18 Subscription Box Business Ideas You Can Try This Year
1. Immersive experience
Case study: Hunt A Killer
Revenue: $5million monthly
Hunt A Killer is an immersive murder mystery game told over the course of six “episodes” or boxes. Each box is filled with different clues and physical items such as autopsy reports, witness statements, and more. You’ll use these clues to solve the ongoing murder mystery. In the final episode you’ll be able to catch the killer!
Our monthly membership is $30.00 per month plus shipping, billed monthly. If you choose this plan, one Hunt A Killer season costs $180.00 in total, plus shipping. You can cancel your membership at any time.
When your box arrives, celebrate! You’re officially part of an exclusive community full of Hunt A Killer detectives just like you. First, set aside time to dig into the box and read all of the materials. Your goal may change each episode, but will be made clear by the included objective card.
Examine the evidence to uncover critical clues, corroborate alibis, create timelines, and identify each suspect’s means, motive, and opportunity. No two detectives work the case alike, so it’s up to you to figure out how to sift through the clues in a way that works best!
When you reach the end of a 6 episode season, you’ll be automatically moved on to our next murder mystery storyline and billed according to your subscription plan (if applicable).
2. Subscriptions for cannabis accessories
Michael Berk started Cannabox, which sells subscriptions for cannabis accessories.
Cannabis is a monthly themed subscription box for essential cannabis accessories. A box includes a glass piece, rolling papers, wraps, gear, snacks, and other accessories an everyday cannabis user needs. They also retail products online as well including their brand and other popular brands.
Much like Birchbox, BarkBox, and Manpacks, Cannabox sends subscribers a monthly package containing five to seven items. Cannabox's selections are of the cannabis-related variety, and can include anything from rolling papers to pipes and other novelties.
No, there's no actual marijuana in the boxes, due to federal regulations. But Berk said in an email that the master plan for Cannabox is that "WHEN marijuana becomes legal, we will approach every commercial grower in the country to provide samples for our boxes."
Cannabox formed in May, and launched publicly in early September. Berk said the service has been gaining 40 to 50 members per week, and that it currently has around 200 members with a 100% retention rate.
"Cannabox is geared towards not only the recreational user but we take great pride in providing the medical users their necessary smoking accessories that they may not be able to obtain on their own due their various conditions or help them discover new products that on their own may have not ever experienced," Berk said.
Cannabox costs $19.88 a month (plus shipping and handling), or $17.88 a month for a six-month subscription. The company currently does not ship to Pennsylvania and Iowa due to restrictions in those states, and members must be 18 or older.
Berk said the company was already profitable, and that he and his wife were funding the project themselves.
Cannabox is currently at an MRR of $350,000 and we have 11,000 subscribers to our box
3. Seafood delivery
Cameron Manesh started Cameron's Seafood, which sells seafood delivery.
Founded in 1985 by brothers Allen and Bijan Manesh, Cameron’s is the largest fresh seafood retailer in the state of Maryland. And if you know Maryland seafood, you know that it’s all about the blue crab. Cameron’s crabs are delivered straight from the Chesapeake Bay every morning, and they’re shipped steamed with a secret seasoning blend and ready to eat.
Cameron’s sells an astonishing 75,000 bushels of crab every year, so they’re clearly on to something here. Find out for yourself what’s kept this family-run business going strong for more than 30 years.
4. Craft spirits membership
Mack McConnell started Taster’s Club, which sells craft spirits membership.
The company provides a monthly subscription-based service that offers a box of limited-edition spirits from 11 categories of whiskey, scotch, gin, tequila, rum, vodka and champagne, which is curated to include information about the select bottle, accompanied with instructional material for making suggested craft cocktails, providing spirits enthusiasts a fully immersive and enjoyable drinking experience.
5. Hangover supplement
Eddie Huai started Flyby, which sells hangover supplements.
Your friends are all gearing up for a night of sipping wine and catching up, and while you want to say yes, the fact that you have an early day the following morning and are prone to hangovers is holding you back. You're not alone, and that's why Eddie Huai, founder of Flyby, created a pill to help prevent a hangover. Yes, you read that right. No more headaches. No more nausea.
Well, "this whole thing started when I took a trip to Japan, a place known for it's partying ways," begins Huai. "I was getting drinks with friends, and one of them suggested taking a Japanese hangover pill. I tested it thoroughly and surprisingly enough, I woke up feeling great which never happens. I found myself talking alcohol science over the phone with a Ph.D. & M.D., and it became clear to me that DHM was not only powerful but had real market potential. So, I spent a year developing my own formula around DHM, and Flyby was born."
