Thinking Inside the Subscription Box – Including Your Product in a Box

Do you want your Product in a Subscription Box? It could really help your brand increase sales

Early Bird Granola raised sales by being included in a subscription food box Sugar Free Desserts 10% Off


Reprinted from

Updated: July 12, 2012 12:53 p.m.
Nekisia Davis, founder of Early Bird Foods in Brooklyn, recently took a marketing gamble. Foodzie, a San Francisco firm that sells monthly subscriptions for its boxes of small-batch, artisanal food, wanted to include a bag of Early Bird’s olive oil-tinged granola in one of its March shipments. While Ms. Davis found the idea of 2,800 potential new customers alluring, the deal did come at a cost. The size of Foodzie’s one-time order was more than double what Early Bird typically fills in a week, but Foodzie would pay about 20% less than what Ms. Davis charges other stores that carry her goods. “It’s about exposing 2,800 people to Early Bird who haven’t heard of us before,” she said.
In the end, the deal seemed to pay off. Early Bird has seen a roughly 30% increase in online sales since spring. “I only know this through many, many people telling me they received the box,” said Ms. Davis, whose 3-year-old company pulled in $250,000 in revenue last year. She said she would definitely do a deal like this again. “Foodzie markets to people who buy specialty food already—they’ll buy a $9 bag of granola and not blink—and that’s the customer base I’m looking for.”
Early Bird is one of many small companies in New York City testing the waters of subscription commerce (“subcom” for short), a rapidly growing corner of the $200 billion e-commerce market. According to industry insiders, more than 30 firms like Foodzie operate Web-based deal-of-the-month club models, charging anywhere from $10 to $40 a month for their preselected assortment of goods that target a particular niche. BarkBox, for example, sources high-end dog supplies, Bespoke Post culls men’s luxury lifestyle gear, and Birchbox, a New York startup that helped pioneer the market, sells beauty-product samples.
As the market swells—Birchbox has more than 100,000 paid subscribers, up from 50,000 in 2010—so does a potentially lucrative marketing channel for emerging brands. Cravebox, which was spun off of SheSpeaks, a winner in Crain’s New York Business’ Perfect Pitch competition, peddles lots of household brand names, but 40% of its product partners are small and midsize businesses, said Cravebox CEO Kitty Kolding.
“Target marketing can be a challenging and expensive thing to do, particularly if you [operate] in a small niche,” said Dan Hesse, founder and CEO of Local Offer Network, a daily-deals aggregator based in Chicago. With the boxes, “merchants now have a more effective way than ever to put their products in front of people likely to be interested in them.”
Elizabeth Stein, CEO of the three-employee Purely Elizabeth, an organic, gluten-free food line she founded in 2009, said she’s seen a sharp rise in repeat customers online since her cereal samples were included in an October box from Blissmo, which appeals to shoppers searching for eco-friendly products. “So many people are reluctant to try something new,” said Ms. Stein, whose Manhattan company has revenues of less than $10 million. “But this is about giving them an easy trial, and hopefully then they become loyal customers.”
However, as Ms. Stein and other small business owners can attest, the return on investment of getting into a box can be a little murky. The subcom space is a primordial soup; players’ business plans vary greatly. While Foodzie and BarkBox pay wholesale prices for the merchandise they pick, Blissmo asks partners to provide free samples. And Cravebox, which boasts 200,000 affluent subscribers, charges brands a $5 slotting fee for each box they want to be placed in, which can quickly add up for a small company. Most require partners to pay for shipping to their fulfillment centers, but many box companies will handle marketing extras like company write-ups.
“If you’re going to lose money on the transaction itself, you have to be very careful. Not only are you spending money to produce your product, you’re also paying to get it into the box,” said Utpal Dholakia, a management professor at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, who has been studying the subcom market. “And of course, the biggest hurdle is that there’s no guarantee that the consumer is ever going to buy anything from you ever again.”
Correction: SheSpeaks is no longer the parent company of Cravebox. That fact was misstated in an earlier version of this article, published July 12, 2012.

