My Subscription Box Journey

 

My subscription box journey starts where most entrepreneurial dreams do, from just a few dollars in the bank account and the kitchen table. What started as a way to make some extra money on the side to support my family has quickly turned into a 7-figure business that employs over a dozen people. What a crazy journey the last seven years have been. 

Watch me share some of my subscription box journey HERE

Here I was in my mid 30's working in a retail environment really wanting more, more meaning: more freedom, less corporate demands. In the beginning, I was making and selling items from my home. After going through my first Christmas season, I was hooked. I knew I had to make this my full-time gig to really make something of it, but was completely terrified of giving up my regular paycheck. After a lot of soul searching, I jumped all in, quit my job, and opened my first store.

 

 

It was a cute little hole in the wall store, all of 600 sq feet. Most of it was used as a workshop to "make" all the items I was selling. I just wanted to get it off the kitchen table and have a location people could come to and pick up their items. It quickly became a place people would go when they wanted a custom gift. I had shoppers on a regular basis and was really blown away by how busy my little shop was getting. After that second Christmas, I knew I was on to something.

I was seeing the same customer month after month. I would get to know them, ask who they were buying gifts for, learn about their families, and many of them became my 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 a VIP of my business?

A monthly subscription box was at the forefront of my mind, but I wasn't sure how I would make this work. It seemed too complicated, I mean, I wasn't even selling anything online yet.

 

I would get into my head

How would I set up recurring payments?
How would I know what to put in it each month?
Would people even sign up for this?
Where would I find boxes?
How do I handle shipping?

All these things paralyzed me for almost a whole year....yet the nagging voice in the back of my head kept bringing it to the forefront of my mind.

 

 

After my second Christmas, I met with my website developer on some changes I wanted to make on my site. At the end of that meeting, he asked me if there was anything else he could help me with. I just blurted it out. "I want to start a subscription box."

 

OMG, did I just say this out loud?

Ok, stay calm...he is going to think you are crazy. We have to rewind a bit...this was 2017, subscription boxes were just starting to hit the mainstream market, and only big brands were doing them at that time.

He asked me lots of questions about my box idea, and I told him I just couldn't figure out all the logistics to make it work. But he knew how to. He could set up the payments and product listings, and all the things that were tripping me up. Suddenly I realized this could become a reality, and I wasn't crazy.

I did months and months of research. Finding products, getting boxes, creating a logo, figuring out what would make a great box. It was a lot of work, and I sure wish I had a group of subscription box owners I could have asked questions back then. It would have saved me SO much time!

 

I sure wish I had a group of subscription box owners I could have asked questions back then.

 

Now it was time to set a goal and make things happen. When I looked at the numbers, having 100 box subscribers would mean I could pay the bills at my retail location and cover a paycheck for myself. Something I wasn't even doing at the time. It was a way to get some consistent revenue into my business I could rely on month after month.

 

Three months later, I launched my box. I didn't even know what a "launch" was at that time!

To my surprise, I had 44 subscribers. 44!!! What is even happening right now?!? 44 people believed in me enough to make a monthly commitment to me. I was blown away.

I kept thinking, "ok, let's do this." I built in a little increase for month two and sold out in 24 hours. By month three, I had 100 subscribers. That big goal I had set for myself.

 

 

I kept increasing the boxes by 25 pcs each month, and after nine months, I had almost 300 monthly box subscribers. I was conservative because I was scared I would stop selling them at some point, and then I would be sitting on a whole pile of inventory.

 

And then...that's what happened.

By the one-year mark, I increased my product amounts, but I had hit a plateau of subscribers. I was stuck on the 300-350 mark. I spent six months spinning my wheels on how to grow; all while stuck with lots of extra inventory, I didn't know what to do with.

I wasn't sure what to do. 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 those 300 subscribers, but I kept having that feeling that I knew it was meant for more.

 

 

I spent the next six months heavily investing in business coaching and training. After all, I just 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 was learning.

I learned all the things I was doing wrong and what I needed to know to take things to the next level. I started learning and implementing and tried not to get overwhelmed by taking things one step at a time.

A shift occurred. I was gaining traction, and I needed to hire more people. I started a second subscription, my numbers now 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.

 

I learned all the things I was doing wrong and what I needed to know to take things to the next level. I started learning and implementing and tried not to get overwhelmed by taking things one step at a time.

 

Fast forward another year, and 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 for over a dozen people each month. It's pretty incredible to me. From that kitchen table to a 7000 sq ft warehouse, I would tell you we are only just getting started. It is entirely possible to build a 7-figure business from scratch. It takes a lot of grit and tenacity, but I love the journey, and wouldn't trade it for anything!

One thing I really wish I had when first starting my subscription box service was a group of likeminded entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off of and learn from, that is why I created Launch Your Box!

Join my waitlist HERE to learn more about my training program that helps you start, launch, and grow your subscription box business along with a supportive community!

 -Sarah

 

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

 

 

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