I’m so excited to post this interview with Stacy Maxon from Out of the Box Camping! Stacy launched her subscription box business in January 2019 and is making up to $4,000 per month just 6 months later working part-time from home. She gives us some insight into how she has been able to build a successful subscription box business as a stay-at-home mom of 3!
If you have ever been interested is starting a business using the subscription box model, Stacy shares her best tips for launching and scaling for success.
Check out the interview for more information on making money from home by turning your passion into profit.
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1. Can you share your story and tell us how you got started with your subscription box business?
I launched by subscription box business in January 2019. I decided to stay home after our third child was born, but I wanted a way to make money from home. I researched starting my own business and came across the subscription box model, which seemed like a great way to earn recurring income. For those that don’t know what a subscription box is, let me tell you:
- A subscription box is a package that contains various curated items and is sent to the customer on a recurring basis.
- They can be sent on a monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly schedule.
- The contents of each package are usually a surprise but are based on a chosen theme.
- Businesses can choose to allow customization based on the customer’s preferences.
- Subscription boxes come in all different sizes from mailers to small (9x6x3) and large boxes (15x10x5).
- Subscription boxes are made for all types of interests including beauty, pet boxes, hobbies, self care, and more.
- Examples of popular subscription boxes include: FabFitFun, Ipsy, and Burch Box.
2. Did you get any sort of formal training on how to start your business? How did you learn the things you needed to know to be successful/profitable?
I have a general business degree, but I had no prior knowledge of the subscription box industry prior to launching. I did a lot of research to find out what I needed to know about the subscription box model. There are a lot of great resources including Facebook groups, blogs, and podcasts that shed light on this industry. My favorite is Subscription School.
3. Can anyone do this?
Yes, anyone can do this! The way a subscription box works is that you choose something you are passionate about and make a box around it. For me, it was camping. It’s something I have done my whole life and something we enjoy doing as a family. I researched competitors and found that there were no subscription boxes specific to the type of RV camping that we like to do, which is how my concept was born.
Once you have the concept, you can start to research products to purchase at wholesale. Wholesale costs are generally 50% of retail prices. Simply put, your profit comes from your subscription box price minus the products, packaging, and shipping costs.
4. How do you balance/manage your time running your business with motherhood?
I’m not going to lie; it can be very difficult. I have three kids ages 1, 5, and 9. I am a big fan of using Trello to stay organized and keep myself focused. I also save a lot of time by batching my social media content. I use a template I have in Canva to create multiple posts with pictures, quotes, and tips. I then download that content and schedule it with a social media scheduler. Buffer is great for when you are just starting out and is free!
Scheduling tools save a lot of time and stress and keep me from feeling like I must constantly be posting to social media. I also made the decision to seek help when needed. I wasn’t good with keeping my financial data up to date in Quickbooks, so I hired a bookkeeper to categorize everything for me. This frees up time for me to focus on other things that I am really good at.
5. What does a typical day look like for you? Give us some examples of common tasks you do on a daily basis to propel your business.
Each morning before the kids are awake, I start my day by getting as much work done on the computer as I can. This can include responding to emails from customers and vendors, researching and ordering new products, and updating my website. This is also when I would batch and schedule my social media as mentioned above.
During the day while the kids are at school, playing or napping, I can get tasks done like stamping, building, and packing boxes. I also take photos of the products when needed and can respond to social media comments throughout the day. Weekly, I make a trip to the post office to drop off boxes.
At night after the kids are in bed I try to get more computer work done where I will print labels for boxes, reach out to influencers, and continue work I didn’t finish that morning.
It can get hectic but is manageable. I started my subscription box as quarterly, so I am only having to make four boxes per year. If you decide to start with a monthly box, I would imagine the workload would be much harder to manage.
6. Where have you had the greatest success marketing your business?
I have had great success with social media, and most of the traffic to my website comes from Facebook. I also get a lot of sales through Cratejoy, a marketplace for subscription boxes.
Using influencers on YouTube and Instagram is also a great way to get your product seen. Next year I hope to start attending vendor events specific to my niche in order to connect and network locally.
7. What do you love about making money this way?
I love the creativity and flexibility is offers. You can choose to do a batch mailing and only ship boxes once per month/quarter or mail them as orders come in. It is great to be able to choose what works best for your schedule.
Since the box is built around my passion, I get to discover new products that I can test out doing what I love and then share those products and connect with others that love the RV life too.
8. Is this business scalable (ie can you start part-time and go full-time)? Is your income predictable?
Yes, this business is scalable. That is one of the best things about the subscription box model. You can start out small and grow your business as your subscribers increase. Also, since it is a re-occurring subscription, you can rely on the income coming in monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly (depending on how you choose to set up your subscription).
9. What specific steps does someone need to take to get started with their own subscription box business?
Here is a list of basics steps to get started with launching a subscription box business. You can get more detailed information in our free printable checklist.
- Choose your niche
- Determine pricing
- Make a prototype box
- Begin your prelaunch campaign
- Build your website
- Set up your business
10. What platform do you use to sell your subscription box?
I sell through my website, Out of the Box Camping, and I have a listing on Cratejoy. The other common subscription box platforms are Shopify and Subbly.
11. Any other tips for people who want to do what you do?
It’s best to start simple. Don’t overcomplicate the process or you will never get started. Complete a strong prelaunch campaign to get pre-sales, which will give you the capital you need to purchase the products and supplies for your first box.
Did you enjoy this interview with Stacy? Have you ever considered starting a business using the subscription box model?
Stacy Maxon is the Founder of Out of the Box Camping, a quarterly subscription box that helps RV enthusiasts discover products, gear, and community for their next RV adventure. Stacy is a mom of three and runs her subscription box business out of her home, allowing her more time with her family to travel and the flexibility of running her business from the road.