An honest review: My SHEIN experience

I’ve been so bored with my current wardrobe – I usually buy high-quality items and I look after them really well (so they last ages). That’s great, except that I feel like I’ve been wearing the same outfits for years now. Is it just me or are clothes super expensive? Especially corporate wear. Like many of you, I saw the SHEIN adverts on Facebook and I was super skeptical. I asked if anyone had used them and what their experience was. After speaking to a few trusted friends I placed an order and it went like this…

Timeline:

27 September:

I placed an order for 26 items. I paid R4115 in total. This is after SHEIN gave me free shipping, a 20% off coupon, this price included shipping insurance. At first, they told me my order would only arrive on 10 November which was quite disappointing. However, it arrived much sooner than that (yay). I tracked my order on the app, so I could see exactly where my order was at any point.

16 October – 19 days after I placed my order:

My shipment arrived at customs in SA. Aramex called me to ask if I had an importers code and to confirm my email address.

20 October:

I received an invoice from Aramex for R1329

The breakdown was as follows:

  • R260 clearance
  • R29 disbursement fee
  • R355 Customs VAT
  • R685 Duties

Which I paid the same day

24 October – 4 weeks after the order was placed:

My order arrived at my door!! My shipment literally took 4 weeks from order to delivery. I was super nervous about the quality of the clothing and if everything would be there. My order arrived in a flyer bag and each item was individually wrapped in a plastic, ziplocked bag. Most of the clothes had tissue paper in the package and an extra button.

I was honestly really impressed with the sizing and the quality of the garments. I found that their sizing chart was true to size and the quality was great. Just like what you would buy from Zara or any other clothing shop. Some of the fabric was really soft and comfortable while others were a little stiffer, none of the shirts were sheer, and the silk blouses were made of a light fabric and looked more expensive than they were. The cotton shirts breathable, two of them were made of quite a thick cotton fabric and I loved that too. The cotton shirts with embroidery detail really were embroidered, the detail wasn’t printed on (which I was worried about). The only thing that didn’t fit quite right was the bikini I bought. The bottoms fit, but the top was a little too small and honestly – I’m ok with that…. Now to decide which family member gets a teeny, weeny, leopard print bikini this summer.

Image comparison:

My advice for your SHEIN order:

  • Take the shipping insurance
  • Track your parcel
  • Be prepared to pay a customs fee that’s about 30% of your total cost
  • Know your measurements and order accordingly. I ordered items between XS to L based on the measurements so don’t just order a small because that’s what you usually are – actually look at the measurements
  • Look at the image reviews and make a decision from there
  • Read the descriptions of what the fabrics are made of to manage your expectations
  • Be prepared to wait about 4 weeks for your order

Even with customs fees, my clothing items averaged out at around R220 per item which is great if you ask me. I bought a combination of work blouses, casual shirts, and 2 jumpsuits and I’m really happy with my purchases. SHEIN offers you points for posting reviews of the clothes, which I like as you can use these points to get a discount on your next order. They also apologised for a delay in the shipping and gave me extra points which worked out to be about R200 off my next order. Truth be told, I wasn’t even affected by the delivery date as the items still came weeks before I was expecting them.

I’m not expecting these clothes to last years and years but I feel like I can buy a few, fashionable items every season now and it won’t bankrupt me. I recommend mixing and matching higher quality items with your SHEIN items to create a fashionable look. The description tells you what the fabric is made of too, so you know if you should expect a thicker/thinner fabric.

Good luck and happy shopping!

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33 Comments

  1. Blanca

    Hey ,I ordered something and it already arrived in South Africa but they send me an email to said that I have to wait 4 working days and they will send me a link which I will use to pay the customer clearance but now it’s been 6 days and I don’t understand what happened?what’s the problem?

  2. Ngwakwana

    Hi I want to know if it’s possible to change the courier company on Shein? cause the one which was chosen for me has so many bad reviews and I don’t want to lose my money

    1. Lisa

      Unfortunately you can’t change the courier company, Shein chooses it by themselves

  3. Raabiah

    Hi, I ordered something on SHEIN and it is asking for a shipping fee, can I pay it through my banking app or do I need to go the bank?

  4. nonto995m@gmail.com

    How can one recieve their parcel if from the rural areas can it be recieved via post office ?

