Thursday, August 22, 2013

Black Milk Blues

As some of you may know, I am a big fan of a certain clothing brand called Black Milk.  They have been around for at least the past 5 years and I was acquainted to them by a friend last year.  When I found the world of Black Milk, everything changed.  I wanted to be the girl with the cool shiny nylon leggings.  I wanted to have all the different styles and colors, especially since it brought edginess and color to my otherwise normal wardrobe.  My friend showed me what it was like to become a "Sharkie," or the term used for girls who wore Black Milk.  My legging and dress collection grew very quickly over the past 6 months, which brought me from one piece to 50.  I don't know what came over me, but I wanted everything.  I was dubbed the "Frankensharkie" by my friends because of my need to have all the leggings.  As fads go in fashion, I thought having printed leggings was the "in thing."  If you saw a girl in the city walking around with Black Milk leggings, you'd usually call them out and compliment them because that's just the way it was.

Black Milk created an atmosphere where girls all around the world who enjoyed their clothing spoke and interacted with each other.  They created many groups where each country could interact with their fellow Sharkies, and even other ones to help motivate each other to do certain things (ex:  Black Milk Get Fit and Healthy Exercise Motivation Group).  The United States has a few groups and I'm in some of them.  The girls are quite lovely there and I've been blessed to meet some of them in person.  When James Lillis (dubbed jL - the creator and owner of BM) came to NYC to visit, an impromptu meet up was formed and I found out about it through the East Coast BM page.  I was so excited to meet him and my other fellow Sharkies.  It was a great night.  He was very attentive to what the girls wanted and he listened to each of our thoughts.  After I met him, I knew BM was special and I wanted to know more.  It was quite a different atmosphere.

I will explain the normal process of how BM operates to better understand the Black Milk World.  Black Milk is an online-based company who works and operates out of Australia.  They ONLY do online business and they have created a giant clientele of ladies to buy their clothing.  Once a month, they come out with a release of 10-20 specific items that can either be related to each other (ex: Star Wars) or may just look cool.  There are regular pieces that will be in-store for a while and they also come out with limited pieces, where these pieces are only made with a certain quantity due to the limited amount of fabric they have, if they believe the product will sell, and the amount of girls interested in it.  Once they are sold out of the store, you can not get that particular pair of leggings anymore.  Black Milk usually has a release date and time scheduled through Brisbane, Australia, so if it's 9AM there, I'd have to be on a computer at exactly 7PM to catch the release.  This also goes for the ladies around the rest of the world.  No matter what time it is in their country, they will still have to be on the computer at 9AM Brisbane time.  When you buy your clothing, you also have to watch the cost because if you make it over $200, you get free shipping... BUT the government makes you pay customs fees, which can range from $40-150.  That isn't fun either.  If you only buy one pair of leggings, shipping costs $12 for regular international flat rate and takes about two weeks to get to you, or you can FedEx it for a higher cost.

A friend of mine told me to join the Black Milk Buy, Sell and Swap page, which was a page dedicated to girls selling off their unwanted Black Milk leggings, rather than putting them up on eBay.  They have a very strict policy on how they run the page, so all the girls are screened and are obliged to abide by the rules.  I asked to join the group and after a few weeks, I was let in.  I mostly bought leggings from other girls that were either slightly cheaper or discontinued from the Black Milk page.  One pair of leggings originally costed me $75AUD, or $80.76USD from the Black Milk site.  A dress would cost $99AUD, which was equivalent to $106.61... so to find a place where I can get some designer clothes a little cheaper was great.  I bought clothes here and there, mainly from Black Milk's mainland, Australia.  The girls were really nice and I never had a problem... and when we had to give feedback, they would always give me positive ones so other Sharkies knew who to deal with.  The admins are based in Australia, and they helped Black Milk maintain "order" by making sure the girls were all following the rules.  Black Milk wanted to put their groups in good hands, so these girls made sure they knew what they were doing.  I know Black Milk didn't get any money out of this, but it was nice for them to have a place where girls can still enjoy what they don't sell anymore.

