A subscription box is a package of similarly-themed products that is sent to subscribers on a regular basis. Customers sign up for the surprise based on their interests, making it an attractive business prospect for you. But every successful business needs a great concept, so we curated some ideas to help you get started.
Here are 25 creative monthly subscription box ideas from the pros.
1. Curate Board Games for Your Customers
David Dubrino, Sr. Marketing Manager, Cratejoy
Staying in versus going out has been rising in popularity for years, and as people opt-in to staying home, they are looking for new and unique types of home entertainment. This is one reason we have seen a steep increase in Board Game sales over the past year. Another factor is that the Board Game industry has seen dramatic changes recently, as a slew of “monthly mystery boxes” have come to market, becoming extremely popular with families and groups of friends to play together. While this niche does seem to be reaching its saturation limit, thinking of fun things that people can do at home with their family or friends will be a winner in 2019.
Every subscription is different, but one thing that is true for all is that expert curation is vital to delivering the value subscribers demand. When deciding on products, being as unique as possible is also very important. Many subscription boxes offer branded and unique products that aren’t available in stores, and when pairing one-of-a-kind products with excellent curation and value, you can see exponential success.
2. Start a High-End Exercise Subscription Service
Stuart McHenry, President, McKremie
Subscription boxes can be fun and useful for the right demographic. My wife would enjoy an exercise subscription service, such as one where they send workout videos and workout wear on a monthly basis. I myself enjoy subscription services for golf-related products. However, many of these services cut corners and deliver low-end products. I’ve had a few of them before and the quality of good has always been an issue. Some even market their services showing name brands but only seem to deliver lower quality off-brands. I’d prefer a service that is higher-end and provides quality name-brand products.
3. Create a Personal Development Subscription Box
Tom Blake, Campaign Manager, This Online World
My concept for a new subscription box service is a personal development subscription box plan that targets working professionals and people interested in skill advancement. This subscription box would offer monthly deliveries and contain items such as books on fundamental business topics, philosophical works, personal development novels, organizational items such as a small pocket agenda, and a coupon to one useful online course or seminar that fits the subscriber’s areas of interest. A subscription box that targets working professionals could be a lucrative new opportunity as this market segment may be more willing to invest in their own development and have increased disposable income.
Amidst a saturated industry where competition is fierce, offering a service that is high in utility while being fundamentally different than other products on the market could assist this subscription box concept in standing out from the crowd.
4. Offer Ready-to-Eat Meals for Infants
Jennifer Chow, Co-Founder, Nurture Life
Parents today are often time-starved and stressed—balancing family, children, work and a host of other commitments can be incredibly challenging. For many families, finding the time to plan, shop for, prepare and cook fresh, healthy, wholesome meals only adds to this stress. Nurture Life helps parents by providing them freshly-made, nutritionally balanced, ready-to-eat meals for their babies, toddlers and kids, conveniently and without compromise. We want to take the stress out of mealtime for families and help parents feel great about what they’re feeding their kids without having to do it all themselves.
5. Create a Subscription Box for Hair Care and Accessories
Kamaria Hill, Owner, Loccessories
Please allow me to introduce you to The HealthyLocs Subscription Box—a subscription box for dreadlocks! Subscribers will find fun and functional products like loc jewelry and beads, loc maintenance tools, hair products to try, T-shirts made just for Dreadlock Rockers, plus other themed goodies each and every month. It’s a LocStar’s secret weapon for leveling up their loc game, all while keeping them looking so fresh and so clean.
6. Start a Branding Box for Business Clients
Andrew Witkin, Founder and CEO, StickerYou
We suggest knowing your audience and creating a subscription box that caters directly to their needs. At StickerYou, we’ve created a branding box with a variety of products that address different ways to brand and market a small business, by, for example, adding a branded die-cut sticker to create brand exposure and encourage brand loyalty. Alternatively, custom patches or temporary tattoos are both fun ways to encourage customers to wear your logo or promote your slogan. Finally, finish off any subscription box with a branded box, using packaging tape that is a more expensive way to brand your box, or with a simple box branded with a branded label or sticker. Either way, everyone will begin to recognize your brand when your subscription box is shipped to your customer’s door.
7. Introduce Craft Spirits to Your Customers
Dannie Strable, Founder and CEO, RackHouse Whiskey Club
I had the unique idea to travel to U.S. craft whiskey distilleries, tell their story, and ship their story with the whiskey they produce in a box directly to our member’s doorstep. I wanted to capture the true craft that is put into each bottle from these hard-to-find distilleries. To do that, our team of professional videographers, photographers, and marketers capture all the details of being at the distillery to bring the experience of visiting the distillery without buying a plane ticket. To add a unique touch, the head distiller curates whiskey items from their tasting room to add to the box with the whiskey and places their signature on each bottle.
