Our 2019 journey into the Gift Box and Subscription boxes market in the UK
From start to end a new subscription and gift box venture
There has been a lot of buzz and hype for the last few years about the gift box and monthly subscription box markets, and after so many customer requests that we start we have a steep learning curve to learn not just how to do this, as anyone can do that, but how to make it a success. Believe me when i say we knew nothing about this industry, so this is how we went about it and what we learnt in our story of ‘how to start a gift box and subscription box business in the UK, and in 2019’.
Now I must admit that I or Cordelia have no experience in their gift box or subscription box industry, so for us it was an extremely steep learning curve. Especially if we were to do Justice to the quality of the gifts we already stock on our online store from amazingly talented British brands, makers and artisans. We really wanted to make sure the quality of the products as well as the service was at the forefront of this new venture as well as being a wonderful opportunity to get some unknown small independent British gift designers not just in front of new customers that had previously not Known them all the British gift industry, but into their homes on a regular monthly basis.
Having been repeatedly asked by our customers if we offered this service we gave in and sat down to do this properly and not just coral some ideas together to quickly get the subscription boxes into market. We already obviously had connections for sourcing the goods so that was the easy part. Trying to ensure we gave as much value and items in the boxes as well as maintaining a minimum profit margin for ourselves was a challenge. There are two types of gift boxes on the market: firstly there are the ones that have small sample size products and items that the company has managed to get free via offering free samples to generate brand awareness for themselves. Secondly, there is the section that cordelia's house of Treasures comes under And that is filling the monthly subscription boxes with full sized products that are not miniature samples and that can be bought on the High Street and also in our online gift stores.
Boxing the Best Subscription Boxes UK
So that's was the first item ticked off the list. Now we had to look at packaging, boxing and shipping. We desperately wanted to keep the handmade and independent feel not just within the box but built into the box and on the exterior too. We wanted the receiving of the box every month to be an event, an occasion that brings happiness, surprised and joy to every receiver every month. We also wanted to make sure we did our bit for the environment so we insured all the boxes and packaging resourced was recycled and or recyclable. To further the handmade and hand packed feeling we had some ink stamps especially designed and made from amazing British company who turns are all around so quickly and the finished product was of an amazingly high quality, to the point a week later we ordered some more stamps for the wedding, children's, stationery and baby gift boxes. so we set about 1 night practicing the designs to be hand printed on every single box by ourselves in our Shropshire base, outsourcing no printing packing or shipping keeping things as British as possible and everything bought from British companies. after deciding the finished designs, which I must say do really look good, we set about the problem of making sure all of the products get to the customers in the same intact shape they left us. We tried a couple of different types of packaging including thick brown paper, corrugated cardboard to ensure the least impact the environment possible, but sat right at our feet in the office was a big box of shredding of the masses of paperwork catalogues and ever and usable items that coming to the office everyday. Having used this, and with some lovely tissue wrapping paper we got formerly wonderful British brand Glick that we also stock, the shredding was easily contained so as not to make a mess on opening as well as affording a wonderfully soft and cushioned bed for the products to be delivered on. To add to the experience and adding more of a personal feel when opening the box most items are hand wrapped in tissue paper also as well as an end Piece folding together cordelia's house of Treasures sticker holding it together ( all bought from local and British businesses ).
Ensuring the best monthly subscription services deliver
So now having sorted the products, the boxing and the packaging we had to move on to the shipping. Although our headquarters is rural, we are fortunate enough to have a Post Office and a Royal Mail depot within a few minutes of ‘Chot headquarters’. so with easy shipping labels and customer invoices in each box ( which can be requested to be removed if these are a gift) we came across the idea of telling people a little bit more about the British brands and the British design gifts inside their boxes. We don't believe in cramming excess marketing material into our customers letters, deliveries and email accounts ( as our customers will testify, all that had signed up to our newsletters in the last 6 months I've only ever received one short email from myself telling them about the subscription boxes and some other special offers for them to thank them for signing up ), but we wanted to sell the stories behind the products and the brands because serve our customers really value this information of where their gifts come from, the story behind them and that in itself is as Big an appeal to many customers as the products themselves. This is not an exceptionally new concept, we have been wanting to know where I meet, vegetables and other bought items come from these days, it has just become more of a standard and we know this it is even more welcome within our customer base. And we are more than happy to do it. We know that some of the stories behind the small independent British gift brands that we stock truly are amazing and have that extra emotional connection for any receiver.
