Ask Design Mom: Shopping as an Expat

June 6, 2011

Question:
How are you getting your Warby Parkers shipped to France? On their site, they write that they only ship within the U.S. Iā€™m in Canada, and as so often is the case, apparently out of luck in trying out this company. ā€” Anna

Answer:
Great question, Anna! I have a few different options. 1) I have stuff shipped to my mom who lives in Utah, and then she ships it on to me. 2) I have stuff shipped to Melanie, who watches the P.O. Box I left behind in Colorado. Then she ships it on to me. 3) If I have a friend or relative coming to France for a visit, I have stuff shipped to them and then they bring it to France in their suitcase. 4) When I knew I was going to be in the U.S. for Mom 2.0, I had a few things shipped to my hotel in New Orleans. Like the shoes pictured here. : )

Don’t have those sorts of options available? No stress. Natasha told me about My US and I think it’s genius. You sign up with them for an annual fee and they give you a U.S. shipping address. You can shop from any U.S. stores you like and have the products shipped to your assigned address ā€” then My US forwards the packages on to you wherever you live in the world. I haven’t tried this, but it sounds smart and costs about what I pay for my P.O. Box.

How about you Dear Readers? Have you ever tried a service like this? Do you have one you would recommend?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Giulia June 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Well…what can we all ‘European’ moms say? A huge thank you to Gabrielle and Natasha! This is certainly the smartest url for all of us who would just love to have no online shopping limitations… Never again envious of us mommies! Merci bien! Grazie!!

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2 Design Mom June 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm

So glad I could help! If you try out the service, I hope you’ll let us know what it’s like.

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3 Amy Audette June 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Great info about My US. My sister currently lives in Germany and is moving to Korea this summer. She often uses similar methods to you to get her US purchases to her but of course there are times that service would be a huge help. Can’t wait to pass it on.

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4 Anne Evans June 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Is there anything reverse for this? I see lots of stuff I love from UK sites that don’t ship to US. Also Japan!

Neat service!

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5 Design Mom June 7, 2011 at 3:36 am

Wouldn’t that be amazing, Anne? If you hear of anything please let me know.

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6 Bego June 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Very useful information! Thank you :)

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7 Sara June 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I’m an American living in Vancouver, Canada and sorely miss the on-line shopping options in the States. If Anna lives near the US border, she can have packages shipped to a nearby US city and go down and pick up. There are plenty of shipping stores that will receive and hold your packages for a fee. I drive to Point Roberts, WA or Bellingham, WA every few months for package pick up and a Target fix.

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8 Miss Stovetop June 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I live in Dubai, and have stuffed shipped from US and UK brands through Shop & Ship. (No, I’m not that big a shopaholic, I promise it’s common practice among we expats here :D)

So Shop & Ship is a service from Aramex that gives you two P O boxes, one in UK and the other in US (I believe they’ve just started China too). I buy stuff online, get it shipped to either if the addresses depending on store and once it arrives in the P O box, it gets shipped to me in Dubai! Easy peasy. Works great for me because everything in Dubai is so much more expensive than it is in the US/Europe. And more variety :)

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9 Design Mom June 7, 2011 at 3:37 am

Glad to know about Shop & Ship. Thanks for the info!

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10 Denise Laborde June 7, 2011 at 1:08 am

Haha, I use all of those methods of import too!

When I lived in Costa Rica (in 1997) I had a US post box taht offered services similar to My US. I can’t remember what it was called , but it was helpful to have.

Bises,
D

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11 Lily-Margaret June 7, 2011 at 5:53 am

One thing I’ve learned over the last few years in Amsterdam is that expats abroad should watch out for are the secret taxes. On many occasions when I’ve ordered items or had friends ship me things from the US over to Amsterdam, customs will add a tax fee inorder to receive the package. Once, they even charged me for a box of my own personal items from home, used clothes and the like. I’m not sure if this is just in the Netherlands but it’s quite a surprising nuisance so you might want to check the customs laws where ever you’re living abroad. Happy shopping!

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12 Fernanda Rossi June 7, 2011 at 9:41 am

Hi Gabrielle,
I just signed up last month to usabox.com. I intend to use it to receive magazine subscriptions (much cheaper than buying in newsstands here in Brazil). I could receive all kinds of goods, but unfrotunately as someone pointed out above, custom fees would double the goods price.
I’ll start receiving my parcels in a month. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Fernanda

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13 Mary June 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

Am I the only one who is dying to know where you got those shoes? Love them!

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14 Kate June 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Warby Parker does seem to ship to Canada, it just costs $35.

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15 Jen June 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

The Effortless Anthropologie blog had a post on international shopping:

http://effortlessanthropologie.blogspot.com/2010/06/guest-post-international-shoppers.html

It mentions a mail forwarding service that might be helpful.

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16 Whitney June 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Thanks so much for this post! I’m an expat living in Norway and I really look forward to trying this!

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17 Andrew Lang June 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm

When shipping items purchased from US to France do you have to worry about VAT or taxes. What about a computer?

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18 Victoria July 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

We used to use the services like MyUs and shipito for receiving some items from USA to Russia and now to Australia. It’s very convenient!

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