The whiskey included is typically only available locally or statewide, giving our members an opportunity to taste whiskey that’s otherwise unavailable to them. The box is printed like a whiskey crate to create an awesome unboxing experience.
8. Start a Subscription Box for Breastfeeding Mothers
Amanda Sukkert, CLC, CEO+Founder, The Boobie Box™️
The Boobie Box™️ is a subscription box company that ships breastfeeding items to women every month. Curated by a Certified Lactation Counselor and breastfeeding mother of two, The Boobie Box caters to allergies, surrogates, and donors, and offers support via a private group. Boxes typically include five full-size products—lactation food and drink items, breastfeeding items for Mom, and a little something for baby, too.
9. Offer Subscriptions for Activewear
Alex Tran, Yoga Instructor and Founder, Schimiggy
I would sign up for activewear subscription boxes. I teach yoga and live in my activewear. I would love to have fresh clothing delivered to my doorstep on a regular basis. At first, I was against people choosing an outfit for me, but after trying a few boxes, I learned to trust the stylist and I actually love the items that I get in my subscription boxes. It’s a surprise each time.
10. Put Together a Cannabis Subscription Box
Joe Goldstein, SEO and Operations Director, TrailBlazer SEO
While looking for unusual subscription boxes for cannabis users, it was clear that most of the market is pretty myopic. Almost all of the boxes aimed at the cannabis market contained the same kinds of rolling papers, grinders, and smoking peripherals that don’t require a monthly replenishment or warrant a large collection without personal curation. That’s why I would create a subscription box for cannabis users who don’t need more rolling papers. Fill each box with a changing assortment of odd and delightful goodies ranging from exotic candy and bath bombs to novelty socks, activity kits, home decor, and more. Even throw in a few bizarre items, like a million-dollar bill from Zimbabwe (which costs under a dollar) and a VHS copy of Jerry Maguire in there, to make sure they’ll start laughing the second they open the box.
If you have a toddler at home, you know how it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the need to provide a healthy learning environment for them. This is why having a subscription box that aims to send you a curation of educational toys can help ease the pressure of going out frequently to buy or rely on television for your kids’ learning experience. A good idea would be to be able to register and indicate the birthday and age of your child and you receive different educational toys based on their age. So in a year’s subscription, the toys change or become more challenging every month as your child gets older. This learning box preschool subscription box is a good example of the concept.
The challenge for those who are working on eating healthier is the availability of produce and the ideas for a dish. This is part of the reason they eventually give up. So what better way to support a healthier lifestyle than offer a subscription box for healthy dishes? Anyone who would subscribe should be able to indicate their preference and their diet, or even a list of items they have an allergic reaction to. In turn, they receive a monthly supply of ingredients, including a properly designed set of recipes that go along with it. Hello Fresh offers such concept, but weekly instead of monthly. They provide a subscription box of pre-measured ingredients for easier access to healthier home cooking options.
If you’re in the restaurant business, or particularly in the wine or cheese business, offering a wine and cheese tasting box can be a great idea to attract more customers to your establishment. This can also be a good opportunity to collaborate with other businesses if you don’t specialize in either product. The market for this type of subscription box is wide; for example, it is a good alternative for traditional gifts during the holidays as a reward for an employee in a company, or even just to be enjoyed by collectors at home. You can create a monthly theme, just like what cheesemonthclub.com does. There’s also the option of wine pairings that go beyond cheese, or cheese pairings that go beyond wine. Be creative and watch your business develop loyal customers.
Do you own a bookstore? In this digital age where even books are simulated using software and apps, book lovers look for the smell and feel of paper from physical books. Those who prefer the sensory interaction would appreciate signing up for a subscription box that offers recommended readings every month. Instead of the usual book sale, you can offer pre-loved but well-maintained books at a more affordable cost. Include additional value with small tokens such as bookmarks with a QR code to your website and maybe even an invitation to events where people can share or even swap their collection with fellow book lovers. Book of the month offers a similar service.
Not all flower shops are made equal. Some can be lucky to have a high pedestrian traffic location, or popular enough to be the choice of event organizers to become suppliers, while some only look forward to seasonal demand to boost their sales. Offering subscriptions for flowers and delivery can be a great opportunity to pick up regular customers that can fill the low season demand. Make sure you have a website page dedicated for information on flower subscriptions. Offer once-a-month customizable dates, delivery addresses and choice of flowers or theme. This type of service will be popular for anyone who regularly wants to decorate their home or office space with fresh flowers. It also works well as company incentives for monthly top achievers or birthday celebrants for both employees and clients.
