Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Fyrinnae company overview

Before I start reviewing my sizeable stash of Fyrinnae products I feel compelled to write a company overview - or rather a disclaimer - first.

Fyrinnae are owned by and/or employ a number of staff who are highly unprofessional, juvenile or downright rude and extremely unpleasant depending on your perspective.

The pros of Fyrinnae will be discussed in my reviews - namely their products are awesome. The cons however are more complicated as Fyrinnae have never done anything outright immoral or illegal, so I wont actively recommend against purchasing from them, but felt it was important to inform you of their many issues so you can decide for yourself if they are a company you want to support.

Fyrinnae has four main issues which I will outline below:

Screen shot taken from their website:

 No interaction or information given to customers

At first I really respected the fact that Fyrinnae didn't try to drum up business, exposure and customers by sending out their products to v/bloggers (cough Sigma cough) or have a fan page of any sort - their seemingly reclusive nature and shun for limelight was something I originally admired as it lead me to believe they are confident enough in their product to not need to advertise it.

However as their website has a number of issues including extremely frequent and random 'closings' (they shut down the entire website with no warning, explanation or re-opening time given multiple times within a 24 hour period), automatic cart-emptying when the site is up (the cart with randomly dump all your products out so you can't purchase anything) or products removed without notice (often the entire eyeshadow section will just disappear). It's a mad scramble to get your order picked, decided and paid for before Fyrinnae decides to lock you out - on top of the fact their website is crappy (see point 4).

The message I'm currently being greeted with on their closed website

All of these issues are obviously confusing if you're not used to Fyrinnae's shenanigans and extremely annoying even if you are. This probably leads to a lot of emails questioning "why isn't the website working" and/or complaints and this is how Fyrinnae responds:

Highly unprofessional and passive aggressive tweets

Here're screencaps of a Fyrinnae's employee Teir starting rumours about the company on his personal twitter (which is publicly affiliated with Fyrinnae) - he then promptly deleted them.

Twitter screencap - Mushi seems pretty cool

Here're sceencaps of Fyrinnae calling their customers "rude and demanding" as well as having an "entitled attitude". While I don't doubt anyone working in customer service does have to deal with rude, demanding and entitled customers bitching about them on the official company twitter is beyond unprofessional. It also appears that perhaps two different Fyrinnae employees are posting to the twitter at the same time - a unnamed person and Marco/M who appears to be justifying the mystery poster's rants - again, this is incredibly juvenile and utterly idiotic.

Another Twitter screencap

Another major issue with this series of tweets is that Fyrinnae is accusing customers of prioritising makeup over (their) health. This is completely unjustified as, while I don't doubt Fyrinnae do receive complaints about their website's extremely frequent and random closings, they do not give any warning, explanation or re-opening information. Indie companies go on hiatus frequently due to illness, being overloaded with orders, needing to re-stock items or other significant issues. All of these posts linked - including Fyrinnae's - have been made in the last six months to give you some context and highlight that Fyrinnae's behaviour is not normal, nor in my opinion acceptable.

Poor, inconsistent customer service

I have placed three orders with Fyrinnae over the past year. Each one has had varying degrees of customer service issues. Remember below are my own personal experiences - these may hold less weight than the above points and tweets, and you can of course skip these anecdotes.

1) During my first order with them I asked if I could order more than their 20 eyeshadow mini max as they do not offer samples and I wanted to justify spending ~$9 on international postage - they said no. While this was somewhat annoying it didn't phase me, except for the paradoxical fact that they didn't seem to want my money. Odd behaviour for a store right? But I placed my first order anyway and was very happy with it.

2a) I emailed them asking what information their customs declaration forms contain (as England charges you £9 if you don't declare the package properly) - I had to send three separate emails over the course of 10 days before I got a response. They gave me approximately half of the information I'd requested and when I replied asking another question the email was ignored - it's been four months so it's safe to say I've given up hope of a response.

2b) As I placed my order I asked if I could request a specific eyeshadow as my complimentary sample - I even gave about half a dozen options just in case any were out of stock etc. Their response was a solid no. By this time I'd ordered from other indies and was aware this wasn't normal - but I'm not going to complain about freebies so wasn't really phased.

2c) They forgot to include a product I'd ordered (as well, somewhat ironically, as a freebie sample) - I contacted them explaining this and four days later received an email saying they'd sent a replacement. The only problem was they'd sent it to my grandmother's house in Hong Kong (who I was visiting when I placed the order) - I was and am currently living in England. Again, not a huge deal but somewhat inconvenient. I wasn't even asked if I'd prefer a refund, store credit, a discount or what address to ship it to - again, communication could really be improved.

