Crimson Reflections

Because sometimes the world is too complex for black and white
Lolita Fashion History

Review: Devil Inspired

This is not a paid review. Devil Inspired did reach out to me multiple times in 2017, but I did not accept because I’m not comfortable doing a paid review for a customer service business like Devil Inspired that I’ve never used before. IMHO paid reviews are simply just not reflective of the real service the company gives.

I’ve looked at their site multiple times since then and my thought has been pretty consistently that the price of the items + markup + shipping is bad.

But, they had a free international shipping campaign for 11.11 and I thought “well, I’m a fairly savvy shopper, let’s see if I can make this work out in my favor”.

So, I browsed the site and put stuff in my cart that I liked. The very first thing I noticed was that if I walked away, my cart would expire.

I put the same things into my cart at least 6 times over the span of a day.

Eventually I realized if I made an account, I could bookmark items on a wishlist. So I went ahead and did that. I’m going to show you what I bought and what I specifically didn’t buy and why.

When I list prices, I am going to list the price it is on taobao, and then the price I think it would be using SpreeNow, which is the shopping service I’ve been using for a few years.

Spree now charges a 10% shopping service fee. They also charge a 3% paypal fee, plus 30 cents. So the cost before international shipping for each item is basically the price in Yuan plus the domestic shipping, plus 10% of that value, plus 3% of that value. And then, there is a 30 cent charge every time I make a payment.

Things I Didn’t Order

Momoko Hanayome Country Style Tea Party Lolita Dress OP by Elpress L

The price for this on Devil Inspired was $146.10
The price on Taobao was 659 Yuan (~$100.41)

Base price659 Yuan
Shipping10 Yuan
10% fee66.9 Yuan
sub total734.90 yuan
paypal fee22.05 yuan + 30 cents
total:$115.64
Markup:$30.46

Strawberry Buffet Series Scarf / Brooch / Hairclip by Infanta

The price on DI was $16.60, while the price on taobao was about $9.

Base price 58 Yuan
Shipping 5 Yuan
10% fee 7 Yuan
sub total 70 yuan
paypal fee 72 yuan + 30 cents
total:$11.33
Markup:$5.27

Sweet Strawberry Lolita Dress Cotton Red Plaid Strawberries Print Lolita JSK by Infanta

The price on DI is $40.90, but it shows as being marked down from $60. I feel like it might have been higher when I was ordering? I don’t remember for sure though. While the price on taobao was about $30.50.

Base price 199 Yuan
Shipping 10 Yuan
10% fee 21 Yuan
sub total 230 yuan
paypal fee 7 yuan + 30 cents
total:$36.62
Markup:$4.28

Writing this up, I can say that my back of the napkin math when I was dicey? It wasn’t actually that good. I really needed to check the domestic shipping and do the whole calculation for each item, and I didn’t.

I originally was going to put a bunch of things here, but I got tired of doing the math…

Things I Did Order

When Camellia Blooms JSK by Alice Girl

The price on DI was $58.40, while the price on taobao was about $60.98. Which is weirdly cheaper.

Base price 398 Yuan
Shipping 0 Yuan
10% fee 40 Yuan
sub total437 yuan
paypal fee 13 yuan + 30 cents
total:$69.25
Markup:-$10.85

I have no idea why they were selling this for cheaper than the shop was on taobao, unless there was a sale or it was a mistake.

Animal Show Sweet Lolita Dress JSK by Infanta

The price on DI was $48.50, while the price on taobao was about $37.14

Base price 199 Yuan
Shipping 10 Yuan
10% fee 21 Yuan
sub total 230 yuan
paypal fee 7 yuan + 30 cents
total:$37.14
Markup:$11.36

Animal Show Sweet Lolita Dress JSK Matching KC by Infanta

The price on DI was $11.70, while the price on taobao was about $8.80

Base price 38 Yuan
Shipping 10 Yuan
10% fee 5 Yuan
sub total 53 yuan
paypal fee 2 yuan + 30 cents
total:$8.80
Markup:$2.90

Raspberry Bunny Ears Long Sleeves Chiffon Blouse by Infanta

The price on DI was $38.50, while the price on taobao was about $28.28

Base price 148 Yuan
Shipping 10 Yuan
10% fee 16 Yuan
sub total174 yuan
paypal fee 6 yuan + 30 cents
total:$ 28.28
Markup:$10.22

Overflow Sugar Cotton Sweet Lolita Matching Tulle Train by Milk Egg Lolita

The price on DI was $19.00, while the price on taobao was about 14.24. I ordered 2.

