What to Know About Starting a Subscription Box Business


Several years ago, subscription box businesses started booming.

The idea at its core is fairly simple. You create a beautiful box or package and fill it with items that center around a theme. Then, customers sign up for a subscription and they receive a box monthly for example, or perhaps quarterly.

A lot of these businesses have become popular, and it’s a good revenue model if you can get subscribers because it’s recurring.

Perhaps one of the most popular subscription box businesses is FabFitFun, which is billed as a quarterly lifestyle box. You often see social media influencers doing FabFitFun unboxings, and items range from skincare to wellness products.

Another popular box is KiwiCo, which delivers hands-on STEAM projects for kids to your door.

If you think you have a compelling idea for a subscription box business, what should you know?

Common Features

With subscription boxes, there are often certain things you’ll see included that tend to be popular.

There are the physical items of course, that are curated, but the presentation is also important.

People tend to like surprise items in their box, too, rather than knowing some or all of the things it will contain.

You want to come up with a theme that you build each box around.

While you want a theme that’s going to appeal to a broad enough audience to make you profitable, you also need to choose a niche and stick with it.

If you have an idea, do market research to vet it before you start sourcing items or spending money on your business.

You want a niche that’s going to work well in terms of growth and pricing.

You need to be able to turn a profit with your boxes, but it can’t be so expensive that you limit who will buy it.

If you can find a niche that you’re interested in or passionate about, it’s going to help you a lot as you’re looking for inspiration and new products.

The research you put in before you actually do anything else is going to be critical to your business.

Product Suppliers

Once you know the types of products you want to include in your boxes, you have to then start thinking about where you’ll get them.

You want products that are going to be at the right price point for your targeted audience, and this is something you should have started to think about during the research phase.

You will usually have to pay for items, so you should try to source them wholesale. Some companies may also give you samples to put in your boxes, maybe for free, with the hopes that they get long-term customers out of the deal.

Packaging and Presentation

Packing and presentation can be almost as important as the products you choose to fill your boxes with. The idea is that it’s like getting a gift in the mail, and you want your packaging to reflect that.

You also want packaging that’s lightweight enough that you’re not going to spend too much on shipping based on the cost of your boxes.

Costs that you have to think about as far as packaging and presentation include the cost of the box itself, any packing materials you may need, and shipping or postage costs.

Create a Website and Shop

You need to have a platform where you can sell your boxes. You want to create a website with e-commerce options and also one that’s well-designed and reflects the branding of your boxes. Everything should be cohesive.

You want to choose keywords relevant to your box and your business to create optimized descriptions and blog posts.

You want crisp, appealing images, and you should link your website to your social medial channels.

Your website and your social media profiles will be integral to the marketing of your business.

You want to keep people finding your business through your content optimization and social media marketing.

Depending on your budget, you might also consider paid advertising.

Finally, once you’re ready to launch, ensure that you have a system in place for fulling orders. You want to be organized and efficient because you never want your customers to see you as slow or unreliable.

Over time as you get more subscribers, start working with online influencers. Depending on their reach, they may share your boxes simply in exchange for the products, or they might want a percentage of sales they generate.

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