Surprise Box Club – Running a Subscription Box Business

What’s your business called?

Surprise Box Club

Can you describe it in one sentence

Surprise Box Club is an exciting crafty subscription box company whereby club members receive monthly vintage craft kits and exclusive jewellery kits.

When did you start it and what inspired you?

I plan to launch in time for Mother’s Day 2016 (6th March). I am a silversmith and already run my own jewellery business ( Making and selling small numbers of high end pieces of jewellery suited me while the children were very young and when my work times were dictated by very short nursery and playgroup hours, however now that they are 12, 10 & 7 I can commit and want to commit more time to my own business and I felt it was time to start something new. As part of my jewellery business I have also been teaching wirework classes to beginners and have absolutely loved this side of my business. I love the satisfaction of being able to share my crafting skills with others and this is what really inspired me to start Surprise Box Club. I am having a lot of fun creating all my craft and jewellery kits and filming the instructions. Crafts are having a real come back and it is a great way to switch off from a stressful day and can also be a lovely way to spend time with your tween/teen.

How did you fund your start up?

I don’t like borrowing money so I saved money from my jewellery business to put into Surprise Box Club. However, my budget is still quite tight! You need to prioritise. I decide that having a strong social media following should be my priority so this is something I am working on and I therefore chose to pay for one to one social media coaching. Apart from the coaching though, being active on social media is free!

How do you manage working around your children?

I always say that I am a full-time business owner and a full-time mum but I guess the maths for that doesn’t really add up! I work while they are at school and sometimes later in the evening. I also throw something to work on into my handbag and will do this while waiting for school to finish or at the leisure centre during a swimming lesson etc. It’s amazing how much you can get done! I also like to involve my children in my business. My son is a keen photographer so he helps me with my product photography. My middle daughter is outgoing so she helps me sell at fairs. And my youngest daughter created the most amazing stand out of Lego for me to prop my phone on at different angles when filming tutorials. Although my business is aimed at adults and/or older children they love trying out my craft kits.

Can you describe a typical day?

I start the day with my mummy hat on and am lucky that my husband is very hands on too. Mornings are chaotic and involve breakfasts, packed lunches, snacks, chucking ingredients into the slow cooker for our evening meal..…I’ve even been known to use the hairdryer to dry my son’s school jumper! I try my best but some things slip through the net! My working day fits around school so I start at 9:15 and finish around 3pm. I squeeze in an exercise class 2 to 3 times a week as I find this keeps me alert and focused. I start every day by checking and responding to emails. Then I work through my to do list. On Mondays I schedule all my social media posts for the week. I try to be disciplined and have a clear list of objectives for the day and the week ahead, but things crop up or children get ill so I need to be flexible. I try and take Fridays off to do some housework or meet a friend for coffee. I may sometimes do a little work in the evening but I’ll make sure that this is a bit of crafting while watching TV and enjoying a cuppa or a glass of wine!

What have you found hardest?

The fact that my To Do list keeps growing so I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed.
Finding it difficult to switch off. My business is all around me so sometimes I find it hard to stop.
I work from home so sometimes I get distracted. If I find I’m not feeling particularly focused and feel distracted by the pile of ironing then I will grab my paperwork and go to a café for a change of scene.
Not earning any money…yet! As I am in the pre-launch stage of my business I’m not yet earning any money but I’m very passionate about my business idea, and am feeling positive, focused and determined to make this work! It helps that I’ve been through this with my jewellery business so it’s a case of being patient.

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

Where do I start?! No commute; flexibility; I love spending time with my children whilst being able to focus on something for me; I am my own boss; I am passionate about my work; there are no office politics; when things are going right I feel a great sense of achievement; and the example that I am setting my children.

What are your plans for the future?

To launch for Mother’s Day and steadily grow the business. I am excited to see the direction my business takes me.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

Make sure you have a great brand and logo. Try and keep everything consistent by using a particular font/s and stick to a particular colour palette.
List your strengths and weaknesses. Then either book on to a course to improve your weak areas or get someone else to do that job (my husband does my finances).
Persevere, follow your dreams, seek opinions & feedback on your idea, don’t be afraid to make changes to your business model and direction, and make sure you find time to switch off from it all.

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