6. Local gifts nationwide
Samuel Davidson started Batch, which sells local gifts nationwide.
We don't create any of our own products; instead, we purchase items from hundreds of small company owners and makers around the southern United States. But that means we're always on the lookout for what's new and exciting in terms of what others are creating.
If you’re a fan of exclusives and coffees you won’t find anywhere else, then Batch may be the best fit. A customer describes it as “When our coffee team encounters extraordinary coffees, they set aside just enough to share with others who might appreciate an incredible cup. Each month you’ll be one of the few to experience a different limited release coffee”
7. Healthy meal plan delivery ($130K/month)
Andrei Calinescu started One Life Meals, which sells healthy meal plan delivery.
They are one of the leading Canadian providers of meal subscription boxes. Operating in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), they provide residents with complementary and customizable meal subscription box plans that are healthy, affordable, and suitable for everyone. They craft meals made from delicious recipes, use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and then deliver them right to your doorstep.
Their meal subscription box plan is here to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle, all while not having to spend any time worrying about cooking, cleaning or taking time away from their other stuff. They help you create the perfect healthy eating plan and take care of all the work for you.
8. Loose leaf tea
Andy Hayes started Plum Deluxe Tea, which sells loose leaf tea.
It’s about tea, but not as you know it.
It’s about flavor, variety, shared experiences, conversation, the taste and freshness of tea, trading community in-jokes and tea puns, and about taking people from different social and economic spectrums and bringing them together with one unique interest, to create a community of people who all have one thing in common - tea.
9. Life-changing scents
Danielle Vincent started Outlaw, which sells life-changing scents.
Outlaw Soaps is a company for adventurous people, by adventurous people. The founders, Russell and Danielle Vincent, launched the company on March 15th, 2013, and live like the products they make: they love the campfire, whiskey, and other adventurous activities. Outlaw Soaps' mission is abiding and abetting love and cleanliness with their soap products. It is a way to connect yourself with happy memories, good places, inspiring environments, and to remind you to live your best life. All of their scents are designed to get you outside and remind you that "your daily grind is not the grind of your life."
10. Baby products subscription box
Charles Carette started Bambox, which sells baby products subscription boxes.
Revenue: $60,000 per month
They started from scratch in July 2017 and had to evangelize a community of parents in a country where eCommerce, even in Consumer Packaged Goods, is not really trusted.
They were shipping more than 1.100 boxes a month and have an MRR of $60,000 or forecast an ARR of around $750,000 for 2019. Now the sky is their limit
11. Vape Juices online shop
Jeremy Ong started Vape Club, which sells vape juices online shop.
Vape Club was born out of a desire to provide an informative and efficient online shopping experience for smokers looking to make the switch to vaping. They understand that vaping may seem like a confusing world of acronyms and geeky toys; since day one they made it their mission to help educate consumers with simple-to-digest information and a well-curated range of products that they know you can trust.
At Vape Club they pride themselves on having not only the largest online range in the UK but also the best-curated choice of vape products. From the most basic starter kits to the most complicated mods, from the simplest single flavor liquids to the most complex blends of premium juice - and everything in between! Every product they stock goes through a strict due diligence process to ensure it is of the highest quality and safety. They don't stock products they wouldn't be happy to use themselves.
12. Gourmet Coffee Subscription
Jon Butt started Blue Coffee Box, which sells gourmet coffee subscription.
Real coffees taste as varied as wine. They have hints of flavors from fruit and floral to chocolate and nuts. Different countries produce totally different coffees and it takes a specialist roaster to bring out the real flavor. It’s like comparing restaurant food to a microwave meal - that’s where Blue Coffee Box comes in, to provide real coffee for coffee lovers.
Blue Coffee Box is a specialty coffee subscription club, offering beans or ground coffee hand-roasted by the UK's best. Letterbox-friendly, free worldwide
“A few years ago in the USA, I read an article about a coffee company that had been on Shark Tank. Their coffee subscription-style was not available over here and it was a little frustrating. We used that as the model and Blue Coffee Box was born.
Blue Coffee Box brings that all together in a letterbox-friendly box.”
13. Healthy Breakfast
Ashley Drummonds started ABS Protein Pancakes, which sells healthy breakfast foods.
Revenue: $25,000 per month
Ashley Drummonds resorted to exercise to regain her confidence after going through several major life adjustments at once, including quitting her job and getting divorced. Her commitment to living a healthy lifestyle inspired her to develop a protein-rich pancake batter mix in 2014, which she converted into a business called Abs Protein Pancakes. She received an offer from Daymond John on “Shark Tank” a year later and the business has been growing ever since!
