Subscription services are no longer just for magazines or beer-of-the-month clubs. The booming ecommerce model is one of our December issue's Business Trends for 2014.
More entrepreneurs hope to emulate the success of sites like Birchbox who claims over 400,000 subscribers to its beauty product sample business. Platforms like member.ly make creating a site for a subscription service as easy as typing an email. With ease of entry, more unique businesses ideas are hoping that people will be checking their mailboxes for their products all year long.
If getting a subscription to a currently published magazine (besides Entrepreneur, of course) feels passé, you might be interested in Pen Pop Press' vintage and obscure magazines subscription.
Founder Julie Crossman scours the shelves of family members, thrift stores, and flea markets to get her unique finds which include offbeat and rare titles of decades old magazines like Master Detective and Screen Stories. The $15 a month subscription gives you one magazine a month along with related photos, postcards, and pamphlets. Pen Pop Press offers three themed subscriptions: ‘Kooky Aunt,' ‘Cranky Uncle,’ or 'Digital Digest.'
DIY Craft Kits
In case you haven’t noticed, crafts have made a comeback. From knitting to scrapbooking, DIY is cool again. So, it only makes sense that several companies are jumping on the subscription bandwagon. Handmade site For the Makers will send a box with materials and instructions for four small craft projects for $29 a month (subscriptions are available between one and six months). New York-based craft store M&J Trimming has created a similar service with its "Project DIY" which sends subscribers materials and directions to create 2 to 3 projects each month (a $20 starter kit of tools is also available).
For many people, T-shirts with clever slogans are a wardrobe staple. So rather than hunting down topical tees to fill your closet, customers can sign up for BustedTees Shirt of the Month Club. Subscriptions are available in three, six, or 12-month durations and range in price from $50 to $165. Each month subscribers can select any of the hundreds of men's and women's shirts which feature jokes and designs derived from the in-house CollegeHumor editorial team.
While offices get increasingly casual, stylish men can still class things up with a subscription service for men’s accessories. Subscriptions from The Tie Bar Tie of the Month Club offer either one tie per month for $199 or two per month for $369. Customers can choose a theme subscription, either traditional, trendy, or "best of."
Want to make more earth-friendly purchases don't know what products are best? A subscription to a service such as Conscious Box or Blissmo can help you discover environmentally-conscious snacks, body care and cleaning products. Conscious Box contains 10 to 15 products as one, three, six or twelve-month subscriptions (with lines accommodating both vegans and those who eat gluten-free). Prices range from $20 for one month to $200 for a year. Bliss Box focuses on just organic food and beauty products and lets users select which curated box they would like each month as a one or six-month subscription for $20.
Men's socks and underwear
For men who can’t keep their underwear and sock stocks shipshape, several companies are there at the ready with men's essentials subscription services. Founded in 1999, Blacksocks.com provides just what the name suggests, a "sockscription" that provides three pairs of socks you select every four months. Customers can also opt for undershirt or underwear subscriptions instead.
Similarly, DaDa Underwear's Quarterly Underwear Club, delivers four pairs of high-end men's underwear every quarter. But if socks and underwear aren't enough, ManPacks lets customers create their own care packages of "manly basics" like socks, underwear, razors, and toiletries delivered every three months.
Trendy sunglasses subscription service Stunner of the Month sends subscribers a new pair of sunglasses each month. The prices are low (only $9 a month) but the expectations are high. The site promises that "as long as you wear your Stunners expect to be transformed by the personality and attitude that accompanies each pair."
"Intimate items" are among the more embarrassing to buy in person, so it seems a natural for the subscription industry. Spicy Subscriptions promises free and discreet shipping for a monthly $35 "Spice Box" containing around ten full and trial-sized toys, massage oils and lingerie. For those who want to make a bigger commitment to their love lives the company also offers deluxe and premium toy-of-the-month clubs.
Stationary and greeting cards
In an age of LOLs and 140-character communication, a return to handwritten letters may seem quaint. But there are still those who embrace the lost art of letter writing and for them, OliveBox offers a themed monthly box of stationery, greeting cards, and other small paper items. Olive also offers a greeting card only subscription offering a themed box of seven cards for $25 a month or $150 for an annual subscription of six boxes.
Dog owners love to pamper their pooches, and a subscription to Bark Box lets pet owners do so on a regular basis. Monthly boxes contain a combination of around five treats, toys, and hygiene products all tested by the company’s in-house dog tester, Scout. Pet parents select one of three dog sizes and then opt for a one-, three- or six-month subscription ranging from $19-$29 a month.
Crafts and toys for kids
Want an easy way to seem like the most fun grownup ever (while keeping kids busy in the process)? Sign up to have a box of kid's crafts and toys delivered every month. Kiwi Crate's DIY project boxes are designed for kids age three to seven and are centered on themes such as Robot Rally, Wild Safari, Pirate Adventure, and Growing Gardens. One-, three-, six-, and 12-month subscriptions for $20 a month.
File this one under to "there's something for everyone." Terrarium supply Etsy shop owner, Teresa Kessler, has created a moss of the month club where she promises to send a surprise "sandwich bag full of assorted moss and lichens" to subscribers. The 12-month subscription is $160 and also includes other moss-related items rocks and small terrarium kits.
A surprise gift from a famous person
If the giver and the idea behind the gift matters more to you than knowing if you'll like it, Quarterly Co.'s unique subscription service might be for you. Select one of the over 40 "influential contributors" from NFL players, to Bill Nye The Science Guy, Stanford d.School, and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia who represent a range of tastes, styles and topics. For $50, subscribers will receive a new product selected by their chosen influencer once every three months.
Have a lot of blank walls screaming for something original and unique? Art in a Box will send an original work of art to you monthly. Subscribers can choose a one- to 12-month subscription (ranging from $50 to $600). Artwork ranges from photography to paintings and even sculptures. To help determine what you’d like best, customers are asked to provide three adjectives to describe their artistic tastes.
Food and music pairings
Peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk… music and food? Some things just go together. Turntable Kitchen hopes that discovering new music and food together are among those other more conventional pairings. Each month subscribers receive a box with a vinyl single and a digital mix-tape of an up-and-coming new artists along with dried ingredients and three original, seasonal, themed recipes. Customers can select the subscription duration and each box is $25.