My Subscription Box Journey

blog Oct 05, 2020
My Subscription Box Journey

 

I’ve been where you are.

  • Dreaming about a subscription box, but don’t know where to start? Yep, I’ve been there.
  • Planning a subscription box and running into obstacles at every turn because there’s SO MUCH you don’t know? Been there, too.
  • Launching a subscription box and wondering if anyone is actually going to subscribe? And if they do, will they like what you send them? Oh, how I remember those days!
  • Or maybe you have a successful subscription box business and you’re wondering what you need to do to make it grow. It probably won’t surprise you when I tell you… I spent some time there, too.

Y’all, no matter where you are in your subscription box journey, I’ve been in your shoes (and I’m sure they’re very cute shoes).

* This post contains affiliate/referral links. I could make a commission at no charge to you if you purchase my recommended products.  Please read my disclosure and privacy policy HERE.

It can be hard to resist comparing yourself to others. I always tell my Launch Your Box members not to compare, but hey, we’re human. We all do it.

The problem with comparing yourself with someone who is a lot further along in their subscription box journey is that it can stop you in your tracks. (click here for my recent blog post on mindset.)

I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

That’s why – as I’m getting ready to launch my Subscription Box Coaching Week TONIGHT – I want to share my subscription box journey with you.

Because guess what? I didn’t start out with multiple subscriptions and a seven-figure business that employs more than a dozen people.

Nope.

My subscription box journey started where many of yours have – at my kitchen table.

 

Turning back the clock.

Seven years ago, I was in my mid-30’s, working in a retail environment. I knew I wanted more. More freedom along with fewer corporate demands.

I started making and selling items from my home. After my first Christmas season, I was hooked! I knew I had to turn this into my full-time gig to really make something of it. But giving up my regular paycheck was terrifying!

After a lot of soul searching - A LOT - I went all in, quitting my job and opening my first store.

 

Watch me share some of my subscription box journey HERE

 

It was a cute little hole-in-the-wall store. When I say little, I mean little – it was all of 600 sq feet. I used most of the space as a workshop to make all the items I was selling.

The shop meant I could get my business off the kitchen table and have a location where my customers could come to pick up their items.

My tiny shop quickly became a place people went when they wanted a custom gift. I had regular shoppers and was blown away by how busy I was getting. After that second Christmas, I knew I was on to something.

 

The subscription box dream begins.

I was seeing the same customers in my shop month after month. I got to know them, asked who they were buying gifts for, and learned about their families. Many of them became friends. I looked forward to seeing them every time they popped into the store.

 

 

This got me thinking... How could I create something special for them? Something to treat them like the VIPs of my business they were?

A monthly subscription box quickly came to mind, but I wasn't sure how to make it work. It seemed too complicated. After all, I wasn't even selling anything online yet.

All the things I didn’t know got into my head. I had so many questions and no answers.

  • How would I set up recurring payments?
  • What would I put in the boxes each month?
  • Where would I find boxes?
  • How would I handle shipping?
  • Would people even sign up for this?

These questions (and more) paralyzed me for almost an entire year. But the nagging voice in the back of my mind kept bringing the idea of a subscription box back to the front. It wouldn’t let go!

 

 

After that second Christmas, I met with my website developer to make some changes to my site. At the end of the meeting, he asked if there was anything else he could help me with.

I blurted it out.

“I want to start a subscription box.”

It surprised me when those words came out of my mouth. I immediately worried my web developer would think I was crazy. I mean, it was 2017, subscription boxes were just starting to hit the mainstream market, and only big brands were doing them.

Happily, my web developer didn’t think I was crazy. Or, if he did, he kept that to himself. Instead, he asked a ton of questions about my box idea. I told him I just couldn’t figure out all the logistics to make it work.

I couldn’t figure it out, but he could.

My web developer knew how to set up the payments and product listings - all the things that were tripping me up.

At that moment, it hit me. My dream of a subscription box could become a reality. I wasn’t crazy after all!

I spent months and months doing research. Finding products, ordering boxes, creating a logo, figuring out what would make a great box.

It was a lot of work.

I wish I’d had a group of subscription box owners I could have asked questions of back then. It would have saved me SO MUCH TIME!

 

Time to launch.

I had done all the prep work. Now it was time to set a goal and make things happen.

I spent time looking at the numbers. If I had 100 box subscribers, that would mean I could pay the bills at my retail location and cover a paycheck for myself (something I wasn’t doing at the time).

A subscription box would bring consistent revenue into my business. Revenue I could rely on month after month.

Three months later… I launched my box. I should say, “launched” my box because, at that point, I didn’t even know what a launch was!

To my surprise, I ended up with 44 subscribers. 44!! 44 people believed in me enough to make a monthly commitment to me. I was blown away!

I kept thinking, “Okay, let’s do this.” I built in a small increase for month two and sold out in two hours. By month three, I had 100 subscribers - the big goal I had set for myself!

 

 

I kept increasing the boxes by 25 each month. After nine months, I had almost 300 subscribers. I was conservative in my growth because I was scared I would stop selling them at some point and be sitting on a pile of inventory.

And that’s exactly what happened.

 

Hitting a plateau.

I’d had my subscription box for a year and had increased my product amounts each month. The problem was I’d hit a plateau of subscribers and was stuck in the 300-350 range.

 

 

I spent six months spinning my wheels. Trying to figure out how to grow. And that fear I had of getting stuck with extra inventory? Yeah, I had inventory. Lots of it.

I didn’t know what to do. I started having doubts. Was this it? Was this as good as it was going to get?

Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with my growth. I LOVED and was grateful for those 300+ subscribers, but I kept feeling that my subscription box business was meant for more.

 

Coaching and training for the win!

I spent the next six months heavily investing in business coaching and training. After all, up to that point, I had bootstrapped this whole kitchen table business myself.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I took courses. I joined memberships. I joined a mastermind. I learned and learned and learned some more.

I learned what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to take things to the next level. I took what I learned and started implementing it. It was important to me not to get overwhelmed, so I took things one step at a time.

A shift in my business occurred.

I was gaining traction and needed to hire more people. I added a second subscription. My numbers tripled.

I was more in tune with what my customers wanted and how I could deliver it to them than ever before. They LOVED it and I loved curating this amazing experience for them.

 

More than I dreamed it could be.

Fast forward another year. We now send out over 2700 monthly subscriptions. We have a waiting list of people ready to get in and have up-leveled the experience for all our subscribers.

I went from not paying myself consistently to providing paychecks to more than a dozen people each month.

 

 

My business started at my kitchen table, moved to my tiny shop, and now is housed in a 7000 square foot warehouse. And truly, we’re just getting started!

It’s entirely possible to build a seven-figure subscription box business from scratch. It takes a lot of grit and tenacity, but I LOVE the journey and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There is one thing I really wish I would have had when I started my subscription box – a group of like-minded entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off and learn from.

That’s why I created Launch Your Box – my training program that helps you start, launch, and grow your subscription box business. Along with all the learning comes the most amazing, supportive community!

 -Sarah

Join my waitlist HERE to learn more about Launch Your Box.

 

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 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!

 

Find me on social:

 

If you are ready to take the next step in your subscription box journey, check out my Subscription Box Blueprint! 

 

 

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