After 52 pieces and blasting at least $1500 of my paychecks on Black Milk, I realized it was time to sell some items.  I would post the items I didn't want or need anymore and sell them for $70USD, which was a bit lower than the RRP (recommended retail price).  I sold them a bit cheaper because I only wore them once or twice for the most part.  The buyer usually asks for pictures and covers the price of shipping, and I'd mail it out later that day or the next one.  I'd send them the tracking number and make sure to add a little something extra as a small thanks for buying my leggings.  I am happy because I get my money back and the buyer is happy they have something new to wear.  I've always taken great care of my stuff, and I make sure to let anyone know if there are any defects.  This has gone on for quite some time and I've never had any problems selling on the BSS page.  It made my life so much easier because I didn't have to deal with listings, bidding, eBay problems, etc.  Plus, I got my money right away and used it to pay my bills off.  Over the course of time, I stopped buying a lot of Black Milk products because of the weather change to summer, the cost, and because I was always short on cash to pay my bills.  I used the BSS page to help me gain my money back since my job was currently lacking hours.

This is what an average swap post looks like:

"My collection is way too big for its own good. Going through some of these and doing some summer cleaning...

All prices are in USD.  Shipping is $6.00 for USA, Int'l at your own expense.

"SELL/SWAP USA (pref)/INT'L://
  • M Zen Leggings (worn once PC) - $70
  • M Leg Bones 2.0 Leggings (BNWT) - $75
  • M Phoenix Leggings (a fuzzy patch by the left thigh, worn a few times) - $65
  • M Chill Out Leggings (worn once) - $70
  • M Great Wave Dress (BNWOT never worn/old cut) - $90
  • M Shark Girl Dress (BNWOT - never worn, just ripped the tags off to try on) - $90
  • M Le Cafe Leggings (worn twice PC) - $70
  • M Glass Lorikeet Leggings (worn twice PC) - $70
  • M Junkfood Blue Leggings (worn once PC) - $70

PM me if you're looking to buy anything.  Thanks!"

Everything has been going smoothly up until recently.  A few weeks ago, I had one girl post on my page, "Prices have to be under RRP."  I asked her how I should do that if I'm posting under what I paid for and she told me to get a currency converter.  I took a look at the currency change and it turns out that a pair of $75AUD leggings now costs $67.27USD.  I was annoyed so I stopped posting on the BSS page and sought advice from some of the BM girls on the east coast.  Apparently, I'm not the only one who got annoyed.  Some of the other ladies were complaining about the currency exchange and saying it wasn't fair for us to change and lower our costs because the economy changed.  I don't believe it's my fault to have to lower the price of something that is literally almost brand new, or even something NEW with tags still attached because of "the economy."  I paid at least $80USD per item and I intend on getting my money back out of them.  My reasonable asking prices didn't even include the original cost of shipping and extra fees for packaging.  The international girls were also having problems with their items because they always have to pay customs fee if they get international packages.  Some of the ladies gave me advice to contact an admin if there was really a big problem, but I don't see how there could have ever been a problem if I'd been doing the same thing since I'd joined the page... so I let it go and I forgot about it for a week or two.

I started back up again last night and this time, I decided to write a little disclaimer at the top in case something were to happen again.  I wrote:

"All prices are in USD, and these prices are lower than the original RRP I got them for. They are all discontinued items and I am keeping the costs as is. Shipping is $6.00 for USA, Int'l at your own expense."

As usual, ladies were asking to buy some of my items and were willing to swap their stuff... until THE SAME GIRL commented on my post once again, telling me I was breaking the rules.  I was so aggravated because I've been following the rules all along and she had the nerve to do this to me once again, making other ladies think I was trying to rip them off because my prices claim to be "higher" than RRP.  So... this is how it went...

My response was cordial and polite, but I wanted her to know that I KNEW what the rules were and that I've been following them.  She responded by telling me she was "reporting me to an admin" and she gave me a copy of the "rules."  At this point, I'm beyond aggravated and I'd beat her to the punch about reporting her.  A ton of US Sharkies came to support me because they didn't believe in the Australian monarchy within the BSS page either.  They all complained about how unfair it was for us to lose money over the currency exchange and how we aren't asking for anything more than what we paid for.  It took over an hour of arguing until an admin finally addressed the situation... and she wasn't really much help.

The Australian girls started getting in on arguing with me about how they have to pay "so much more money" when the USD is stronger.  Are we international Sharkies supposed to feel bad over their slight overpayment?  I think not.  There should be no double standard.  AT ALL.  What's worse about all of this is that the United States has absolutely NO representation in the Black Milk BSS community... and neither does any other country, for that matter.  European Sharkies have to sell their items a certain way to at least get their customs fees back.  All the admins on the page are Australian, so they only cater to the Australian demographic, screwing the rest of the world over.  I've noticed in recent months that many US girls have been upset over the way the admins carry out their "duties."  On top of that, jL and Cam give them special treatment and privileges because of the way they run the page.  I can understand that, but that doesn't mean the admins can completely ignore everyone else and cater to their own.  If everyone else had some form of representation, it would make things a little easier on us all... but alas, we aren't Australian, so we don't get a say in the Black Milk Monarchy.