Foodzie is now Joyus Tasting Box

CompUSA Best sellers


Boxmonthly included Enjoy Life Seed and Fruit Mix and Plentils in their first subscription box as well as, Pureology Precious Hair Oil


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How to Get Noticed by Brands from She Knows. (I was quoted)

This is reprinted from She Knows Parenting.
BlogHer: How to Get Brands to Notice Your Mom Blog by Sarah W. Caron
I was quoted about Boxmonthly and gave advice on networking at conferences.  It is important to go to all parties, approach people and
Listen.  Know your brand.

You know your mom blog stands out, but how do you get the brands at BlogHer 2012 to know it too? Here’s how to get your blog noticed and make a good first impression.


Whether you are heading to BlogHer for the first time, or you are a seasoned conference veteran, BlogHer can be an overwhelming experience — or a very fruitful one. Wondering how to get your blog noticed? The key is to set your goals before you go, plan and be ready. And if one of those goals is to connect your mom blog with brands (there are lots that will be there!), then you can. Start now.

Reach out before the conference

Now’s the time to reach out to your contacts at brands and public relations companies to let them know you’d love to chat at BlogHer 2012 if they are attending. “Let us know you’ll be there and find out if we’re planning to attend. If we haven’t worked together before, tell us a little about yourself and your blog,” says Erin Olson, director of client services for The Motherhood.

Olson suggests checking for contact information on company websites or to make contact through Twitter and Facebook.  “A few bloggers we work with have emailed us their cell phone numbers and several dates and times during which they would be available to meet briefly at BlogHer, which is a great way to build relationships.”

Prepare your elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is “a brief, 30-second explanation of why you and your blog are different. Be prepared to answer questions about how you got started, why you blog, and what your main topics are,” says Chelsea.

Do you have an elevator pitch? This concise statement of who you are, what your mom blog is about and what you want is key for when you are meeting people from brands and PR companies when you want to make a good first impression. “Be confident in yourself and what you have to offer,” says Chelsea, who blogs at Someday I’ll Learn.

Make sure you’re specific too. “When we ask what you blog about or what kinds of projects you like to work on, there is no more forgettable answer than ‘I do a little bit of everything,'” says Olson. “It’s much better to say, for example, ‘I love cooking and creating recipes, I’m a great photographer, and I have a background as a teacher, so I’m an education expert as well.’ When a client approaches us and asks us to connect them with talented photographers who know a lot about education, you become a shoo-in for the blog campaign.”

Be outgoing

If you go to BlogHer and chat with just a few people and then spend the rest of the conference walking around all alone, you’re doing it wrong.Really. It’s important that you put yourself out there and make a good first impression while you are at BlogHer. Put on your happy game face and start talking! You never know who you’ll meet or how your discussion could blossom into something more like working with brands.

“You must go to all the parties given by the expo and really go up and talk to people. It is important to introduce yourself and more importantly to listen and find out about them and show interest. That is the real way to make connections,” says Lori Peters, who recently launched a subscription box business called Boxmonthly.

After the conference

When the conference ends, it’s over right? Not so fast. Once you’ve gotten home, hugged the kids and caught up on what they did while you were gone, you need to do some follow-up. “The follow-up afterwards is even more important,” says Peters. Follow them on social media and start conversations.

If you want to truly stand out though, send a personal note the old-fashioned way, says Olson. “Our mailing address is on our business cards — stand out by sending a handwritten card. It makes such an impression that I can tell you the name and blog of every person who has sent me a handwritten message,” says Olson. Yes, it takes time, but if you write a couple of cards to standout contacts while at the park, you’ll be doing something very special — and that might make all the difference for your mom blog.

More on blog conferences

BlogHer Conference: A networking guide for new bloggers
How to turn your blog into a business
Why it’s important to attend blog conferences

Tags:  blogher mom bloggers