14. Fabric and Fabric Subscriptions
Alanna Banks started Fridays Off Fabric Shop, which sells fabric and fabric subscriptions.
Fridays Off Fabric Shop is an online fabric shop that carries premium cotton designer fabrics for the modern quilter, home decorator, and budding sewer.
“It all started when I noticed a serious void in Canadian-owned online fabric shops. There are so many online shops based in the US but the shipping fees are expensive and no one likes getting dinged at the door with duty. So, I decided to start my own!
What I love most about running this shop is the community of sewers. I really listen to my customers, I'm interested in what they are making and I love offering more contemporary fabrics and getting long-time quilters out of their comfort zones.
I want my shop to be your shop.” - Hearts!
15. Cigar Subscription
Michael Arciola III started Southern Cigar Co, which sells cigar subscription service.
Southern Cigar Co was founded in 2015 to connect cigar lovers around the world with nothing but the best smokes. They knew going into a cigar shop and selecting a stick could be a daunting task, so they set out to develop a concept that allowed all cigar smokers a way to try new and amazing cigars without worry.
Since their launch in 2015, they have discovered hundreds of new cigars and shipped thousands of cigars all over the world. Southern Cigar Co was the first online cigar subscription box and today continues to be the industry leader in monthly cigar subscriptions.
16. Tint books subscription
David Dewane started Mouse Book Club, which sells tiny books.
The Mouse Book Club is a quarterly book club of portable books that link human experiences across generations, languages, and cultures. The Mouse editors carefully curate selections of literature, short stories, speeches, poetry, and more, all structured around themes that are topical, challenging, and varied.
"What we do at Mouse is real simple. We make cell phone-sized physical books. The core observation of the company is that basically the smartphones have trained people to read constantly, but what are you really reading? Are you reading social media or online journalism, something relatively repetitive, something that you're not going to really remember? Instead, we took this kind of passport format, passport sized format, and we take great works of literature, we just put it in that, and then we sell them by subscription." - David.
17. Gourmet food boxes
Nicholas Figoli started EatTiamo, which sells gourmet food box.
They are a team of food lovers based in Italy and New York on the continuous hunt for undiscovered Italian food products. They have a network of more than 100 producers. They hand pack all their food boxes carefully in Italy and send them directly to their client's doorstep in the USA, with all the recipes to cook a full meal for 4 people like an Italian Chef. EatTiamo was founded in 2015 and today 3000 American Families have already tried their food baskets and their work has been recognized in the Wall Street Journal.
18. Candy Surprise Boxes
Bemmu Sepponen started Candy Japan, which sells candy surprise boxes.
"I was in Finland on vacation with a friend, and we started brainstorming ideas about projects we could do online. I had heard about this new site called Birchbox, or possibly another one of the early subscription services, where instead of ordering specific products you would just subscribe and random stuff would start appearing in your mailbox.
It was after we moved to Japan the “recurring surprises” idea came up. With a recurring service, I wouldn’t have the issue of buying something that I’d be unable to sell, as I could know in advance exactly what I need to stock. I could also batch shipments, so I wouldn’t necessarily have to visit the post office every single weekday. And then came to life Candy Japan" - Bemmu
Creating a subscription offering is easy; simply install the Chargezen subscription management app. Chargezen is a Shopify subscription management app that enables brands to sell recurring products, build custom subscription boxes, gain insights into their data, and more to create an incredible experience for their customers! From CRMs, automation, accounting tools, invoicing to tax management; Chargezen integrates with all the apps you’re currently using and constantly adds support for more.
And while merchants who add subscription products typically see a 25% increase in revenue, Chargezen customers also see a 45% decrease in churn, thanks to their churn bursting algorithm.
The best part is; Chargezen not only has a free plan for you, they also charge less than 1% per subscription product unlike their competitors, needless to say, their developers will also take care of the installation for you. So, whether you’re adopting a subscription app for the first time or looking for an economic and comprehensive solution as a Marchant, switching to Chargezen will not only save you on average 50% in third-party apps spent an overage charge, you will also enjoy free SMS-self service among many other customer-friendly integrations to ease shopping, enable your end-users/customers edit or cancel subscription and receive various upsell features so you can spend less on marketing.
If you have questions or need assistance with launching your subscription box ideas, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You might also like...
MULTIPLE STORES AND MULTI-CURRENCY SETUP ON SHOPIFY PLUS
While both Multi-store & Multi-currency options are a great upgrade to the Shopify Plus platform, each one has its advantages over the other
INTRODUCTION TO SHOPIFY PLUS AND PRICING
In this article, we look at the baseline cost and all the expenses involved in switching to Shopify Plus