At the end of all the ranting, my question was never answered on if I would be able to use my post the way I had it.  Just because Shakirra posted an excerpt from "the rules" doesn't mean my questions were entirely answered... and many other girls had unanswered questions as well.  I'm fed up with the petty nonsense from the Black Milk Community and I'm petitioning to create a NEW BSS page strictly for the United States.  If that isn't possible, then I want Cam and jL to listen to me and realize what they're doing is really destroying the community.  It wasn't fair that I got harassed for sticking up for myself on the BSS page.  I am not going to allow myself to be a victim of libel just because people THINK I'm doing the wrong thing, and they aren't even admins.  Chances are, I've probably been on the page longer than some of the other newbies there and if I hadn't been messaged by an admin, it probably means I'm not doing anything wrong.  I don't know where these girls get off thinking they are administration and they can go about by bullying everyone else because things don't cater to their likings.

I'm writing for every single girl that's either been bullied or harassed on any of the Black Milk pages, especially the BSS one.  Black Milk Clothing needs to do something about this and they need to listen to the international ladies around the world.  It's ridiculous for us to have to follow a set of rules that only pertain to one continent.  It isn't fair that we have to pay so much money for something girls can get for a cheaper price... and don't even get me started on the "AUSTRALIA ONLY SAMPLE SALES."  We can save that rant for another day... but Black Milk has really lost their magical touch.  I'm so upset about this that I'm not planning on buying anything from them until they address this situation... and chances are, I'm not the only one who's mad.  I can and will speak up - that is my right for free speech... and if the BSS girls don't like it, then that's tough cookies because here in America, we say what we want.  That's the beauty of the internet... you can get all your information from here for free and find out the TRUTH behind all the sweet, sugar-coated lies.

If you would like to help and sign my petition, you can do so HERE.

If you'd also like to be heard, leave a comment below and we'll make sure we get our representation.  If I get kicked out of the BSS page or any other Black Milk page, then so be it... but I'm not going down without a fight.


  1. Wow - you actually started a petition? #firstworldproblems
    I acknowledge that the Swap page is not great, in order to sell items quickly to earn money I often price items low to clear them out. I wouldn't expect to get back what I paid because they are secondhand clothes - where else can you get that % of money back for secondhand clothes? It's pretty crazy when you think about it.
    Also unfortunately the changing US dollar is annoying but it also is good for you because brand new BM items are currently cheaper. You need to consider the current shop value of items before pricing them to sell on SSB, and then adjust accordingly depending on rarity & condition. Glass Lorikeets are never going to sell for $70 - they just aren't a very sought after piece :-(
    Also why don't you just start a BSS page yourself if you really feel that strongly about it? You really don't need permission from BM - just go ahead and do it!

    1. The reason why I sought out after BM was because I actually respected them as a company, not because of any of any of the girls or the admins. The girls from the US look for support because we do get screwed over. I used the BSS page because I just wanted to find a good home for my leggings - not because I was using it to make a profit for myself. Had I wanted to make a profit, I'd just produce knock offs and sell them on all sorts of pages... and sell my own Black Milk on eBay. Hell, I could even do it the old fashioned way by buying all their sample sale items, having them shipped here, and selling them for 3x the amount... but NO. I've respected them in a sense where I can just get back whatever I paid for.

      If you want to laugh at me for making a petition, that's fine with me, but at least I'm willing to openly speak about how I feel and I have other girls backing me up on it because they don't agree with a lot of what's been going on lately.

    2. But at the end of the day they are still secondhand items. Getting back 1/2 of what your paid for them is still a great result - I often sell my other clothes at the market and I'm lucky to get $5 or $10 for them. You are being unreasonable to expect that you will get back what you paid for a brand new piece of clothing.
      I didn't imply that you are trying to make money - I was merely suggesting ways that I have found successful to sell unused items. I currently have 60 something items, but 134 have passed through my hands. I have sold via ebay, BSS, and other methods, and honestly BSS is my least favourite, and least successful.
      If I was in the US/Europe I'd just start a group with people you trust initially and then go from there. It's not like the BSS is foolproof and completely safe - there have been several instances where scammers have acted.
      Let me just ask this way - if you wanted to start a Converse BSS page, would you ask Mr Converse? No. I get that you respect BM, but I think the BSS has outgrown it's initial market and there is definitely a need for several more options. However, this is no longer a focus for BM, as they have grown beyond wanting to manage marketplace pages.
      No one in Australia is trying to screw you guys over, our postage costs are ridiculous and it sucks. I wish I could cheaply post things overseas - I have no problem selling to US or Europe.

