Subscription box business- How to start one


Anyone here ever received a subscription box before?

Raise your hand if you did not feel thrilled just to unbox the contents.

Remember the mail order business?

Mail orders were used in the 80s to purchase products which were sent to you every month, it was mostly magazines.

Guess what? mailorder business got rebranded into subscription box business.

And it is no longer specific to magazines and newspapers but now to every product, you can think of.

What is a Subscription Box Business?

A subscription box business is a business that curates special products which customers are interested in and sends it to the customers per month or per quarter.

They use different models to determine what gets sent, I will deal with that later.

Since you are here, it means you are keen on starting a home business.

My blog is dedicated to sharing with you different home business ideas, that is why I love to write a lot of guides and how-to posts.

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Steps to Starting a Subscription Box Business

1)Choose a niche

Before you think of starting your subscription box business you must identify the niche you will like to serve.

What is a niche?

A niche is a specific group of people with specific needs.

This means that you are isolating the people or characteristics of the type of people you will like to serve.

Why is a niche important?

Because you cannot be all things to all men, you may become too generic and you will not be able to attract your specific target market.

Your target market is what defines how you will market your business.

To define your niche here is what you need to do

✔Brainstorm ideas about your subscription box business

✔Identify needs and problems people have that are reoccurring and you think your subscription box can solve.

For example, Blue Apron is a subscription-based business that sends people food recipes and items that they will need to prepare family meals.

People who subscribe to Blue apron, don’t have time to dig up recipes, measure them and shop for them.

So Blue Apron sends them pre-measured recipes with direction for cooking.

So you need to ask yourself about such issues that need to be solved so you can build your subscription-box business around it.

Subscription Box Business Niches

Health and Beauty


Digital Products

Clothing and Accessories

Exercise and Fitness

Craft Supplies

Personal Development


Breastfeeding Moms

Categories of Subscription boxes

Retail boxes: Here the customers choose what they want to be sent to them and they get that every month.

No surprises, it kind of looks like a care package because they know what to expect.

Mixed boxes- Customers choose a few things they really love and the remaining contents are chosen by subscription box company.

It is usually a surprise.

Mystery boxes– Here the customer chooses a niche and the box comes as a total surprise.

The products are switched around every month to keep it a surprise.

When you have decided on the product you need for your subscription box business idea, it is time to determine the business model you will adopt.

2)Subscription Box Business Model

What is a business model?

A business model is a way you choose to structure your business in other to make money.

Another definition is the identification of your income streams, revenues, customer base and products that all tie into to making money for your business.

The simplest definition I have seen is: a business model tells you how your business will make money.

This means before you decide to invest in starting a business, you must identify the following.

Income streams

Customer base



For example, I am a blogger, my income streams are

Affiliate marketing

Freelance Writing

Printables selling

Service offerings


These are the ways that I make money as a blogger.

Of course, with time I may increase these or totally cancel some not so profitable methods.

But with these income streams, I know where to focus my energy per time.

Itemizing helps you to understand how your business makes money, so you avoid the mistakes I made when starting out.

When I started out I did not take the time to itemize and identify these income streams.

I just depended on affiliate marketing which was the only way I thought bloggers were making money.

Of course, I failed woefully, I now had to reset and start thinking of other ways I could make money in my blogging business.

I simply brainstormed for ideas and I soon realized that my ideas were scattered all over the place.

This led to creating a planner that will help me organize my thoughts and create a continuous flow for my home business.

The home business planner that does not only help with your brainstorming activity but also to decide on what your income streams will be.

My home business planner is a complete document that helps you to start with a business idea and plan to the very end. Including your marketing strategies.

With the home business planner, you can avoid my mistakes and plan your business to succeed from the beginning.

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3) Price Your Products

Now that you are sure what business model you will be using for your subscription box business, its time to price your products.

A lot of people who do subscription box business have to buy the products to send or make it themselves.

So, to price your products here is what you need to consider.

-Total cost of products in the box

-Cost of shipping if you are not sending digital products.

-Cost of packaging

-Labor costs

-Marketing costs

Cratejoy a leading subscription-based online business platform recommends that you mark up your subscription box business to make at least a margin of 40%.

This will make it sustainable for you to continue to be in business.

When you are through with your product costsing you are then ready to design a prototype.

4) Make a Prototype and Test run.

A prototype is a look-alike of what your product is.

You develop your subscription box prototype so that when customers see it, they will know what to expect.

Your prototype should showcase the best of your products, after all, it is the prototype that will convince people to buy from you.

Things you can do with your Prototype

-Take pictures for display on your website.

-Make video clips showing how it works.

-Send free samples to people and ask for their review, opinion or feedback.

Their reviews can go on your website for people to see.

The feedback is used to improve your product and service.

5) Set up your Sales Channels

Now that you have your subscription box business ready to start, you need to decide what sales channel you will use for your business.

There are two ways

1- Set up your online shop

You can use online shop services like Shopify or Wix.

These shop channels have all the requires functionalities you will need for a storefront.

From a payment button for one purchase to recurring payment setups for your subscription box business.

If you want to set up a Shopify shop, go here to set it up.

The same with Wix.

You can also contact me to help you build an online shop.

Check out my work with me page for details.

2- Use an online subscription-based marketing platform like Cratejoy.

Cratejoy is an online platform that helps you to build your subscription box business for a fee.

You get to set it up and accept payment without going through the hassles of building your site.

Think of Amazon and then apply it to subscription box company then you have Cratejoy.

To find out about pricing and how it works

Go here.

If you want to know the pros and cons of owning your online shop versus listing on a marketplace like Cratejoy, read this

6) Launch Your Business

If you are done, with all these steps, the next is to launch your business.

To launch your business online here are the steps to follow

-Create your social media profiles e.g Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram

-Set up an email list

-Do a giveaway to create buzz and get email sign-ups

-Liaise with Bloggers and influencers to talk about your launch day

-Invite friends and families to your launch day activities

-Take Orders and Make sales.

You can launch your business online, it does not have to be a physical program.

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Elizabeth is a passionate home business owner that helps others to achieve their life goals of running a successful home. business. I am particular about stay at home moms who wish to transition into a mompreneur.

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