Hobby boxes are popular nowadays. But if you want to stand out, you can offer what customers are actually interested in, instead of introducing them to new activities. Focus on cultivating a particular interest. For example, a cross stitch subscription box can start with a signup sheet asking customers if they are a beginner of experienced cross stitch enthusiast. Then proceed to showing them examples of finished cross stitch projects and asking them which ones they are interested in to gain idea of their preferences. That way, you don’t run the risk of sending your customers a project that’s either too easy (so that they get bored) or too difficult (so that they become too discouraged to complete it). You can also set up a page on your website where your subscribers can share their finished work with other customers and also share their accomplishment on social media.
Dainty tea subscription boxes are brilliant, especially if paired with small snacks that can go along with it. Instead of giving your customers the option to choose, offer them the chance to explore a variety of loose leaf and tea sachets tied together in a theme. Include a small menu explaining the background of each of your selections. Perhaps add some detachable discount stubs that they can use to get a discount for pastries that are perfect for your current theme. You can even offer a loyalty card that gives your best customers a chance to collect parts of a very nice tea set. Remember that tea drinking is an overall sensory experience, and your customers will appreciate the look and the smell of your products the moment they open their boxes.
Fancy yourself a smart stylist? Make your service stand out by offering low-cost personal styling. If you’re into the business of buying and selling secondhand clothes and apparel, you can add a subscription plus styling service apart from selling your products to walk-in clients. Set up a web page where you take your clients’ details, including an idea of what they do, their activities and their personal style. Finally make sure you use personal packaging that they would expect from brand new, high-end brands. Fold each item neatly and use a branded box. Include a thank you card with notes on the style, plus a business card that they can use to reach you should they have any concerns.
A color subscription box would be interesting for those looking to express their personality. This can be anything from a small pen to all sorts of personal use items or displays at home and at work. Find a supplier and create box ideas to show on your website. Color Curate is a color-focused monthly subscription bag. And although the items are mostly focused on beauty products, yours can be elevated to include additional items that fall within the interest of your subscriber (based on the questionnaire they fill out during sign up), and impress them with your knack for finding items they usually won’t find themselves at stores or online.
Parents are constantly on the lookout for family activities that won’t break the bank. However, aside from the cost, the effort to plan and schedule are also main causes of why these sometimes don’t work. This subscription box idea can help mainly by providing new, creative ideas for family bonding. Collaborate with other brands to create a box that can include movies, games, tickets to a show, and even food. Having a concierge-like box brought to their doorstep will motivate any parent to insist on a once-a-month bonding time with their family. Check out Awesome Pack’s idea and build your own from there.
A quality date night is no longer limited to nights out. Couples are beginning to see the value of a good time at home, movies, music, or tickets to unique events. Collaborate with other businesses and become a concierge for couples looking for new and interesting date night ideas. Try offering a date night recipe that couples can cook together, a suggestion for a movie, a couple’s game, or even tickets to events like great but not so popular acoustic acts. Having a good network and partner suppliers can help curate unique date night experiences depending on season, location and preferences. Movie Night Box offers something similar and should help you get started.
Shoe stores are everywhere, but because customers are beginning to discover the value of online shopping, businesses need to find new ways to stand out. One good idea is to offer a subscription box service. Once a month, send your customers one or more pairs of shoes depending on the season and theme. Create a page on your website where customers can answer questionnaires and most importantly, determine their shoe size. Look for apps that help take accurate measurement and integrate it on your website. JustFab offers a number of options and customizations, plus a selection of matching bags to complete your look.
Do you travel often? Or maybe you have connections in different countries that you can contract to send you novelty items and souvenirs from their location. There are collectors who would love to get their hands on souvenirs from around the world, so expect a good deal of demand for subscription boxes offering these. Make sure to curate quality items like postage stamps, stickers, vanity plates, and hats, and stay clear of things that can easily be bought anywhere.
You might have received care packages from your parents while you were studying away from home. This idea works in a similar way, but is geared towards sending packages to grandparents regardless of where they are staying. Grand Box has mastered how to put together a highly-customized subscription box, letting you add photos and notes for a more personal touch. You can also offer boxes for special occasions. The key is to have a good grasp of what seniors will appreciate and regularly use so they will learn to always look forward to your package.
For those who appreciate a good cocktail, a mixologist subscription box should be something they would always look forward to. This is a great alternative if you want to offer a unique prize for company events and recognitions, or a special gift for loved ones. The box would contain recipes and ingredients to create and experiment with cocktails mixes for different seasons. Add value to your service by making sure you provide ingredients that are not easy to find or available in small amounts. Also consider offering a starter box that contains tools customers would need to create their cocktail masterpiece.
Over to You
Forrest Gump’s “Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” effectively sums up the concept of subscription boxes. Use our list for ideas on what excites and inspires your target market to help your business grow in no time.
What kind of subscription box ideas would you sign up for? Let us know in the comments.