A final Twitter screen cap (hint: I am not txteva)

2d) When I finally received the missing item from my order that's all I received - no note, no missing freebie (despite me mentioning that they forget it in my original order) or apology freebie. Now I know complaining about not getting free stuff is really bratty but when it's standard with an order (like samples from Sephora) and they didn't include it, and they've screwed up my order making made me wait for the replacement item for over a month I'd think that a placating eyeshadow sample would be a nice gesture. This is not at all standard for indie companies (or in my experience any cosmetic company) and leaves me feeling a bit bitter towards the ever arrogant Fyrinnae.

3) I placed my most recent Fyrinnae order last month and three days later emailed them asking if they could swap two products of equal size and value as they hadn't shipped my parcel yet. The response was similar to their official twitter thread above - either two different people were emailing me or one person was having a major mood swing. It's prudent to note these following messages were received between midnight and 8am my time so I obviously had neither read nor replied to any of them - first I was informed that no, it was not possible to change my order. Three hours later I received another email explaining that as everything had been packed and printed they could only cancel and refund my order so I could correct and replace it in another separate order. Six hours later I received a final email saying that as I hadn't responded they'd shipped the package anyway but would include the requested mini in my next order. Maybe I spend too much of my academic life analysing literature but the tone between the first and the following emails was markedly different.

Overall my personal experiences of course haven't been horrible (they haven't run off with my money and not delivered my order) but the buying experience from Fyrinnae is significantly less pleasant than buying from every single other indie I've tried.

Crappy website

I'm separating this from the above website issues (closings, cart emptying, missing products) because having a distinctly retro website isn't that bad. - straight from the 90s 

However it's their lack of accurate swatches, or even just swatches that clearly illustrate their "we could care less" attitude. It's not difficult to dab some product of your arm and snap a photo in daylight with your camera or phone. And even if that's beyond Fyrinnae for whatever reason sending a few samples to bloggers or just asking if they could use their photos is an easy alternative - not having swatches on an indie site is extremely frustrating for the consumer as trying to find accurate swatches on google is an extensive and boring task, and doesn't always yield results. Above I commended Fyrinnae for their independence in not advertising themselves, but again, I believe that would be mistaking their arrogance for mere confidence.

At every step of the way Fyrinnae are showing you how little you mean as a customer to them: they'll close their website and empty your cart without warning or explanation, not letting you buy from them. They'll not bother to take accurate photos of their products, and even if you decide you want something they'll limit how many you're allowed to order. If you email them with questions you'll wait over a week for a curt response unless you're lucky enough to get through to their one pleasant employee (or perhaps their regular employees when they're in a good mood). They're running their business like a spoilt, moody teenager - and I doubt if they hadn't been one of the original indies they'd be as popular as they are now irregardless of product quality.

My Fyrinnae collection - I can assure you that none of these products are unique or irreplaceable

In conclusion:

There is no denying that Fyrinnae make excellent cosmetics - though I certainly question whether they run the cosmetic formulation and packaging as carelessly as they run their PR. Although no fingerprints or hairs have been found in any Fyrinnae cosmetics they have had issues with both texture and colour (different colour link), though both can be somewhat explained by their recent eyeshadow reformulation.

As indie consumers often like to support small businesses, enjoy personal interaction as well as an extra level of care (and prefer to shop vegan or ‘cruelty free') - it’s worth noting if you want the ‘indie experience’ Fyrinnae are not the way to go. Expect to be treated exactly the same as if you bought from a corporate brand, but without the ease of purchase.

There are also many other indies out there that make almost identical products in quality, complexity and cost who are run by pleasant people who actually want your business, and I am planning on doing a Fyrinnae dupe thread in the coming months for anyone enticed by beautiful swatches but repulsed by the company.

Basically Fyrinnae are like that friend who never calls or responds to any texts, but when they do show up at a party they're great fun until they bitch someone out and puke in the sink.

Love, Saskia X

(who promises to never puke in your sink)

@aiksasarual on instagram


  1. I can only imagine this review is going to generate a lot of commentary, but I wanted to thank you for it. I'm enjoying trying indies, but customer service is really important to me no matter where I'm buying from. Thanks for the info!

    1. Thank you! I felt compelled to write this both because I'm about to review a ton of Fyrinnae products and only want to have to mention this unpleasantness once, and the fact that I couldn't find anything online containing all Fyrinnae's recent shenanigans in one place.

      I really hope they start improving because it's such a shame as they really do produce beautiful cosmetics!

  2. kudos for writing and exposing questionable at best business practices! I respect bloggers who tell the truth instead of spewing rainbow and sunshine about all brands.

  3. I've ordered from Fyrinnae once with no issue, but I fear my experience was an exception, not the rule. Part of the pleasure in makeup (at least for me) comes from the process of acquiring it; I'll take note of this post if I ever consider any future orders, so many thanks!

  4. I really want to order from them, but I need them to clean up their act before I do. I support a lot of indies out there because I love that they are good people doing what they love and making kickass products at the same time. As much as I desperately want to try some of their products, I'm on hold until they actually want new business.