Mail Post: Subscription Boxes

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Now, as you all know, I love care packages. And hopefully you do too. There's been a lot of talk on this  blog about different things you can send, and I've aimed to keep these suggestions mostly affordable and/or hand-made. But what about if you don't have the time to make a care package, but still want to send something fun, surprising (and affordable)? Or, what if maybe you yourself want to be surprised with a little something in the mail?


But what is a Subscription Box?

 You may have already heard of Subscription Boxes, if so- skip ahead. If not, read on: You pay a company to send you a package, basically. You do not (usually) know exactly what is in it. Some boxes come monthly; some come quarterly. Most subscription boxes specialize to attract a certain type of consumer. A mother?  There's a box for that. Oh, wait- a mother of a baby or a mother or the most energetic seven year old twins ever? There's a box for both the former and the latter, and no, they will not be the same. Not a mom (Yeah, me neither)? There's still plenty of boxes for you too. Popular categories of subscription boxes include: Women's clothing, men's clothing, beauty products, foodie boxes (often times this can be further specialized for things like Gluten-free products etc.), eco-friendly boxes, accessories, art and more. 

Wait. What if you're a square peg in a round hole...

...And none of the above categories fit your needs right now, but you still want to try getting a subscription box? Well, then. You'd be in the same  boat as me. Sure, I write a personal style blog, but I don't use make-up much, and let's face it- don't need any more clothes. I'm not a mom and I'm not crafty or into cleaners. What's left? 


Check out below for a list of Subscription Boxes that I think are a little harder to categorize, but seem totally worth a look:



Not Another Bill

Sign up with this subscription, and Not Another Bill promises they will send you something in the mail. It could be anything; you never know what, but the one thing you do know is that it will not be another bill. Each month is different, whatever strikes the curator's fancy. However, you can check out past "surprises" to get an idea of what this company likes, and can even buy these past "surprise" items in some cases too.  Box Curators do try to take into account who the box is for. You can specify boy, girl, man or woman, and  they also ask, "where they are likely to be found?"Answers include things like at a car boot sale, in the countryside, or at a fashion show

This company is based out of Great Britain, but does ship internationally. For readers in Europe and Great Britain, the price seems really reasonable- this month's is £17.50 GBP. It is £20 GBP for European subscribers, and £25 GBP for everywhere else. Boxes seem to be shipped monthly and you can choose a one-time subscription or a 3 mo., 6 mo. or yearly subscription.


Umba

The site's tagline reads,"Love handmade? Join Umba Box to receive curated packages of 2-3 modern and whimsical women's handmade products each month." Really, that pretty much sums it up.  Products might include beauty products, stationary, or jewelry that are handmade. Think of the type of things you find on Etsy, basically. Information about each artist who contributed to the box is also included so that you can learn more about the items you bought. In addition to being fun to get, it sounds like a great opportunity for anybody who makes handmade things to get exposure.  Check out their past boxes or their pinterest site to get an idea of what these curators like to send.


Starting at $25.00 dollars for a month-to-month subscription, Umba Box also offers 3 month, 6 month and 12 month subscriptions, with varying prices. 

La Belle Box


La Belle Box works similarly to Umba Box. They ship you a box of curated goods either with either month-to-month subscriptions, 3 month,  or 6 month  subscriptions.  They are a little cheaper, with monthly packages costing only $20.00. Their focus is the real difference between the two brands though. La Belle Box aims to introduce you to new boutiques and small businesses, rather than just the narrower scope of handmade items. Their boxes are likely to come with food items, beauty items (often green items), as well as accessories,  and jewelry.  You can check out their past boxes to get a better sense of their tastes. 

Indie Gift Box

Indie Gift box is a subscription service similar to La Belle Box or Umba. It too sends you a box fully of surprising goodies from small businesses and independent artists. But here's where it differs from those other two (also fun looking) companies: The boxes are themed. What the themes are seem to vary from month to month. For example, this month's themes were "Boho," "Summer Camp," and "Paper Cuts" whereas the month before included the themes "Color Box" and "Dainty."  Along with the goodies, Indie Gift Box also includes information on who contributed to the box (another great opportunity for businesses!) You can look at their blog to see who they have worked with in the past, and what was in past boxes. Because there was not much on the site about past boxes, I'd recommend looking at reviews by those who've bought a subscription.

