A site that lets you buy brand new pricey men’s clothing and accessories for consistently less than retail sounds too good to be true.
And for the most part it is. Except for Massdrop.com.
Started in 2012, Massdrop is a new kind of web service. It’s not a retailer, and it doesn’t have any kind of item on hand to sell you. Instead, it acts as a middleman between manufacturers and customers.
Their 1 million active users vote for what product they would like to see on a “drop.” Coats, backpacks, boots, shoes, wallets, belts, and more are all available to be voted on. Once the poll closes, Massdrop will reach out to the brand of the top voted product. If they decline, Massdrop will then reach out to the second top-voted. Massdrop presumably gets the goods for cheaper wholesale, making a tiny profit in the process.
Since the goods offered are voted on by a group of enthusiasts, the brands are often considered very good quality. In the past, Massdrop has featured Fjallraven, Rancourt & Co., Randolph Engineering, Seiko, Orient, Alpha Industries, and Oak Street Bootmakers. Massdrop also offers other enthusiast equipment, including headphones, camera equipment, lockpicking sets, and even vaporizers.
Once a brand is signed up and on board for the drop, Massdrop will allow users to join the drop and sign up to the purchase the item. It will start at full price, but the price will lower as more people sign up to purchase it. There’s no gambling involved here, luckily. You can also sign up to buy the item only if the lowest price becomes unlocked.
When the drop ends, Massdrop sends the exact order to the manufacturer. All drops are a limited-time only affair, and some are only offered in a limited quantity. The product will then be shipped as one order to Massdrop, who will then package it in individual shipments and send those out to the customers.
And here’s where the first real drawback comes in. From the time Massdrop submits the group order to the time the product is shipped, Massdrop has absolutely no control over the timeline. If you’re looking to get your new item in a hurry, Massdrop is not for you.
First you have to wait for the drop to end, then wait for Massdrop to submit the order, then wait for the manufacturer to fulfil the order, then wait for Massdrop to split the order, then wait for the order to get to you.
That’s a lot of waiting, but Massdrop keeps you in the loop throughout the process with reassuring “drop update” emails.
I’ve ordered two items from Massdrop in the past couple of months: a Corter Leather Bottlehook (and a Faler Brand Belt. In terms of turnaround times, I committed to the Corter drop on May 1 and my bottlehook was in my hands on May 26. The hook I got for $US27 and it has a regular price of $US36, while I paid $US40 for the belt. (I’m unsure of the retail price of the belt is — Faler doesn’t have a company website.)
For the Faler drop, there were some issues with the manufacturer securing the materials for the belts. I committed to the drop on March 28, but didn’t receive the belt until May 18. Not exactly a speedy turnaround.
If you’re willing to wait, however, the deals can definitely be worth it.