Base price 68 Yuan
Shipping 12 Yuan
10% fee 8 Yuan
sub total 88 yuan
paypal fee 3 yuan + 30 cents
total:$14.24
Markup:$4.76

Carol of the Dawn Girdle by Miss Point

The price on DI was $29.30, while the price on taobao was about $28.28. I ordered 2.

Base price 158 Yuan
Shipping 0 Yuan
10% fee 16 Yuan
sub total174 yuan
paypal fee6 yuan + 30 cents
total:$28.28
Markup:$1.02

Little Candy Cotton Over Knee Stockings by ROJI ROJI

The price on DI was $6.70, while the price on taobao was about

Base price 29 Yuan
Shipping 0 Yuan
10% fee 3 Yuan
sub total 32 yuan
paypal fee 1 yuan + 30 cents
total:$5.43
Markup:$1.27

Love Cycle Velvet Over Knee Stockings by ROJI ROJI

The price on DI was $6.70, while the price on taobao was about

Base price 29 Yuan
Shipping 0 Yuan
10% fee3 Yuan
sub total 32 yuan
paypal fee 1 yuan + 30 cents
total:$5.43
Markup:$1.27

Laceia’s Back Garden Front-open Classic OP by Tiny Garden

The price on DI was $33.90, while the price on taobao was about $22.09.

Base price 145.90 Yuan
Shipping 8 Yuan
10% fee 2 Yuan
sub total 156 yuan
paypal fee 5 yuan + 30 cents
total:$24.97
Markup:$8.93

Thumbelina Lolita Dress JSK by YUPBRO Lolita

The price on DI was $97.32, while the price on taobao was about $88.29.

Base price 499Yuan
Shipping 0 Yuan
10% fee 50 Yuan
sub total 549 yuan
paypal fee 17 yuan + 30 cents
total:$88.29
Markup:$9.03

Thumbelina Lolita Dress Matching Overlay by YUPBRO Lolita

The price on DI was $30.98, while the price on taobao was about $26.57.

Base price129 Yuan
Shipping 20 Yuan
10% fee 15 Yuan
sub total 164 yuan
paypal fee 5 yuan + 30 cents
total:$26.57
Markup:$4.41

Thumbelina Lolita Dress Matching Bonnet by YUPBRO Lolita

The price on DI was $38.29, while the price on taobao was about $33.72.

Base price 169 Yuan
Shipping 20 Yuan
10% fee 19 Yuan
sub total 208 yuan
paypal fee 7 yuan + 30 cents
total:$33.72
Markup:$4.57

I also realized right after I submitted that the Alice Girl JSK didn’t come with the bow that was in the photos. I put in a second order with the comment “I thought this came with the dress I ordered earlier and then realized it didn’t. Can it be added to my order from earlier today?”.

When Camellia Blooms Bowknot tie by Alice Girl

The price on DI was $5.70, while the price on taobao was about $7.30.

Base price 39 Yuan
Shipping 0 Yuan
10% fee 4 Yuan
sub total43 yuan
paypal fee 2 yuan + 30 cents
total:$7.30
Markup:-$1.60

Again, this was cheaper on DI than it would be using a shopping service on taobao and I have no idea why.

Adding up the “markup” (how much more or less I would have spent using DI versus using my normal shopping service. I paid an extra $53.07, and got free shipping. I personally feel that shipping an order this size for about $53 is pretty reasonable, but, I mean, this is with me trying really hard to keep the prices down, and they don’t always offer free shipping.

My main order updated into Payment accepted on the 12th, and then to “preparing” on November 19th. My second order of just the bow never updated to preparing, and they didn’t reply, so, I didn’t actually know if I was going to get the item or not. This was the first communication issue I had with them. They quoted me 1-2 months production time on the main order. So, if we count from the 19th, one month is December 19th and two months is January 19th.

