Growing a successful Subscription based Business
Ever thought about starting your own subscription box or product? In this episode, Sparkle, Hustle, Grow founder Julie Ball is giving a peek into the behind the scenes of what it really takes to have a successful subscription based business and what you need to get started.
HOW DID SHE GET HERE?
Julie started out in the corporate world but when she had her daughter she no longer wanted the high-stress job with a long drive into the city. She started a web marketing agency as a side hustle, and ended up putting in her notice at her corporate job. She hired a few employees and started to position the company as an all-female web development firm.
Julie and her husband moved their family to a new city, and during this time she got a little bit lonely working from home, and started diving into her community and looking for other women to collaborate with. She got the idea for a subscription box product and since her audience was already female entrepreneurs, it seemed like a perfect fit, and Sparkle, Hustle, Grow was born.
HOW DOES THE SUBSCRIPTION ACTUALLY WORK?
There are a few different models, but at Sparkle, Hustle, Grow you sign up by a certain cutoff date for that month’s box. All boxes are delivered to customers once a month on the same date, and you renew for a new box each month. You’ll know the theme of the box in advance, but the items inside are a surprise and usually include a book, online trainings, and office supplies or tech items to help you run your business.
WHAT’S THE FIRST STEP IN LAUNCHING A SUBSCRIPTION PRODUCT?
The first step is that you have to have a really good idea. Who do you want to serve and how do you want to solve their pain point? Brainstorm your target audience and then niche down, then niche down again one or two more times.
It’s not a good idea to have an idea that pleases the masses. It needs to please a specific target audience.
Once you have your unique box concept, there’s a handful of things you’ll need from a business perspective. You’ll need products, boxes, tape, and packing materials. Obviously, you’ll need a computer and printer because you’ll need to print labels and maybe even inserts to put in the box. You’re also going to have to have very specific software that is made for subscription boxes or supports a recurring cart (we use Cratejoy!), and then an email marketing software to nurture an email list, send tracking emails, etc.
HOW DO YOU PURCHASE AND SOURCE THE PRODUCTS FOR THE BOX?
We purchase almost all of the products that go in our box. If you have some marketing value to give the retailer, then you can try to work with them to get things at cost or at a sampling price, but you should expect to pay for the products you choose. Work with vendors to negotiate prices down by providing them more value.
Sourcing is definitely the most fun part but also the most time consuming. You’ll naturally dial into finding things that you and your customers love. When you find things in stores that you would like to use, take a picture of the product and write down the price and creator. Email the creator, let them know who you are and what your box is, and see who you can talk to about wholesale pricing. Try to start buying for months at a time and buying in bulk so that you can get a better price.
BONUS! GET $5 OFF YOUR FIRST BOX WHEN YOU USE THE CODE ‘ON FIRE’!
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