They are a small company that is pretty new, so the number of boxes is limited. Keep an eye on the site to buy them each month early before they run out! Box prices might vary, but have so far been a mere $15.00 a box. What a good deal! Boxes ship monthly.

Lost Crate

This is a subscription company that has a lot to choose from. Rather than just one box (or even two or three, as Indie Gift Box has), it has a current total of NINE different types of subscription boxes  (called Crates) to choose from, PLUS you can purchase past months' boxes, PLUS you can buy individual items from past boxes. That's a lot of shopping! To focus on the current subscription boxes, each is "themed." There's a Joy of Baking box, a Petite Stationary box, but there are also design boxes and more. Plus, the famous fashion blog, The Man Repeller, is curating a box. You can click and see a basic description of what is in each box, if you want. The blurb about each doesn't give away all the surprises, but if you're someone who wants to know they will be satisfied before putting down some cash, you will like that feature. 


Speaking of cash, Lost Crate has a wide range of price tags to fit many budgets. Currently the cheapest box is $20.00 a box, and the most expensive $48.00 a box. This company will send you a box every month (or every quarter depending on what you choose) and charges per month/quarter, until you opt out of the program.  Past months' boxes have a higher price tag, averaging $50.00 to $60.00 a piece. Also, be aware that to even be able to view their shop, where they sell past crates and the individual items, you will need to create an account. You will also need to create an account to subscribe to a current crate, but can view all the crate options without one. They currently only ship to the continental US. 

Quarterly Co.

This company is one of my favorites, and (though hopefully I'll get a chance to try the others) the only one I've got a subscription with as of yet (ETA: See my review of one of their subscription boxes here, and another review of a different Quarterly Co curators box here).  Their website describes themselves as a subscription service that "that enables people to receive physical items in the mail from influential contributors of their choice."  Boxes are shipped out quarterly (that is, every 3 months), rather than monthly, but that's not the only thing that sets this company apart as unique from those listed above. Like The Indie Box or Lost Crate, you can choose from several different kinds of boxes. Unlike those two companies you are not choosing a theme or the kind of items. You are choosing who will choose what goes in your box. These curators (or "contributors" as the website calls them) are not (usually) the people who have made the items in your box. They are people who have, in some way, influenced pop culture. Check their contributors page to see who you might want making your box (Who would you choose?). Past boxes a contributor has put together are on each individual contributor's page.  



Another unique aspect of this company is their dynamic use of twitter. Each package has a unique #hashtag, so you can follow along as the box items are chosen. Think of these as cryptic clues that are perfect for those of you who liked to peek at, or shake your presents before you get to open them! This company charges $25.00 a box; be aware that they will keep charging you/sending you a box quarter after quarter until you tell them you'd like to stop your subscription. 


I'm excited to be deviling into the exciting world of subscription boxes and will be sure to keep you updated, so expect to see more about these unique businesses in the future! 


ETA: Looking for more Subscription Boxes? Why not try some of these? 

Disclosure: This is NOT a paid review or post. I am writing about these companies solely because I find them dynamic and interesting. 


8 comments

  1. Thanks for blogging about us (Indie Gift Box)! If you want to know what was in past boxes, we post that on our blog too! We only started in July, so there's just one "reveal" post so far! http://indiegiftbox.com/what-was-in-the-july-boxes/

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  2. Some of these look really worth the money! I'm not so bowled over by the usual make up or beauty box, I especially like the whimsical handmade things, it's nice to know someone's made it, makes it a little more special to look forward to in the post! Thanks for sharing this list, I'll be bookmarking a few of these for any future surplus money, to get a one or 3 month sub! : )
    - dearestdeer.net
    xx

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  3. Your ideas inspire and make you dream.

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  4. So many cool boxes to check out- especially Quarterly! I'd h ave to pick Maude Newton or Gretchen Rubin! So cool!

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  5. This is awesome! I've only ever seen the beauty ones and I don't know how I feel about it. But I love the random independent ones. They're all so adorable. I don't know if I'd subscribe to get a monthly surprise cause it seems slightly pricy, but it's a great idea. Thanks for the information!

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  6. This was such a mistake to read this post. Now, I'm convinced I need to spend money on all of these! This was such a cool idea, thanks so much for sharing. I'm bookmarking this and saving it for whenever I have money to blow!

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  7. thanks for including all of these. excuse me as I go check them out

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