How to Start Your Own Subscription Box Business

19 min read
How to Start Your Own Subscription Box Business

Subscription boxes are now HUGE and there are new boxes available all the time!

And what’s not to like!  There is nothing more fun than receiving a fun package in the mail once a month or buying a unique gift for a friend. But have you ever thought about designing your very own Subscription Box, and making a business out of it?

Loads of people every day are putting together a unique selection of goods to make their own unique product in a box.  And you can too!  We are going to show you where to go about finding products to stock in your subscription box, how to market them and even cheap and free places to start your own website!

More Reading:

Table of Contents:
1. What’s Your Subscription Box Idea?
2. Where to Source Products
3. How to Package Your New Subscription Box
4. Secret for Designing a Subscription Box Website
5. Branding Your Subscription Box Business
6. Pricing Your Subscription Box
7. Where Can I Sell My Subscription Box?
8. How to Market Your New Subscription Box Business

If you make your box appeal to your demographic, make it good value for money, have it nicely packed and give great customer service, you will sell boxes and have customers come back again and again!

How to Start Your Own Subscription Box Business | Stay at Home Mum

1. What’s Your Subscription Box Idea?

Got an idea already on a fantastic and unique subscription box? Awesome. But if you are interested in starting one but are stuck for ideas, it’s a good idea first to know about what subscription boxes are currently available.  Remember that some subscription boxes are more popular than others. 

The most popular boxes we have seen are in the following categories:

  • Makeup & Beauty Subscription Boxes
  • Fashion and Accessories
  • Hobby Boxes
  • Pet Boxes
  • Coffee Subscription
  • Luxury Clothing Subscription
  • Knitting and Cross Stitch Boxes
  • Kids Educational Boxes (STEM)
  • Chocolate Subscription Box
  • Healthy Snacks
  • Wine Subscription
  • Craft Beer Subscriptions
  • Vitamin Subscription Box
  • Teen Skincare Subscription Box
  • Trading Card Subscription Box
  • Health, Fitness and Wellness
  • Gourmet Food, Coffee and Vegan Goods
  • Adult Subscription Boxes
  • Plant Subscription Boxes
  • Book Subscription Boxes
  • Jewellery Making
  • Origami
  • Home Brewing Subscription Box
  • Jams or Honey Subscription Box
  • Cheese Subscription Box
  • Meat Subscription Box
  • Cigar Subscription Box
  • Natural Deodorant Box
  • Soap Subscription Box

This will, of course, depend on what you are looking for. But here are some great ideas to get you started! Remember though, before ordering large lots, order a sample first to make sure the product is indeed exactly what you are looking for! If you have a specific product in mind, email them directly to see if they offer a wholesale price on bulk buying to make your purchases worthwhile.

Remember a niche subscription box will make yours stand out from the rest!

List of Garden Themed Subscription Boxes | Stay at Home Mum
There are even plant subscription boxes available now!

How To Turn Your Crafting Hobby into a Business

Featuring Debbie Hatumale-Uy

The dream we all aspire to do! Crafting can be so fun and therapeutic if only you could turn it into a profitable business. This is what Debbie has done when she was on maternity leave.

Debbie embarked on her career in social media and marketing, dedicating herself to these fields until her maternity leave coincided with lockdowns. Faced with the prospect of costly equipment and seeking a pregnancy distraction, she acquired a Cricut machine, delving into crafting. After extensive research and countless YouTube tutorials, she began selling personalized items, ultimately establishing Only The Sweet Stuff in 2021, marking just the start of her journey.

Today, Debbie wears multiple hats as a crafter, podcaster, marketer, e-commerce business owner, and crafting coach. She imparts her knowledge to families and fellow crafters, guiding them on their crafting journeys. Debbie has fostered a crafting community boasting over 20,000 members across Australia and stands as a prominent supplier of crafting “blanks” in the Australian crafting scene. Her mission revolves around elevating the Australian crafting industry and supporting the success of small crafting enterprises through her expertise, assistance, and sense of community.

Q and A with Debbie

Congratulations on your business let’s ask some questions that people who are teetering on starting a business always want to know! How has your working background of social media and marketing prior to Only the Sweet Stuff helped with the growth of your business?

