Listen To Episode 80 of The Hobby Hustler Show with Josh Bond
Josh Bond, Founder of Plate Crate
Being an avid baseball fan, Josh Bond found himself pondering on how to monetize his love for baseball. Josh started researching how to create a subscription box in 2014. In 2015, Josh put a simple concept together in the baseball niche, Plate Crate.
Today, Plate Crate is a monthly and quarterly subscription box for baseball gear.
The Roadmap on How To Create a Subscription Box
Before Josh Bond started Plate Crate, Josh was poor and was playing independent professional baseball. At the lowest level, he was earning $1000/month and lived off Tuna and Peanut Butter. Josh always had several side hustles and jobs on the side of playing baseball.
Was There a Need For This In The Market?
There definitely wasn’t a huge need in the world for a baseball subscription box, but at the same time, there wasn’t anything that existed at the time. Josh searched for a baseball subscription box and didn’t find anything on the market.
How To Source Products For Your Subscription Box
At the beginning of Josh’s journey, he did not have much supplier leverage. Josh had to come up with clever ways to make a great margin and offer unique products to the marketplace. To stand out, Josh searched for unique items that people had never heard of and gave training manuals on how to use them.
It was essentially professionally curated training items that you wouldn’t find at big box stores.
The Key On How To Create a Successful Subscription Box
There are two important factors when thinking about how to create a subscription box. The first is that you need to find a niche. You cannot offer a subscription box that has everything, for everyone. No one will buy it.
The second important factor is that you need to be passionate about the niche. When you’re passionate about it, you will have your own unique advantage that no other founder has. Josh Bond had a passion for baseball, and through that, he was always hanging out in those circles. This made the product curating much easier.
How To Pick a Niche For a Subscription Box
When choosing to enter a niche for a subscription box, you need to think about what you can do differently. Josh is a believer that every niche still has room for another subscription box, but some niches may require more creativity on being unique.
Ultimately, you want customers to refer your subscription box to other friends. It is good practice to think about what “viral” aspect you can include in your box to expand that word of mouth.
What Are The First Steps On How To Create a Subscription Box
You’re going to want to start building a community right away. Whether that be creating a community, engaging with others, or building an email list. Create a group of people who are interested in the same thing as your subscription box.
Josh Bond is now starting a soccer subscription box and a great way he is building an email list is through giveaways.
Example of Giveaways To Grow Your Email List
Josh Bond went on Amazon, bought a few soccer nets and training aids, and is running a giveaway through Facebook. Everyone who is interested in soccer training aids is most likely to love soccer and spend over $300 per year on it.
To enter the contest, you have to give Josh your email and subscribe to the list. When the time comes, he will have a list to launch too. Learn more on how to grow your email list.
When I do giveaways, I personally use King Sumo to manage them.
How Much Does It Cost To Start a Subscription Box?
In the beginning, you’re going to be doing everything yourself. It will not be passive, especially at the beginning. If you think it will be passive, the subscription business model is not best for you!
Ultimately, the cost is dependent on your products and if you will need warehousing. You can save money by packing and shipping the boxes yourself, rather than using an employee or third party.
Customer Service For Subscription Boxes
Customer service is one of the most underestimated time sucks that you will face when starting your subscription box business. People will email you with lots of different complaints, from not knowing their tracking number to not liking specific products. You need to find time to respond to them in a fast manner so that you can retain customers.
Having a poor customer experience is going to be the easiest way to eliminate word of mouth. Do not fall into this trap!
Branding For Your Subscription Box
Do not cheap out on branding and marketing for your subscription box. Josh credits his branding to one of the biggest factors for his success. As a new subscription box, you are going to be reaching out to suppliers constantly for samples and products.
The process of getting products from these companies is much easier if your branding looks professional and trustworthy. You don’t want to seem like a small fish in the big sea.
Plate Crate does a phenomenal job with branding their boxes, just take a look at their past crates!
Do Most Subscription Boxes Have The Same Box Sent To Everyone?
This is a common question most subscription box owners ask. If you give people the same box, then you are able to plan your profit margins and be more planned. However, it may also take a little pzazz out of the subscription box.
A common thing people do is create an introductory box. This will help you know your churn, introduce people to your box, and reduce your costs significantly.
Connect With Josh Bond
Instagram @PlateCrate and @JoshPlateCrate