A Startup That Offers A Lil' Bit Of Everything: Therapy
"It's Therapy in a box. Women need to take care of themselves from the inside out. Our Therapy box is meant to make you feel better. We're not [just] selling subscriptions, we are sending out presents to well-deserving women. It's a community."
Founded by Monique DuToit, Jita Singh and Anne Jafery, the trio have worked together previously, and have years of experience running startups in sectors like production distribution to services.
Taking cues from other subscription services which started out well but fizzled in terms of quality, Jafery says they believed in taking time and doing their homework on their system's front-end, to identify areas that needs improvement before launch. Ideation to execution was seven months, with the first box sent in November 2014.
Catering to the lifestyle of busy women with responsibilities both at work and home, Therapy offers products for the mind and body, with contents including books, snacks, beauty products and travel needs- it has a bit of everything. And it's not just for women either: "About 20% of our subscriptions are purchased by men, and gifted to women," says Jafery, adding that their service is perfect for men who struggle to think of appropriate gifts for their wives and partners.
HOW IT WORKS
Therapy currently offers four subscription plans: a month for AED162, three months for AED396, six months for AED762 and 12 months for AED1392, as well as a loyalty program to earn points for supporting Therapy in various ways- such as doing written/ video reviews, mentioning #boxtherapy on Facebook or Twitter, or referring a friend who signs up. This can later be used to get a free Therapy box and also enter the draw for a Mega Box, which includes one product valued at AED5000. Currently, Therapy's payment method is through CashU.
THE UNIQUE FACTOR
"We are not competing with [other subscription services], we are competing with ourselves to improve the model," says Jafery on their drive to innovate, offer better content and understand their subscribers. Besides that, as Therapy is a personal and fun venture compared to their other businesses, Jafery asserts it's also catering to their passion of providing a solution to the market that sets them apart. Most importantly, it's also about their target market- the founders state they know their audience well, as they represent the core customers themselves.
With 12 months of curated themed boxes, their current subscription base numbers at 400-500 at any given time. They also offer flexible options of suspending a subscription temporarily for users off on holiday, or shorter packages, so the subscription base fluctuates.
REACHING THE PEOPLE
Besides social media and PR, they understand the importance of building relationships for businesses in the UAE, and so they greatly credit word-of-mouth as a powerful marketing tool. Digital marketing is also an emphasis for the platform, as their main demographic is a busy woman.
As they have different vendors every month, Therapy gets exposure to a different client- base each month too. With that in mind, they're careful not to align with a brand permanently, as one of their core deliverables is to "select the product that is right for the box [monthly theme], not the product that we are able to source easily."
Though it's easier to launch a startup in MENA, Jafery regards it as a double-edged sword, making it look too easy for aspirants. While listening to mentors, developing the business model, and writing a business plan can be seen as tedious, it's actually the best kind of exercise for entrepreneurs. "It's to their benefit to explore and challenge their concept from every angle."
"In time," Jafery says, referring to any expansion plans. Although they can operate regionally, they believe a major mistake is to grow too rapidly too soon. "Manage your growth and you will go far."