So, originally, when I started this experiment, I wasn’t going to contact them at all. I was just going to let things take their time and see how things went.

However, it’s currently February 8th.

I haven’t gotten any email updates. No updates on my account. Nothing. Radio silence since November 19th. I made a $470+ order and I haven’t gotten any correspondence from them in nearly 3 months. I want to note that none of my items say any specific status. Usually with something like Spree Now, I get updates on each item as it comes in, so I can usually tell which item is delayed and go check their social media to see if that brand said anything. But here… nothing.

I have 15 items from 7 different brands and, in theory their target audience either doesn’t navigate taobao/weibo themselves, or doesn’t want to bother doing so because of the time sink involved. And that convenience is supposed to be what we are paying for with this mark up.

Anyways, we are about two weeks past the max time frame I was told, so I sent out a quick email through their contact form.

February 10th I got an email news letter. I’ve checked my inbox and my junk, but as on February 17th, I have no reply.


Still no reply on February 24th, so I reached out via their chat. It’s a Wednesday, so in theory, it’s a work day no matter what time zone we are in. I sent the message at 2pm local time, which is like 3am in China. So, an immediate response probably isn’t on the table.. but because it’s tied into Facebook messenger, they should get it on Thursday morning when they come in for work right?


It’s now February 25th at 5pm local time (around 6am in China), and they didn’t reply to my chat. I sent off an email. This time I typed it in my mail client and sent it directly to their customer service email.

Their customer service hours are 9 am – 6pm GMT+8, so it’s before they open. Interestingly, in all of this, I noticed that they list a mailing address in Malta in very light gray on the customer service page, which isn’t bad or anything, just, I didn’t realize they weren’t based out of China.

I did finally get a reply to this inquiry, in fact, it was at 9:41pm the same day. As of March 8th, I still haven’t gotten a reply to either of my other attempts to contact them, so I do recommend emailing them directly at their support email from your email account if you need to reach them.

So. What apparently happened is the time quote they gave me was wrong. And when I looked at the Thumbelina stuff on their site now, it does say 3-6 months in small print under the description. I wasn’t paying close attention when I was ordering, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that I just missed that.

However, I wanted to do my due diligence, so I popped over to taobao to find the listing.

It does say that shipping time is 3-6 months after the end of the presale period. Except, it also lists the pre-sale period as ending on September 17th? So, I’m still a little confused here. I don’t know if YUPBRO extended the pre-sale or if the date is for a different batch. And that matters because YUPBRO is saying it’s 3-6 months from a set date, no matter what time you order.

Based on this, it’s 3-6 months from Sept 17th… so between December 17th and March 17th. But Devil Inspired told me it’s 3-6 months from when they ordered, November 19th. That pushes it forward 2 months. So March 19th-July 19th. Unfortunately, I have no way of verifying which is right.

The Alice Girl dress which is also delayed says this on DI’s site for processing time:

Unfortunately, I didn’t check the taobao page when I ordered, but there are a number of different rounds for this item.

It looks like a round for each month, with the final payment due 1.5 months later. If we assume we missed the end date for order 22, and are in order 23, then, the final payment should be at the end of February. So, I can assume that this isn’t going to hold up this order more than the YUPBRO stuff.

Lastly the floof… DI says 1-2 months…

Looked it up on the shop…

They say 40 working days after November 30th, so, let’s say M-F are working days (because IDK what they mean). That gives us 8 weeks which is Jan 25th, but it’s still not done, so that, I assume, is a delay on the part of the brand. That said, still technically should be done before the YUPBRO stuff in theory.

Also, can I just say I just did way more research than I would have had to do with Spree Now? I mean, I guess I could have written back to DI and asked for more details, but it was such a pain to get a hold of them that it seemed less work to go finding the items and checking things myself. And the other thing… I will have no idea when each of these items come in unless I manage to get a hold of their customer support again. I’m in the dark until they are ready to ship. Which means if I want to have any idea of when my order is ready, I’m going to have to do my own research.