Starting out my career in social media before going on maternity leave did give me a really good understanding of the different platforms, how different content performed on each and how the algorithms supported these.

However, the success of Only the Sweet Stuff came from me sharing what I loved to create and any tips I thought would be relevant. I wasn’t posting with the intention to start a business at all.

Once my community started to grow and I realised people were loving the things I was making and learning about the various techniques I was utilising, I then came to the realisation that there wasn’t one single community for crafters.

Obviously my business has evolved over the years from making personalised goods to now selling the crafting items for others to personalise themselves, but all of that stemmed from simply just posting something I enjoyed doing and being open to sharing my journey with the internet.

When it came to the point where I had grown my business organically enough and needed to run ads to attract more crafters, this is where my previous experience came in handy.

I have always loved data, so having the knowledge and experience of knowing how to optimise my ads and see trends was the real advantage. Doing so allows me to target my audience more seamlessly. Now I’m at the point where I can mostly set and forget which is so great for me as a busy mum.

For people who don’t have these skills, do you think it is transferable to learn these skills as you go, or do you think some mini courses are required?

I think it’s a bit of both! When you start a business, concentrate on pumping out the content and sharing your journey to see who engages, how and when. From there you can take the learnings and have a crack at it with the knowledge you’ve gained from your organic content.

From there, you will quickly find out what you are comfortable doing or where you are feeling really hesitant in progressing and that’s where you can focus on learning and investing in a course.

Facebook have Meta Blueprint which is an online learning resource specifically created for small businesses and there’s lots of free courses! So I would encourage looking into that first to establish a baseline for yourself. But also social is meant to be just that – social! So make sure you are having fun and are enjoying the process too. If you REALLY hate it – then maybe deferring to a specialist could take you into a better business mindset and have you focusing on what you enjoy.

What was your final a-ha moment that made you step into creating your business?

It was seeing that there was a community of people who had the same interests as me but didn’t have one place to go and learn more.

When I unwrapped my first precision-cutting machine, I had to watch hours upon hours of YouTube videos to learn the basics. When I posted about my learnings and found my own way or a faster way, people really responded to that.

It all happened really organically for me and I’m lucky that my passion is very shareable.

How many employees do you currently have? Going from starting small to having employees, how was that transition?

Outside of myself, I only have one part-time staff member. She helps me with everything from customer service, community management, marketing, social media management to even crafting! Hiring her was a no brainer! She had been a part of my community for a long time and she really supported my growth and vision. She is also a very talented crafter herself so that made it easy to transition her from community member to staff.

Hiring within my community meant I had no doubts! I was really confident in her ability and knew she would do an amazing job.

I should also mention I outsourced to a 3PL (third-party logistics) to assist me with the fulfilment side of my business. This really helped reduce the stress and ensure orders were being sent off in a timely manner.

Did you have to get investors or did you begin small and work your way up to the full-scale business you have now?

You can probably already tell that Only the Sweet Stuff was and still is completely self-funded. I have made a lot of mistakes in business that have cost me, however it was a lesson and it has made me a better business owner. My advice for anyone else who is also self-funding their way is to listen to what your customers have to tell you as they will more often than not give you the exact feedback you need to grow and be profitable. 

Regarding I haven’t had a chance to have a listen, but your titles are quite direct with you wanting to educate and help others make their own business. What gives you this passion to want to help other people break into the same industry that you are in yourself?

I believe many struggle with the confidence to take that first step. If my podcast can in anyway help someone feel more confident by answering a burning question they’ve had, then I’m happy!

Only The Sweet Stuff started because I openly shared my learnings, mistakes, tips and creations. The podcast was a way to continue sharing what I know but also to introduce guests who can add value where I can’t. I often find myself asking questions to my guests that I want to know as a crafter which is so engaging and hopefully helpful to my listeners.

I’m also a creative – can you tell? Any new creative way of sharing my journey, attracting like-minded crafters and hopefully inspiring them to start crafting or even a crafting business – I will do! The podcast is another creative outlet for me and I love it!

For any of you crafters out there that have a Cricut machine Debbie has some budget friendly ideas!