  2. Lol. Nice try.
    - James and Cam have nothing to do with the community groups. It's completely fan run. If you want a new BSS group start one yourself, no ones stopping you, it's a free internet society.
    - The US did have a sample sale early last year. Check your facts. Why should a company have to pay shipping on faulty items to the US that they're already losing money on?

    You don't hear me whinging about having to pay $50Au shipping from F21 when all I want are $3 earrings. I find my own solutions to my problems. If you think this petition is going to get you anywhere, goodluck with that.

    1. It's obviously completely over run by fans, which is why there has to be something done with it. As I said to the girl above, I respect BM, which is why I didn't even bother to start a new one in the first place.

      I don't know how you can call 30% off of the list price of items a sample sale. You're not paying nearly that much for any leggings or dresses during Australian sample sales. $30 is nothing, compared to $55 we had to pay for. Don't tell me that's a "normal sample sale."

      The thing is, you DON'T pay $50AUD for shipping, because international shipping costs from Forever 21 starts at $15, as is the same for shipping internationally from Australia to the US. Please don't over exaggerate with me. And yes, I do think my petition will get somewhere... and it really doesn't matter if you don't support me or what I have to say, because hundreds of other girls out there do.

    2. I remember one time I tried to buy one eyeshadow pallette from Amazon for $5. When I went to check out it was $80 for postage!!! I wish I was joking. US online shopping is frustrating for us here!

    3. I've been quoted $120 for shipping from US to AUS on three dresses before. if anything reroys was under-exaggerating! I know sooo many girls who only order from the US if they have a group of girls willing to go in together on a single order and split the shipping because nobody wants to foot a $60 shipping cost themselves

  3. I'm ordering something from the US right now, $60 USD, going to cost me $67 AUD, plus postage which is $24.95 USD. I was just having a sad because a few days ago the AUD spiked and was buying over $1 USD, should have purchased then, actually, considering I didn't take that opportunity I should petition the company to let me pay less because it's just not fair that exchange rates change. Petition your government if you don't like it.
    The AUD rule exists because people were choosing to sell in different currency to trick people.
    Right now anything you purchase in Aus is going to cost you less than it did a few months ago, so seriously, I mean, suck it up. It will even itself out. That's just the way of the world.
    Your listing should have been in AUD. If you bought it for $75 AUD, your sell it for $75 AUD, max, simple. You buy from Australia, you pay Australian prices, us here in Aus we have had to pay above the USD price for most of our lives, are are doing it again, it is such a non-issue. Otherwise you're free to go to eBay, or discuss with your regional group admins having a sell option on that page, I believe there is in Canada.
    Also, please don't be jealous of sample sales, SAMPLES ARE DEFECTIVE, they are broken, stained, poorly sewn, different fabric, mis sized, defective. I have sold almost every sample I've gotten, because they are usually quite rubbish. You are spending $30 on clothes that any other company would THROW AWAY. Furthermore, Aus is probably not getting any more sample sales, because they are donating samples to charities for young women. Half of Aus never got any sample sales anyway, just the east coast. To my knowledge BM have never even visited Perth, but they've been to the US and Europe a few times, and before you say "it's easy to get state to state in Aus so they could fly there" no, it's not, usually it costs the same if not more to fly overseas than it does to fly within Australia.
    The groups are run by regular volunteer fans, they do not get paid and they have NOTHING to do with black milk officially, 'taking it up' with jL and Cam is a waste of your time and their time.
    I find this whole issue very frustrating. You just need to relax and realise that these problems affect EVERYONE in the world, this isn't an issue against international sharkies on behalf of Australia, it is just the way buying internationally works. I don't feel like the US is against me right now because my jewelry is going to cost more that it would have a few days ago, it's just the luck of the draw. You can follow market trends and buy big or you can go with the flow and stop complaining.

  4. Im selling some museum pieces, find me on FB Wilbur Paddington or me

    Ribs Swim
    Woah Dude Long Sleeve Dress
    Leg Bones
    Red Circuit Board
    Cross St Peter Black