In the time since I made this DI order, I have ordered: 3 skirts, 3 tops, 3 belts and 5 hair accessories from Dark Star Island, 6 blouses and a brooch from Dolls Party, a JSK set from Infanta, a red panda salopette set, and 2 pairs of shoes using spree now. I know which of these items are in their warehouse at any point in time. I can just look at my order and see that.

This is the spree now interface

What is supposed to be easier and less stressful is actually more of a pain thus far. What exactly am I paying for? Them to translate the items on their site? Because I’m definitely not paying for the customer service experience or good communication.


It’s now April 14th, still no news or updates, so I hopped over to weibo to see if YUPBRO had posted anything about the series since that is theoretically the last item I would be waiting for (again, theoretically, because DI doesn’t update you with individual item status unless you ask and it was too much work to ask for me to keep bothering them).

Their post says that final payments are due between March 23rd and April 23rd and that they will ship within 7 days of payment.

Let’s assume that DI is on top of things and they paid on March 23rd, add 7 days, that brings us to March 30.

In theory, this means that after March 30th, we are waiting for domestic shipping + DI checking in the items + DI Packing my order + DI shipping my order.

It’s been just over 2 weeks now since March 30th, and I have not yet gotten any updates about shipping.

But, if they weren’t on top of things, then the latest the items could ship from YUPBRO is April 30th, so if we give 2 weeks for DI to get the items, check in, pack and ship, we are looking at getting a tracking number mid May? I guess we will see…


Turns out I was just a tiny bit faster than they were. I got an email at 11:12pm on the 14th of April saying my items had shipped.

My order history on the site also updated, it shows the 15th because it’s based in their time not mine.

And then I got a second email from a gmail address that was named Erio Design 2 days later. I’m not really sure what the connection is to DI, I couldn’t find any. I assume it’s an employee, maybe the one who answered my initial inquiry?

Shipping was free, so I didn’t get to pick the shipping method. It looks like they used YunExpress, which when I used 17 track (which is what they gave me) it didn’t say anything about who picks it up after it goes overseas, but aftership had that information and indicated that it would transfer to USPS (and gave me the tracking number). It finally arrived via USPS on May 6th a bit after lunch time.

So timeline summary:
Ordered: November 11th, 2020
Confirmed: November 19th, 2020
Asked For Updates (Contact Form): February 8th, 2021
Asked For Updates (Facebook): February 24th, 2021
Asked For Updates (Email): February 25th, 2021
Reply to Updates (Email): February 25th, 2021
Shipped Email: April 14th 2021
Shipped Email 2: April 16th 2021
Arrived: May 6th, 2021

Original Time Estimate: 1-2 Months
Updated Time Estimate: 3-6 Months
Actual Time Frame: 5 Months, 25 Days

When the package arrived it looked like this. Remember, this contains a bonnet and $400 worth of stuff and has been in the mail for a month. I wasn’t really impressed.

I live streamed opening the package on FB very informally, and you can watch it here if you want:

But to summarize, it was double bagged in poly mailers and then inside each item was in a large plastic bag. All of the items did survive, even the bonnet (but it’s probably because the bonnet just has interfacing and was packed flat).

So, things I noticed right away. When I bought the side train from Milk Egg Lolita, it was listed on it’s own page, separate from the dress. And the photos showed the train in all pink. There were no photos and no text description of the other colors.

The page looked like what you see above here. So I assumed I was getting an all pink one if I picked pink, and an all black one if I picked black. This isn’t the case. It’s all pink with an accent bow in the color you choose. That tiny center bow is the only thing that changes color.

And that’s maybe something you could have figured out if you were looking at all the photos for all the items in the series, but it’s not something that is obvious from this listing.

I don’t know if I can really pin this on Devil Inspired, because it is an easy thing to just assume that all the colorways pictured in the stock photos were using the pink accent floof. And maybe they were as confused as I was. But, if they had included some photos of the other colorways, it might have helped me understand that I wasn’t ordering what I thought I was ordering.