Here are some of my fave crafts that parents can follow along with that the kids will love:

I also love getting DMs with questions and ideas. I will always share my tips and if I can direct them to a great resource that wilfl help execute I of course will. They can also feel free to ask away on my pages as many other crafters will also want to help.

At SAHM I have been trying to break into the digital world for a few years and were fortunate enough to be in a position to buy the website when it came up for sale, but now the work starts! Every day I am crash coursing and learning about design, marketing, writing, business models/plans, contracts, the list goes on, but I’m having the time of my life. I’m currently trying to ‘overcome the overwhelm’, while parenting two little people (5 and 18 months) do you have any advice?

First up… Congratulations on this new adventure – it’s very exciting!

Most importantly – Be kind on yourself and give yourself the space to be creative and practice self-care – whatever that looks like for you!

I started crafting to distract myself from nausea while pregnant and found it to be very calming and relaxing but also gave me a sense of achievement once I had finished a project.

I wrote a blog post on mum life and crafting and it details how many in my community have utilised craft as a way to self-regulate and practice zen. I think this is because many crafts are therapeutic and it’s something you can do that is dedicated you-time while also feeling a sense of accomplishment and you can go without the mum/dad-guilt.

When it comes to business – asking people who you admire and aspire to be, lots of questions about their journey and lessons is a great way to learn and also humanise business.

Consume media on the topics you are wanting to learn about in whatever way you find most enjoyable. You mentioned you are learning about marketing and digital elements of running SAHM – this podcast episode may help.

You’re doing great though and as a long-time fan of the SAHM community and purpose, I can’t wait to see where you take SAHM.

2. Where do I Source Products to Put in My Subscription Box?

The next step is to decide what you are going to put into your subscription box. Things to consider include:

  • How many items to include in the box
  • The total cost of the items
  • How does your box compare to other similar boxes on the market

If you have a specific brand or product in mind, the best plan of attack is to email them directly. See if you can find an actual name to address your email to (Linkedin helps with that).  Send something along the lines of the following:

Hi, my name is…. I have started a new subscription box business and plan to sell it to (insert Mums, Dads, Women over 30 etc).  I’m interested in purchasing 500 units of your product (insert product name here) hopefully on a regular basis and am wondering what sort of wholesale price you may be able to offer me. I’m hoping to get my first lot of boxes out in the next two to four weeks – can you work within these time frames? Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you!”

We have free wholesale lists for every product you can imagine!

Here are just a few:

Fashion WholesalersCrystal WholesalersKids Clothing Wholesalers
Wholesale Essential OilsMakeup WholesalersWholesale Jewellery
Wholesale Adult ProductsLingerie WholesalersWholesale Fabric Suppliers
How to Start Your Own Subscription Box Business | Stay at Home Mum

3. Packaging Your New Subscription Box Business

Packaging is a huge consideration. Think about what will protect the products from damage in transit.  It looks pretty, but won’t be ruined if something should leak.

Not only that, your packaging is a reflection of your ‘Brand.’  So having a plastic container for an eco-friendly box just wouldn’t work.  Think about the products you are selling, and how you would like them to be viewed.  Imagine it is you receiving the box for the first time, how does it look?  What colour is it?  Is it a cardboard box? Is it wrapped in ribbon or does it have a sticker on the front?

Now’s the time to create a prototype of exactly what your subscription box will look like!

More Reading: Where to Buy Packaging Supplies for Business

image 144 | Stay at Home

4. Secret for Starting an Easy Subscription Box Website

What most people starting a subscription box business don’t know is that there is a ready-made platform just for small businesses selling subscription boxes in this area. And 90% of all subscription box businesses use this platform because it is so damn good!

It’s called Subbly.

It helps you easily make a custom subscription box website with everything you need and nothing you don’t. Subbly does all the hard work for you – it hosts your new website, gives you a place and method of selling and all you have to do is drop your images and branding in – and you are done!

They have a 14-day free trial – we highly recommend you give it a go.

image 142 | Stay at Home
image 143 | Stay at Home

5. Branding Your New Subscription Box Business

The most exciting part of starting a new business is choosing your ‘branding.’ Personally, I think you should always go with what you like rather than ‘what everyone else is doing.’ If you adore yellow, make your logo yellow.  Choose an image you love to become part of your brand – because your brand reflects you! 

