WE’RE AWARE THAT THIS IS A BIT OF A WEIRD TOPIC FOR A TEAM CHOICE…
Yet, bear with us. The popularity of subscription boxes has skyrocketed over the past few years, with a whole new avenue of business and e-commerce opening up because of the success of the likes of Birchbox (the OG of SBs and valued at $485 million in April 2014!!!); a monthly beauty box that allows subscribers to test out trial and full-size high-end beauty products. Since then, subscription boxes have taken many shapes and tackled numerous topics; cult merchandise, music, books, sweets, Korean beauty, noodles, Hygge, crystals, Harry Potter and even serial killers (yes, you read that right!)
The subscription model fits beautifully into contemporary marketing channels and social media, building a sense of community and ‘accessible exclusivity’ to subscribers. These brands are saying: “Want to be in the club? It’ll cost you but it’ll be worth it as we’ll make your life easier/help you to be healthier/ boost your creativity/make you look amazing”. It’s clever, it’s current, it’s convenient and it taps into the oh-so-millennial sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).
We took a bit of time out to ask the designdough team what subscriptions boxes intrigued them the most and the ones they’d be most likely to buy. DISCLAIMER: we are VERY biased on two of these counts as we’ve had the pleasure of creating the brands for these specific boxes…but before you go accusing us of being sales-y or boastful (heyyyyy!), we really believe in these subscriptions and frankly wouldn’t put our names to them if we didn’t.
ALEX: Waterloo Tea6 & 12 MONTH TEA SUBSCRIPTION
”The tea we send will always be something we are proud of, and a representation of what we stand for.”
Born and raised in South Wales, the Waterloo Tea brand has become a brand has become synonymous with quality, consistency, integrity and style. Starting from just one small teahouse in Penylan in 2008, owner Kas Ali has since grown his empire to encompass 3 more venues based around Cardiff and the Vale that all beautifully represent his passion for exceptional tea, coffee and service. Now offering subscribers a chance to mailorder a part of Waterloo Tea straight to their doors, Waterloo Tea are offering six and twelve month subscription packages that enable you to discover the choicest, seasonal blends.
ALICE: Paper Gang by OhhDeerTHE No.1 MONTHLY STATIONERY SUBSCRIPTION BOX
”Papergang is Ohh Deer's way of expressing a deep rooted obsession with papery goodness”
Ohh Deer is an UK-based online retailer that acts as a platform for illustrators and artists to get their work seen, appreciated and bought. From starting out collaborating with just 10 illustrators since its inception several years ago, Ohh Deer has now worked with well over 100 ‘creative folk’ and boasts clients such as Paperchase, Urban Outfitters and John Lewis. Seeing their popularity grow, they decided to set up their monthly subscription box ‘Papergang’ to showcase a different artist every month, and have recently opened up a competition to the public to design the next Papergang box! One amazing thing about Papergang is that, dedicated to sustainability, they have set up a scheme with Tree Aid that means that for every 4 subscription boxes bought, they plant a tree.
JAMES: Beer 528 OR 10 CRAFT BEER PACK STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR
"By searching the globe and working with the best microbreweries we can find, we deliver unusual, small batch and unique beers to your door”
“Beer52 didn't become the UK's most popular craft beer club for nothing” - having travelled worldwide to visit microbreweries and sample the best beers available, Beer52’s experts are always in search of the most quirky, innovative, tasty and sometimes weird beers they can find. Carefully curated each month, and sent with the brand’s ‘Ferment’ magazine, this box is about more than just getting drunk, but instead educating people on the true art of craft beer, it’s processes, flavours, subtleties and why you shouldn’t just settle for a pint of Carling!
ABI: Mindful ChefA GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE WEEKLY RECIPE BOX WITH VEGAN OPTIONS
”Our approach is very simple, yet incredibly effective in helping you lead a healthier life. We believe in reducing your intake of sugar and refined carbs. As a result, we never deliver pasta, bread or white rice - instead all our recipes are based on innovative uses of fresh vegetables.”
Mindful Chef set up shop in 2015 as a group of school friends on a mission to provide healthy whole-food-based recipes to the UK, with ingredients sourced from local farms from around their hometown of Devon. Funded by Sir Andy Murray and Victoria Pendleton CBE, Mindful Chef’s mission is to provide locally sourced, award-winning ingredients direct to the customer, meaning their produce is 5 times fresher than that in a supermarket.
RHYS: Third Man RecordsQUARTERLY SUBSCRIPTION TO THE VAULT SUPPLYING EXCLUSIVE AND LIMITED EDITION 12" AND 7" VINYL
”We want our fans to purchase our records for the same reasons we create our records: because we love vinyl, we love music, and we love art. ”
Launched by Jack White in 2001, Third Man Records “is an innovator in the world of vinyl records and a boundary pusher in the world of recorded music, aiming to bring tangibility and spontaneity back into the record business and issue releases that leave no doubt in the minds of listeners that music is indeed sacred.” They provide a quarterly subscription service that sends customers limited edition vinyl, novelties, pins, posters, patches and photobooks, and believe in the true and timeless collectability of music and its associated artwork.
EZ: BrushboxTHE No.1 ORAL CARE SUBSCRIPTION BOX
"Poor oral health isn’t just about problems inside the mouth; a smile is hugely important to our personalities, self-confidence, relationships and success. ”
Tapping into the UK’s statistically terrible relationship with oral hygiene and health, Brushbox, delivers quality 100% recyclable toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste direct to your door so you don’t even have time to think “should I have changed my toothbrush this month!?”. Founder, Mike Donovan, set up the brand and convenient subscription model as a way to “implement a step change in improving the oral health for current and future generations”.
JAMES N.: Dollar Shave ClubRAZORS, REPLACEMENT BLADES AND GROOMING PRODUCTS SENT MONTHLY
“There's only one requirement to be a member of Dollar Shave Club: You have to be smart. Our Members aren't fooled by over-the-top marketing, so they don't overpay for shave technology. Our Members demand innovative, high-quality products for everything from head to toe. And all the spots and crevices in between. Our Members don't waste time at the drugstore scouring the aisles or waiting in line.”
With an enviable tone of voice, string of hilarious viral marketing campaigns and a net worth over over $1 billion, DSC are a brand that show that keeping it simple but significant is the key to success. Quite simply, they supply razors, replacement blades and grooming products such as shave gels, balms and moisturisers direct to customers doors to save on time and money. Recently bought out by Unilever, the subscription model that was rolled out in 2011, has gone from strength to strength and has reportedly signed up over 3.2 million members to date.
JOE: Jack & AmelieFROZEN GOURMET GOODNESS FOR KIDS
“Best mates Jack and Amelie are the inspiration for a new and exciting range of kids meals. We make yummy home-cooked food for children, exactly as you would make it yourself (if you could ever find the time). We don’t add salt, or any cheeky additives - this is guilt free, good food for kids, and we really hope it helps you out”
As a revolt against the ready-meal options available for young children in supermarkets, and in need of a way to simplify dinner times in their households, Sophie Brown and Abigail Dymmock founded Jack and Amelie; a new children’s frozen food concept aiming to help busy parents whilst encouraging kids to enjoy good healthy food, with taste, texture and variety. Starting by arranging pop-up shops and frequenting farmer’s markets and street food events, Sophie and Abi soon realized that there was a gap in the market when it can to healthy frozen kids meals on subscription and the rest is history. The website, subscription and delivery service will be launching in April 2018.