Conclusion

In general, to compare this to my normal experience with my normal shopping service… having the items listed in one place in English was helpful and it did help me find things I might not have found if I was looking through taobao on my own. However, the information presented on those pages wasn’t complete, and in at least one case, that led to me being disappointed because the item wasn’t what I expected.

The time estimate they gave me was wrong, and not just an item was running late: they quoted me completely the wrong time.

They never answered me about the second order, which is not what I expect. My normal shopping service always “gets the last word”: my normal shopping service will confirm they read your message, even if your message is a confirmation.

They never answered two of my attempts to contact them, which maybe was because they saw they had already answered me elsewhere, but, still, I had to try 3 times to reach them.

The communication about item status was inferior to other services I’ve used (no updates unless you manually ask).

The packing of the shipment was inferior to what my typical service offers (I’m used to getting the classic heavy duty box covered in tape), however, nothing was damaged.

For the price (higher than other services), the service I received outside of them providing a list of items, was significantly worse.

Verdict: I won’t be using them again, and I don’t recommend their service.

I don’t think it’s a scam, it just was very lack luster. I would say that my past experiences with Clobba and LokiDokiDoki, both of whom provide English Language translations of item listings, were much better than this.

If price is your biggest concern though, a normal shopping service is going to be cheaper than a service that provides the translated item listings to you the vast majority of the time.

Have you tried DI? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below.

6 comments on “Review: Devil Inspired

  1. Thank you for doing such a detailed and thorough review, this will no doubts be helpful! I’ve never shopped with DI, primarily because by the time they popped up, I already knew how to buy from Taobao via a shopping service and being able to get something for less and to combine it with potential non-lolita orders was too much of a draw-in for me to go back to using reseller sites like DI. What you described sounds like a lot of hassle and a lot of stress, with most shops had I been in this situation, I would’ve been panicking that something’s gone wrong, messaging them a lot more often and may have ended up filing a PayPal/credit card claim. Which is not what you want when the whole advantage of using a reseller is supposed to be convenience and peace of mind.

  2. I paid $34 for expedited shipping on DevilInspired and it looks like they sent it out standard by accident. They used the same free shipping method that you got, YunExpress to USPS Parcel Select. It’s been 12 days now. I’m pretty upset I paid a lot and they sent it out wrong.

  3. I’ve made 3 orders, all of them went bad somehow. They leftout items, sent the wrong item, sent an item that was totally different to what I thought it was, never communicated when I asked, actualy REMOVED my review after I spent weeks chasing them with no response, and just generally were a pain to deal with.

    And the markup!! One dress I “didn’t” buy was $30 more!

    I can deal with long shipping delays but it took 4 months, and unlike you, my orders didn’t have processing delays so god knows what DI was doing in that time.

    They’re definitely not on my reccomend list.

  4. Hi, I read this post when you first published it (and I applaud your dedication, I certainly wouldn’t be capable of it @_@;) and I remembered that you were talking about your usual shopping service. I’ve never used a SS in China, only Japan, but turns out I need one now because I really want to buy some Chinese figures XD;
    I’m thinking that if I’m to make an account with a new service, I might as well find one who has experience with lolita fashion, for when I inevitably lose it and go on a lolita rampage orz
    So yeah, just wanted to ask if you thought Spreenow would be good both for lolita and fandom-related items? Thanks :3

    1. Spree now is definitely good for lolita. I don’t know much about fandom related goods from china, and like, how the ordering process works for those, but I can say that Spree Now is very good at communicating, they have a nice cart system where you can put items into a cart and then “check out” with the cart and they do two part buying really well. So like, if an item is on reservation and you have to pay a deposit now, and then the full payment later, they are pretty on top of that from what I’ve seen. And they tend to let you know how long it will take and make sure you are OK with the wait. They actually reached out to me recently and asked me if I wanted them to ship what had come in, or keep waiting for the items that were slower, which was really nice because… yeah, actually, I hadn’t meant to put it all together, lol.

      1. Sorry about the late reply, and thank you so much for the responding to my comment.
        They sound really good! I feel much more confident about going for it now lol. Also yeah the figures I want are actually a pre-order so if they’re used to that that’s definitely a plus. :]

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