If you aren’t opposed to having a box of samples of beauty or food products, tools or whatever your poison is packed in a box and mailed to your home or office, maybe you should start looking into subscription boxes.
The subscription box business is a relatively small sector of the e-commerce space and a fast-growing business model taking the convenience of home shopping to the next level.
And if you have the entrepreneurial spirit, a knack for selecting quality products, good taste, and a discerning eye, then this space could be for you.
According to Forbes, “Birchbox, arguably the most recognizable service today, put the subscription box retail trend in motion with its 2010 launch. Specializing in beauty, grooming and lifestyle products, subscribers pay $10 or $20 per month to receive goodies like skin rejuvenators, fragrances and makeup. The company has 800,000-plus active global subscribers which translates to $96 million in annual sales.”
She decided on the business model after her dog got sick and needed a blood transfusion. She tells BE, “I realized there wasn’t a beauty box or a high-end box for dogs on the market. So I decided there and then that was the perfect intersection to launch my line. A luxury, monthly beauty box for dogs where we send out clothes, collars, leashes, and other luxury items. Proceeds from all our boxes go to animal shelters or rescues.”
The subscription box is a $5-billion industry. As far as Biggins knows, she’s the only working African American female in her space. She says, “Everything is veering to the tech world. It’s trending that way. I decided to develop new skills that leaned towards the tech sector because eventually every single sector will be affected by technology.
She had some pointers for people trying to get into this space.
Start the Research Engine
There are many companies in this space that are vying to become the new Birchbox. Serial entrepreneur Seth Godin routinely talks about how you should position your company to be the “Purple Cow,” to stand out by being remarkable. Be thorough with your research. Examine your competitors, make a small chart of their features, and find the empty space that you can thrive in. Develop a list of people you would like to serve and ask them questions. Never create a company without investigating and meeting the consumer demand.
Determine Your Supply Chain
Where is the product coming from? Will you be working with brand partners (companies who give you free samples) or will you be ordering the product wholesale then shipping it. Who’s going to pack the boxes? Another important component is shipping. Shipping your boxes retail is very costly, which is why it is important to scale as quickly as possible in order to receive competitive pricing on shipping cost.
What’s In a Name?
Once you’ve selected your category and point of entry, it’s time to create your vision for the subscription box company. For me, it started with the name. It had to convey exactly what I wanted my subscribers to receive, luxury products to primp your pooch. You don’t have to name your company with the word box in it! Research the industry and understand that any words that convey meaning about the service you provide will point you in the right direction.