Today we are talking to Megan from My Community Box. This subscription service features items from the Hampton Roads area.
What made you decide to start a subscription box service?
I’ve always dreamed of being my own boss! Since I was a child I’ve always had one hand in entrepreneurship. I sold candy and snowballs during the summer months when I was out of school and during my late teens and early 20s I sold clothing and accessories online through eBay. I plan on being self-employed one day (soon), but how I fell into subscription boxes was purely by my addiction to them! They are so amazingly fun to receive. It’s like Christmas, a learning experience and pampering yourself all wrapped into one. After being introduced to subscription boxes, I immediately knew it was the field I wanted to get into full time. My Community Box has allowed me to bring my past, servicing my community, to my present love of subscription boxes.
How did you choose your subscription niche?
Well I’m a born and raised Hampton Roads resident, so I know this area very well. I came across subscription boxes a little over a year ago and immediately fell in love with the concept. However, I was discouraged that I couldn’t find any boxes that featured items from my amazing hometown and its surrounding cities. So, I decided to create my own box to showcase them. That’s how My Community Box was born! It’s main purpose is to show off all the local gems that this southeastern tip of VA has to offer.
How long did it take between idea and official launch?
All start ups have road blocks. I started hammering out the idea for My Community Box in August of 2013 with the goal of launching the following December. I had a decent crowd of people ready to receive their first box, but by November I realized it just wasn’t ready yet. So I announced a Pause and gave myself another three months to regroup. We opened our doors again in February of 2014 and shipped our first quarterly box in April.
How do you source the products that will be included each month?
There are three main factors that we look for whenever we procure an item. We’re looking for unique, new and/or local! I say “or” because there are many established businesses in this area that offer great products and I didn’t want to exclude them simply because their products weren’t new to the market. However, being made or sold locally is a must. My team & I personally try each product and only offer items that we love ourselves.
What was your biggest surprise – good or bad – with your new business?
I think my biggest surprise was finding out how willing others in this business are to share info and offer assistance. During the winter months right before and after I announced our Pause, I was very concerned about whether we would be able to pull off a quality box. I put some fillers out there, not really expecting too many people to respond or offer much advice, but I was completely wrong! There was an outpouring of support and advice and suggestions that I applied and still use to this day. Everyone, everywhere has been so helpful and so I try my best to pay it forward and do the same.
What would you change if you had to start over?
I don’t think I would change a thing! The highs and the lows (which have been few so far) has given My Community Box character. We’re still young. There’s still so much to learn, do and experience, but I think all that has happened over the last 10 to 11 months have been needed to get us where we are today. There are big changes coming in the near future, but looking back, I’m happy with how we came this far.
Where do you see your business five years from now? Any changes in the works?
Oh, I dream big so I have tons of ideas! I won’t give them all away right now, but I will say that I’m currently hosting a fundraiser at FundRazr.com so that we can increase our shipping frequency, update the website with more relevant Hampton Roads info and start planning the first ever M.A.C.E. (My Annual Community Event). My hope is to continually bring all of our vendors together again for big community events each spring or early summer. I’m very excited about this new idea and we’re pouring a lot of time into several projects that will be revealed soon! You’ll just have to Subscribe and stay tune to get all the details!
Visit the My Community Box fundraiser to learn more and pledge a donation.