Founded 1776 is a new subscription box focused on American-made products. Today we are sitting down with Michael and Mikayla for a little “Behind the Box” session followed by a review of their recent box.
What made you decide to start a subscription box service?
Michael: Last December, I was tossing around the idea of starting a business but didn’t know what kind of business to start. One night I decided to sleep on it, and in the morning I woke up with the idea for a store called “Merica!” that would sell Made in America products. I had been spending countless hours of my free time on websites for well designed Made in USA clothing and accessory companies – so that’s how the seed was born.
Mikayla: Michael was subscribed to Birchbox and had just received his box for the month of February – I looked at it and thought, “why not start a subscription box for Made in USA products so that we can avoid the overhead associated with a brick and mortar operation and serve people all across the country?”
How did you choose your subscription niche?
Michael: We believe in the American Dream for all and care about how the things we buy are made. Purchasing products that are Made in the USA creates & sustains jobs all across our country. It is one of the best ways to support our economy and uphold the best aspects of U.S. production values, including demand for quality & safety, respect for human rights, and regard for the environment.
Out of over 550 subscription boxes we found, 9 featured Made in USA food, and NONE featured Made in USA accessories & household goods. That is, until Founded 1776!
Mikayla: After about a month of realizing that every domain name we could think of was already taken, I thought back to our country’s roots. We decided that “Founded 1776” has a nice ring to it and captures the spirit of our business.
How long did it take between idea and official launch?
We decided to start a subscription box in February, started a 30 day pre-order campaign in June and officially launched on July 4th. So five months.
How do you source the products that will be included each month?
We are guided by three principles when curating our boxes: 1) Quality, 2) Good Design, and 3) Variety
We are scouring the country to curate boxes of 3-4 products with a total retail value of $35-40 per box. When we find a company with a product that we feel is a good fit, we reach out to them directly for wholesale or below wholesale pricing. We also reach out to companies that we want to feature but won’t fit in our boxes – their products are included in online giveaways and pop-up events.
What was your biggest surprise – good or bad – with your new business?
We don’t know that this qualifies as a “big” surprise, but it was shipping. The cost to have our inventory shipped to us wasn’t as much as we had estimated. Conversely, estimating the cost to ship our boxes to customers was a tad tricky.
What would you change if you had to start over?
We would probably have timed it so that our first box made it to box reviewers like My Beauty Box Review sooner so that reviews would coincide with our official launch on July 4th.
Where do you see your business five years from now? Any changes in the works
We are on a mission to scour the country and bring people the definitive collection of Made in USA brands that will fit in four boxes and will only be curating them for one year.
This will give us time to see if a new line of boxes that can fit larger products is warranted. Or we might try our hand at producing our own Made in USA products.
In the Fall, we plan on introducing a page of handpicked vintage items for sale – of course, all Made in the USA!
Founded 1776 Review
The box was well packed and wrapped in a stylish wrapping paper from Mid-Century Modern Wrapping Paper out of New Jersey. It really gave the feel of opening a present. Even one of the featured products was wrapped in its own package.
Inside the box I found:
Baberaham Lincoln by Freaker – This is a knit bottle coozie. I love that it is knit as opposed to most of the preformed products on the market. There are so many bottle designs and sizes these days. This one will fit most.
Pils by GrOpener – This is a one-handed bottle opener. It comes from Colorado and also features a cap-catching magnet. Very cool.
Signature Woodsy Brown Bandana by Runyon Canyon Apparel – This is an eco-friendly, hand-screened item out of California. It has a wolf design.
You can see the wrapping paper that enclosed the branded box in the above photo.
This box is available for $33 plus $7 shipping. Boxes are to included 3 or 4 items with a retail value of at least $35. Founded 1776 boxes ship quarterly.
Visit the website to learn more and please share your thoughts on this new subscription in the comments.
Disclosure: I was provided this box for review purposes. All opinions are my own.