I know many of you are not only interested in receiving beauty boxes but also in how to start a subscription box company. As a home business owner, I love taking a peek behind the scenes of other small businesses. And I love supporting them! I have been reaching out to some of these small biz owners for a new series on starting a subscription box company.
Our first guest is Deborah from Ophelia’s Apothecary. This is a small indie bath & body box that I simply love. Deborah makes her own products and has a hopping Facebook Page. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
What made you decide to start a subscription box service? Honestly, a long-time customer-turned-friend mentioned to me that I should start a subscription box. She told me what ones she subscribes to and what price point she thought would be a good target to aim for. That started my brain going with themes and whatnot. I soon realized that the subscription box would be a great way to try products that I haven’t previously done and would open up my creativity a bit more.
How did you choose your subscription niche? I’ve been doing handmade bath and body since ’07, so it was just where my heart is.
How much was your initial investment? I don’t know that I know that answer. I started off with items I currently had in stock. We had opened a brick and mortar previously and had to close suddenly due to health and a plethora of other ‘gunk’.
Do you work out of your home or an offsite location? I have a separate office located at my house. it’s pet-free, but still at ‘home’.
How long did it take between idea and official launch? How long to profit? I launched it the very next day, actually. I have a good customer base and following, so I knew once I came up with a game plan, that I could launch almost immediately. The first box went out 2 weeks later. I would say I actually started seeing a profit with the second month of boxes.
Are your ongoing costs on par with what you anticipated? Yes.
Do you handle all of your business operations yourself or have employees? I handle planning for the boxes myself, and filling the box orders I actually get help from family.
How do you source the products that will be included each month? I make everything, with the exception of finding a ‘guest’ feature. I usually ask or network with friends I’ve made online who own their own handmade,.at.home business.
What marketing avenues did you use to get the word out? Any memorable successes or failures? I use my Facebook Page and I network with a few box review websites.
What was your biggest surprise – good or bad – with your new business? The growth I would see month to month. It usually has had a steady 20-30% increase in box orders each month!
What would you change if you had to start over? I probably would have made my price point for monthly a couple dollars higher. I wish I would have fully grasped the expense of the packaging and shipping. I’ve had to make cuts in other areas for not estimating that correctly.
Where do you see your business five years from now? Any changes in the works? I could possibly get behind moving to a subscription box service only. I know my customers would just freak out if I ever did that, so that is one reason I haven’t made that a priority. I can see myself putting a cap on how many boxes we sell each month and creating a waitlist. When you are a small indie business you just don’t have the resources to do several hundred boxes. We are close to 100 now and I don’t know that I would want to go much more than 150 to 175. We will see when we get there!
A big thanks for Deborah for answering my questions! You can learn more about the Ophelia’s Apothecary subscription options at her website http://oaandp.com. Please make sure you are following My Beauty Box Review so you don’t miss a single interview in the How to Start a Subscription Box Company series!