Of course, there are loads of professionals out there that will design your branding.  But when starting, I always think to start small and build from there.

When starting (and you want to start small) – choose an online photo editing website to make up something simple (they are free!).  I like:

Remember you can change your logo and branding as you evolve!

6. Pricing Your Subscription Box:

Start a spreadsheet with a full account of how much every item costs (including postage), how much your packaging is, and add a markup (of course to make a profit).  Profit margins on Subscription Boxes should be about the 25 – 40% mark.  Also, have a look at other Niche product boxes that might be similar to yours and check out how much they are pricing their boxes.

Remember that postage is a separate cost.  Keep in mind that the lighter your Subscription Box is, the cheaper it will be to post – and postage is a consideration that people make when purchasing. Once you have a finished box, pop down to your local Post Office to check how much it would be to mail your box both in Australia and overseas. Consider too whether your box will be a one-off box, a monthly box or a Gift Box.  Offer discounts to people that sign up to two or more boxes.

How to Start a Subscription Box Business

7. Where Can I Sell My Subscription Box?

Okay so you have found what to put in your Subscription Box, and you have put it in a box – and branded it.  Now you need to sell it and let the world know about it!  So where do you do that?  Well, we have the answer to that! 

These websites will sell your boxes – some for a commission of course!

Start a Shopify StoreStart an Etsy StoreSell Through Amazon
Use a Dedicated Subscription Box PlatformSell via Cratejoy

8. How do I Market my new Subscription Box Business?

Marketing is a way to let the world know that you have a brilliant box, and everyone should buy it!  There are multiple ways in which you can market your business.  A free idea is to start your own Facebook Page and Instagram account for your business and post about the contents of your box. Show pictures of you and tell your customers WHY you love your box, and why they will too!

Finding buyers for a subscription box requires a combination of marketing strategies and targeted outreach efforts. Here are some tips on how to find buyers for a subscription box:

Define your target audience:

Start by defining your target audience, including their demographics, interests, and purchasing behavior. This will help you create targeted marketing campaigns and outreach efforts.

Leverage social media:

Use social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to promote your subscription box and reach potential buyers. Use relevant hashtags, engage with your audience, and post high-quality images to showcase your products.

Run targeted ads:

Use social media ads or Google Ads to target your ideal audience based on their interests, location, and demographics. Make sure your ad copy and images are engaging and clearly communicate the benefits of your subscription box.

Partner with influencers:

Partner with influencers in your niche to promote your subscription box to their followers. This can help you reach a wider audience and build credibility.

Offer referral programs:

Offer referral programs that incentivize your current subscribers to share your subscription box with their friends and family. This can help you grow your customer base and build loyalty.

Attend events:

Attend relevant events and trade shows to showcase your subscription box and engage with potential buyers. This can help you build brand awareness and connect with potential customers in person.

Provide value:

Provide value to your audience through helpful content, such as blog posts or videos that showcase your products and their benefits. This can help you build trust and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

In summary, finding buyers for a subscription box requires a combination of marketing strategies and targeted outreach efforts. By defining your target audience, leveraging social media, running targeted ads, partnering with influencers, offering referral programs, attending events, and providing value to your audience, you can increase your chances of finding and retaining loyal buyers for your subscription box.

Some Subscription Box Bloggers and Influencers include:

  • My Subscription Addiction
  • My Beauty Box Review
  • Subscription Box Mom
  • Miss Frugal Mommy
  • Stylish in Suburbia
  • Mommy Splurge
  • Subscription Princess
  • Must-Have Boxes
  • Savory Savings
  • The Feminine Files
  • A Year of Boxes
  • See, Shop, Love!
  • Girl Meets Box

Word of mouth is the most powerful way to get the message out about your box.  So tell your friends and family, and have them tell their friends and families.  Make your social media images gorgeous and appealing.  Have good customer service – and you will be a winner!

Other ways to market your new business:

  1. Start a Facebook Page
  2. Create a Subscription Box Instagram Account
  3. Design Tik Tok videos around your Subscription Box
Subscripton box business | Stay at Home

design pin 17 | Stay at Home
Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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