  5. Phumla ngubane

    I placed an order for the first time . eatimated date was 21 to 27 of September on the 21 i called them as i was concenred about my progress on tracking app not moving.
    They yold me to wait but on the 27th i decided to call again because no movements were taking place that is whrn they told me i meed to pay . when i asked them why they told me i will recieve an email with an invoice but uo until today i haven’t recieved any .

    How do i go about paying or gwtt8this invoice

  6. Alizwa

    I was sent an sms to pay for the import tax ,but I did not use the link instead I went to my banking app and transferred them the tax to the cheque account they have sent.. will they receive it or I had to send it via the link?

  7. Anele

    No

  8. Anele

    If you order 17 clothes items that cost 1760 and you get free shipping delivery are they things that I have to pay for and how much will they cost

  9. Tumelo Mokoditoa

    did you receive your Aramex custom charge link through email or sms?

  10. Samukelisiwe

    Hey…..do we pay our import duties to Buffalo International or the Courier company being Aramex…..and did you receive a link to pay through?

  11. Jacob Mkhonza

    Hi. Shein I’m Jacob Mafiri Mkhonza from south Africa.

    When purchasing shein products do I also pay tax or just a R150 shipping fee

    1. Tamryn Sher

      Hi Jacob,

      Some people’s packages get stopped at customs and they need to pay the customs fees and some don’t.

      Rather budget to spend about 20% of the value of your package on customs – just incase.

  12. Kamogelo Sepeng

    Hi i bought things from shein ,received an email that i have to pay r234 for customs i paid it today i was supposed to receive my parcel problem is that i have inserted wrong phone numbers and. On the tracking thing on the app i saw that it was unable to be delivered to me and probably due to the phone numbers what can i do ?

    1. Tamryn Sher

      Hey – I would call the courier company, give them your reference number and then correct your contact number on the system 🙂

  13. Be my customer tax

    If I have bought things for R1400 how much will

    1. Tamryn Sher

      I have no idea sorry – how much did you land up paying?

  14. Prudence

    do you have to pay Customs on top of the shipping fee?

  15. Prudence

    so do you have to pay Customs on top of tue shipping few?

  16. Rose

    I ordered for the 1st time and shipping was free and my order just arrived.

    I’m now ordering for the 2nd time and received an sms as well as email from Buffalo to pay Vat/ customs fee why am I paying now and not the 1st time when I ordered.

    And what happens if I refuse to pay?

    1. Tamryn Sher

      Sometimes your packages get stopped at customs and sometimes they don’t. It’s a gamble.

      If you refuse to pay, they won’t hand over your package, then after 3 months they destroy it.

  17. Khumo

    Hello. I’m asked to pay Tax for intentional import. Will I be asked to also pay custom fee again. An I see its Baffaloex company not SHEIN. Please advise its first time I shop international.

    1. Tamryn Sher

      Nope, this is the only fee you should be paying – have you come right?

  18. Amina

    Hello, I would like to know how much did you pay for custom fee? This is the first time I’m hearing off it and I’m a bit confused.

  19. Langelihle

    Hey 🙂 When ordering on SHEIN do I need to sign up for Aramex Global Shopper? Did it come to your door? I’m a bit confused and nervous loll. Sorry for bothering you 🙂

    1. Tamryn Sher

      Hey, sorry for the late reply. If it doesn’t get stopped at customs, it comes straight to your door.

      If it gets stopped at customs then aramex calls you when it arrives, you pay a customs fee and then they deliver it to your door.

      You don’t need to sign up for aramex global shopper

  20. Walia Azraa

    Do you have to have an importers code?

    1. Tamryn Sher

      Babes, the answer is no. I didn’t have an importers code. I think they have to ask though – perhaps you get a discount with a code? They confirmed my email address and emailed me my invoice.

  21. Laura Sher

    Thanks for all this information! Its very helpful and will definitely try it out 🙂

  22. Casey

    Yay! I ordered but only for R400 cuz I was nervous – and I cheated and sent it via a UK forwarding address cuz I was nervous 😂 but next time I’ll send straight to SA!

    1. Tamryn Sher

      I was also super nervous so I completely understand. I’m so happy it worked out well for me though.

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