Can You Have a Subscription Box without a Box?

blog getting started packaging Mar 20, 2022


Cardboard shortages are the latest interruption in the supply chain. For the past two years, we’ve navigated supply chain challenges when it came to what goes in our subscription boxes. We planned ahead, allowed extra time, and came up with contingency plans when an item planned for a box was stuck on a container ship somewhere in the middle of the ocean. 

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But this time was different. 

This time it was the box itself that wouldn’t get to the Warehouse on time! 

How could my team package and ship this month’s subscription box if we didn’t have boxes? 



We jumped into problem-solving mode and started looking for a quick solution. 

Let me just say, I LOVE my turquoise boxes. When they arrive on my subscribers’ doorsteps, they immediately know something special is inside. So whatever the solution was going to be, it needed to give that same feeling. 


When a “box” isn’t a box at all. 

Poly mailers, bubble mailers, and structured envelopes are all great alternatives to a box… but only if they make sense. 

When we needed a shipping solution for this month’s Monogram Box, we looked at the contents and realized a poly mailer was the best choice.



Everything inside the box was a soft good, with the exception of the resin earrings. We were confident we could package the earrings in a way that would protect them. 

Shipping this month’s box ended up saving us so much time, energy, and expense!


Time Saver

This month, we didn't have to spend time folding boxes before we packed. This saved HOURS. 


Energy saver 

In a typical month, after packing each box, we have to close it and tape it. We then stack the boxes and carry them eight at a time over to the dock. With poly mailers, we were able to peel and stick and place them into a bin. Fast and easy! 


Cost saver 

The first savings came when we purchased the bags. Stickermule has so many size options! We measured our items, found the right size, uploaded a new version of our box design, and had them in our hands for less than half the cost of our boxes! 

Then we went to ship them. And the savings continued. Without the extra weight of the box, each package weighed less than a pound. That meant we were able to save several dollars per box in shipping charges.  



Did our poly mailer give that same “something special just for you” feeling? I think it did! Our Monogram Box Bag delighted our subscribers and made them smile. Just like every month! 


Is a box alternative right for your subscription box?  

We use poly mailers for our t-shirt subscriptions each month, Framed! T-Shirt Club and Tees 4 Teachers. A completely customized bag for less than 50 cents apiece is a better option than a box for any clothing item. 



A bubble mailer is another great alternative to a box. Bubble mailers provide padded protection for the contents of your subscription. Consider a bubble mailer for smaller, hard goods that need a bit of protection but aren’t breakable. They can be great solutions for items like jewelry, electronics, books, or journals. 



We love how Alphalicious Designs uses a structured envelope for her sticker subscription! These envelopes are perfect for shipping stationery or paper goods you don’t want to get bent. 



Grab my FREE Packaging Cheat Sheet for more tips and links to my favorite packaging resources and vendors! And make sure you’re following me on Facebook. I share so much valuable information on my page, How to Start a Subscription Box.  

We’ve busted a myth and proved a subscription box doesn’t have to come in a box at all! 

Consider what makes the most sense for your subscription and concentrate on providing your subscribers with a truly outstanding experience - no matter what packaging you choose! 



Are you ready to take your subscription box business to the next level and Scale Your Box? I have a course dedicated to subscription box owners just like you. Inside the course, we dive deeply into EIGHT key areas to optimize within your subscription box business for the most impact. Learn more or join the waitlist HERE

Learn from me:

  • Subscription Box Blueprint eBook: This $10 ebook covers logistics from product selection to packaging to shipping. Plus a 90-day launch plan and bonus ‘Instant Scripts’ for your social media.
  • Launch Your Box: My complete training program that walks you step by step through how to start, launch, and grow your subscription box business.
  • Launch Your Box Podcast: I share tons of practical tips and strategies to help you start, launch, and grow your subscription box business. You’ll also hear from industry experts and current Launch Your Box members who are crushing it - get ready to get inspired!
  • One Box at a Time: Inside my book One Box at a Time, I show you the steps you need to follow to start and launch your subscription box. To turn your dream into reality. This book is filled with proven teachings, valuable resources, best practices, and action steps for you to take.


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