Birchbox open box

Subscription Obsessed

I am a terrible shopper. If you’ve ever been into a store with me, I probably didn’t buy anything.

More likely, I looked at something very intensely, studying the quality, weighing the price against my desire for the item, calculating the expense over time and factoring in whatever amount of joy I can expect to receive. In the end, I nearly always end up not purchasing whatever it is.

Enter the subscription box trend. For a monthly fee, someone will undertake this unpleasantness for me and send a box full of hand-picked items right to my door without me having to risk a spell of decision fatigue. Its like it was meant for me. Add to that the moment of suspenseful anticipation when the package arrives and of course I’m totally on board.

Birchbox open boxphoto by cupcakecozy / cc by 2.0

Here’s an overview of the whole thing.

What’s this all about?

Subscription boxes vary widely and are now available for nearly every niche. There are makeup subscriptions, clothing and jewelry rentals, cooking boxes, snack boxes, comic boxes, men’s boxes, women’s boxes, city/country specific boxes, stationery boxes, DIY boxes, vegan boxes, fitness boxes… it really never ends. The basic concept is that you’ll be sent a box monthly, quarterly or periodically, full of items chosen for you.

How much do they cost?

The prices vary widely (there’s even a $5,000 subscription box available now, if you’re insane) but they start around $10/mo.

Here’s a few examples:

  • Birchbox – This grandmama of subscription boxes sends a small box of cosmetics and skincare samples once a month for $10. The value usually hits around $25 and if you rate the products in your box, you also get up to $5 in credit towards full size purchases.
  • Gwynnie Bee – An endless closet of clothes aimed at plus-size ladies (try Le Tote for straight sizes). Wear items and send them back starting at $35/mo or keep them at a discount.
  • Plated – You choose recipes you want to try and they’ll send you all of the ingredients for $15/meal.
  • Hatch – A jewelry subscription box focusing on independent designers. Wear the pieces as long as you want and send them back for $19 or keep what you like at a discount.

Name 5 reasons why I would care about this.

  1. You can get free stuff! Many boxes offer the first month free or nearly free so there’s little to no risk.
  2. Who doesn’t love getting mail!? Its like sending yourself a surprise gift.. how else would you even do that?
  3. Many boxes offer rewards programs that actually do add up – more free stuff.
  4. Usually, the value you get is higher than what you pay. Most boxes offer at least double the value and some go as much 5x or 6x higher.
  5. You’ll get to try things you wouldn’t otherwise. I, for one, never thought I’d like silver eyeliner until I got it from Birchbox but now I’m hooked. I never gave leeks enough attention until Blue Apron sent me some with the perfect recipe and now I’m in love.

Just wait. You’ll be hooked too. I’m sorry and you’re welcome.


2 thoughts on “Subscription Obsessed

  1. I really DO love the ‘gifting of oneself’. It’s not quite a surprise to get something I ordered in the mail, but it is always a pleasure! I just got my first birchbox this month and MAN, I love it. I’ve ALWAYS loved the samples you (used to) get at the department stores. Nowadays, it seems that the ‘free gifts with purchase’ are ALWAYS stuff I’ve already tried (Clinique, you are particularly egregious at this in the last ten years). Birchbox makes me happy that I get to try just a little of so many things!

    Also, I’m really mad that you wrote this and that David linked it to me. I just signed up for Le Tote :(

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