Flamingo box has made lost packages its specialty. The company, located in Orne, in Normandy, collects in its warehouses whole pallets of uncollected packages by the recipients and transforms them into surprise bags, which she resells by weight. The particularity: no one sees what is inside a package until the customer unpacks it. A legal practice since, after 30 days without complaint, the packages are declared lost.
A “surprise bag” side
Behind this idea hides William Mourrière. After seeing hundreds of pallets of packages abandoned in a warehouse and observing the damage plastic pollution had on the environment while living in Bali, Indonesia, he wanted to do something with these abandoned packages. “This waste is a real waste and an ecological aberration,” he emphasizes.
These packages, lost due to a distribution error or a wrong address, returned by the customer or not recovered, are not taken back by their suppliers due to the high cost of the return trip. “Except for valuable objects, which can be traced and which can be marked,” says the business manager. Before, these packages were burned, but since the anti-waste law of 2020, it is prohibited to destroy new non-food products.
So, William Mourrière had the idea of reselling them by weight, without knowing what was hidden inside. “It’s the surprise bag aspect, it’s a bit exciting not knowing what you’re going to find when you open them,” he explains. You can buy packages of 5 kilos of lost parcels for 54 euros, 10 kilos for 108 euros, 20 kilos for 216 euros…
80% of products made in China
The success was such that the company had to move to much larger premises, going from 200 m² to 1600 m². “At launch, I sold around 500 kilos of parcels per month, then over time, we increased to around five tonnes per month. Today, I have pallets of unsold goods arriving from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain…”
In the boxes, it’s haphazard: clothes, phone case, candle, lampshade, garland, beauty products, DIY items and even… sex toys. “80% of the goods inside our packages come from China,” specifies the entrepreneur.
Items purchased on AliExpress, Amazon, Temu. “50% are clothing, mainly coming from Shein brand. » William Mourrière has also signed a partnership with the Singaporean fast-fashion brand, which resells him some of its unsold items and its end of collections stored in a warehouse in Poland, with which he creates mystery packages.
The concept appeals to influencers
You’ll be very lucky if you come across an item in your size, but that’s not Flamingo Box’s primary goal. “80% of customers buy the boxes to resell their content on platforms such as LeBonCoin, Vinted or the Facebook market place. Some even make sales between friends. Customers explained to me that reselling allowed them to have a little additional income, between 200 and 1000 euros per month for large customers. »
This concept is a hit with influencers on YouTube or TikTok, who have fun opening the contents of the mystery packages on video: electrical cables, t-shirts, curtains, placemats, shoes, etc.
As for buyers, the comments left online are mixed. “Nothing interesting in the 10 kg box. I try to resell the items, but nothing goes apart from a pair of pants,” laments Florian. “Only extremely low-end Chinese items, absolutely nothing to keep,” notes Alexandre. “Almost all packages come from Ali Express or Shein, some are opened, nothing to keep in there. There we find connectors, wire, screws, clothing of more than poor quality, sizes XXXL…” laments Xavier.
“Beyond the fun aspect of unpacking the packages, we were surprised by the quality of certain discoveries: among shoes or clothing from unknown brands, a Nike football jersey and The North Face jogging pants. In the end, we are happy with our purchase,” remarks Mathieu on the other hand.
On the contents of the packages, William Mourrière is very clear: “People think that they will be able to find an iPhone, and are disappointed if the shoes are not their size. However, it is clearly specified on the site that the products mainly come from China. There is even an explanatory video before you go to payment. Some came across a wedding dress for 400 euros, small touchscreen tablets, Huawei phones. Indeed, there is no MacBook or LVMH, it’s a lot of accessories and clothing. »
Make money from reselling
Another criticism comes up regularly in comments left online: many packages arrive already opened. “The packages are pre-opened by the company or by employees, in order to recover the most expensive packages,” Nicolas implies in a comment.
To this, the entrepreneur explains that “it is customs or logisticians who open certain packages to check the contents and avoid dangerous products. It also happens that because we remove the shipping label to maintain the anonymity of the first buyer, the package becomes punctured at this time. We do not reapply tape so as not to overpack. »
The business manager even assures that some of his customers manage to make a living from the resale of the items. “One of them buys 80 kilos of products per month, which he resells on flea markets, online sites… it’s his full-time job. »
In the meantime, the sale of these packages is exploding over the months. Flamingo box delivers to France, Belgium and soon to Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. William Mourrière even plans to hold pop-up sales in several cities in France for 2024.