lip products.
The product quantity — 1.2 grams for a full-size eyeshadow — is about average for full-size indie-MMU items. There's a range of colors, with fewer in some hues than others - that bit's about standard for any company, mainstream or indie. Almost everything is a shimmer finish. I think there may be one or two full-force "sparkle" shades, and currently there are no satins nor mattes. Some of the colors remind me of Bare Escentuals, in that if they aren't foiled or applied over damp primer they don't have much pigmentation. It's not necessarily a bad thing...it's just a little bit irritating that the shades are either formulated thus, or not marked so as to let people know the relative color payoffs. Apparently I've gotten so very spoiled by companies like Silk Naturals and Zoya, who list the opacity of every color they sell. But surely, if something is in the regular lineup, adding that information once can't be that much extra work...can it?
I will say right off the bat, I am not an accessory fan. Thus, the various accessories that Rockeresque has available don't interest me. I also don't necessarily have a good solid way of judging product quality, since I don't buy that much and can't make informed comparisons. However, the ring that I received in the initial sampler package, and the free-gift jewelry that I received, appeared to be well constructed. Bits didn't flake off, the metal wasn't dinged, things were formed well, the colors were solid, it didn't feel flimsy...it all looked at least to be good solid mid-range costume-jewelry quality. (I say this because, again, I'm not a huge consumer of costume jewelry. I could be totally missing the boat when judging quality. But to my admittedly uneducated eye, it looked like it was well made for what it was. It wouldn't look like it belonged behind a department store jewelry counter, or under the glass; but it wouldn't look completely out of place if it were beside, say, the Betsey Johnson items that I've seen at Macy's.)
Their branding and photography is undeniably polished. Rockeresque figured out what image they wanted to project, they've gone after it with gusto, and they've kept the branding consistent. (And constant! I think there's been a new RQS photo-shoot just about every other month.) Their product line is small, but has expanded since the company's launch. The products are average value among indies, neither too costly nor super inexpensive. The quality of the eyeshadows, and the range, is about average of what I've personally experienced. The turnaround and shipping times are fairly good. I've never had an outstandingly negative shopping experience with Rockeresque. If you enjoy their branding, and are attracted to them through that, be assured that you're not going to get duped. There's actually products of substance behind the visual flair (which isn't always the case.) And if animal testing in cosmetics is a central issue with you, be assured that the company and all of its products (to date) is totally vegan. They even have a very good section in the site's Cosmetics Corner where they list out animal-derived ingredients commonly found in makeup, and vegan alternatives. It's a great way to not only give customers more information, but cement their position as not just saying that they're cruelty-free, but really actually not using any animal ingredients in their products.
Because of the currently-limited product selection and fairly average quality, I think I have enough Rockeresque products for now. But if I see something that catches my eye at Rockeresque — some duochromes, or saturated-hue mattes, or a line of blushes — I'll definitely be interested to try it out.
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