So now we have everything ready, how are we going to get are gift boxes and monthly subscription boxes to market and in front of customers at didn't notice, not just customers that had requested the monthly subscriptions in the UK. We spent a lot of time looking into the masses of platforms online that sell gift boxes such as cratejoy, Upen and so on, but having looked at the more including the demographics and Geographics of their customers, how many website hits and sales they get each month, what support they give to their businesses as well as accostings they became only one obvious choice ‘Allsubscriptionboxes’. The set up with easy and quick with a wonderfully simple user interface for sellers as well as customers, the customer service we received from Benjamin was second to none being so quick to respond as well as offering personalized ideas and recommendations for our gift subscription offering as well as how we can help tell our story and promote British commerce and independence. So with setup done we have to do some new images which we are actually in the midst of doing right now as well as some slide videos and other marketing assets. It is amazing the amount of people who will purchase a gift if it has good images compared to images that maybe not professional looking, and add to that some customer reviews and you have the real possibility of generating some consistently impressive sales.
'Cordelia's British Box'
So now I suppose it is not just time that will tell but where there are choices of products, packaging, platforms, are customer service and however marketing Tactics which I will go into in a minute a what will determine the success of what we now call ‘ Cordelia's British Box’. We have been approached by a staggeringly large amount of bloggers, social media influencers on all platforms as well as vloggers on platforms such as YouTube that wish to do box reviews as well as business reviews and interviews. This in itself took a fair amount of time to sift through all the applications to ensure that they would represent our brand and the British independence that we represent as well as ensuring they had a large enough target audience, and that audience was our target market and demographic.
So It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the newest offering from Cordelia’s house of Treasures, and that is Cordelia’s British Box. This new offering really does in body our Ethos of Supporting British brands, how can to get them in front of customers may have never known them and may become their new favourite brand as well as what we have only recently started to champion but have always known that British means quality and many people believe British means expensive. That may be the case with some brands as it is in any industry and country but our offerings do not have to cost an extortionate amount just because they are British and wonderful quality, and this is the message we wish to get out. Just looking at what you received in our first women's monthly gift subscription box if bought separately on the high street the combined recommended retail price is £25. Now the box only costs £10 and then £3.50 postage. So these really are the best affordable gift subscription boxes that give back. This means no petrol to going in around the busy crowd in High Street shops to find your gifts, these British designed gifts are delivered straight to your door as well as offering you exceptional quality they offer exceptional savings too.
The gift subscription boxes that give back
We really do want to be known as the affordable British gift subscription box that gives back. We do not just mean to the environment, but yes that is a big issue, but we mean by giving back to charities, communities, businesses, shops, employment and so much more. We already work with some amazing charities that help the homeless, the armed forces and Headway such as being active members of the Armed forces discount group and the blue light discount that offers reduced costs for the police, fire service, ambulance, nurses, HMP staff etc. But we aim to expand and make employment opportunities for people with SEN needs as this is a cause personally close to our hearts. We also want to give back to the amazing British gift designers and small independent British shops that we work with. Helping them by bringing their products to new markets. We do not need to create a monopoly in the gift subscription box market in the UK, as there is enough to go around and with the education of the message ‘support local businesses and commerce’ we can all thrive. Now add the uncertainty of Brexit into the mix and now is the time we need to support each other and look inwards to Britain.