Premium honey, indie magazines, jewellery — by delivering pretty much anything you want every month, these outfits help you celebrate the art of giving to yourself. By Aakanksha Devi
Place of Origin: Bengaluru
USP: Delivering healthy snacks to your doorstep
When the former head of marketing, Ola, Vinayak Mehta and marketing executive of Hindusthan Unilever, Ankita Mendiratta Mehta, start something, you can be rest assured it’ll be innovative. And that is exactly what the duo did with Snackosaur, touted to be India’s first snack subscription portal. “Ankita had a hectic, travel-based job and that meant skipping meals, or eating something unhealthy on-the-go. I had a sedentary lifestyle, and that meant eating junk while sitting at the desk. When we spoke to friends, most of us wanted to get rid of the cycle of unhealthy eating habits and we found that the bulk of the blame lies with snacks, that we consume unthinkingly,” says Mehta. Thus, in the end of 2014, Snackosaur was born with the aim of redefining snacking in India by making it ‘healthy, fun and delicious’.
Originally servicing only Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, they now have a presence in all cities across the country, offering dry snacks. “We curate a box and fill it with five goodies for you. It is delivered every fortnight so you’ll never run out of munchies,” he shares, adding that there is always a little surprise element to the box. “We have some never-before snacks such as strawberry wasabi peas, broad beans, roasted edamame, jalapeno peanuts and dried fruit mixes to give you a hint as to what you could expect,” he tells us, emphasising that anyone who is bored of the same old unhealthy, mundane chips, biscuits and bhujia, is their target.
One month subscription (two boxes) is Rs.598. Details: snackosaur.com
Place of origin: Mumbai
USP: Pampering ladies every month with necessities and surprises
Reflecting on the exact meaning of ‘necessity is the mother invention’, Rashi Bajaj created Being Juliet, a unique portal launched with the sole objective of pampering ladies during their monthly cycle. “I am a working woman and with work, relations, house and social commitments, I used to often forget my period dates. As a result, I had to request my husband or make the extra trip to the pharmacy to get my supplies,” begins Bajaj, adding, “it is a draining phase (and PMS is for real, men!) and I’d often think how nice it would be if someone just remembered my dates and sent me my brand right before.” And so after waiting around for ‘five years for that miracle to happen’, Bajaj decided to start Being Juliet and launched it in January this year. Solving two problems with one stone, the portal will send you exactly what you need, five days before your cycle begins every month. And the second problem? “Until men get around to pampering (women) and understanding PMS, we send all our Juliets small thoughtful gifts and pain comforters,” she says.
With most subscribers from Bangalore and Hyderabad, Bajaj explains that it is perhaps because the IT industry keeps women busy.
They deliver a box in which all your sanitary needs come beautifully packaged. You can pick your own box to include 20 pieces of pads, tampons and liners from your preferred brand. It also contains handpicked gifts including earrings, duppattas and, bangles. Plus, soothing herbal teas, handmade soaps and even pot pourri to add cheer to the office desk. Currently, Bajaj has over 400 subscribers, but what she is more happy about, apart from that number increasing, is that the retention rate is well above 50 per cent, “That is great motivation. And with the way industry is changing, it is difficult to predict where we’ll be in five years. However, I’d consider ourselves lucky if we can better the retention rate and reach 5,000 subscribers within a year,” she signs off.
The Little Bauble Box
Place of Origin: Mumbai
USP: India’s first and only jewellery subscription service
Nothing beats opening a box and finding jewellery in it. And we don’t mean Fagin-style from Oliver Twist, but the classy sophisticated sort which Sakshi Tikiya, a software engineer-turned-entrepreneur, claims to offer through her latest venture, The Little Bauble Box (TLBB). Her first creation, StylishPlay.com, a marketplace for buying and selling pre-loved fashion, and her love for applying new and different social media strategies into the marketing, and of course her stronger love for fashion accessories gave rise to TLBB, apparently India’s first jewellery subscription service. “I have admired Rent The Runway (USA) for the longest time for the simple service that helps you add glamour to your regular looks with the latest, most trendy and extremely expensive merchandise without having to break the bank. That was the initial seed for TLBB,” shares Tikiya, elaborating that they’re a slightly different kind of subscription service.
Being a girly girl, she found it hard to not splurge on expensive accessories, but then when she’d spend most of her earnings on them, she wondered about renting them out. After ground work and a soft launch in March, she officially started TLBB. “Once you subscribe to TLBBox, you are required to take a style quiz which gives us an insight into your personal style and likes and helps our stylists pick out pieces you would like,” she says. But there’s a twist to this method. While most will stick to sending you only what they know you’ll like, Tikiya’s team will help you experiment. “What we do is along with the kind of pieces you like, we also pick out pieces that we think you can experiment with. Our service gives our users a chance to rediscover their personal style using a fresh perspective,” says the entrepreneur, who in two months, has already garnered 1,000 and counting subscriptions. A curated selection of three pieces of jewellery will be hand-delivered. You are meant to wear them to your heart’s content, and when you are ready for a new set of baubles, they’ll pick up the old one, and you’ll receiver another box in return!
While only servicing Mumbai at the moment, the next two months will see TLBB expand to cities including Bangalore and Chennai.
Rs.1,999 for the monthly box.
Place of origin: Mumbai
USP: Offers indie magazines from across the globe in a subscription format
When Mumbai-based corporate lawyer, Nupur Joshi decided to take a sabbatical from work in mid 2013, she discovered the world of niche, indie magazines. “It’s no [sic] mere psychobabble – sabbaticals do really help you to discover some awesome stuff. Once I had a taste of these magazines, I was eager to introduce them to other people who I knew shared my interest in reading prints,” Joshi says. Procuring these magazines was no mean feat since most of them are not available in India. Also the cost of shipping individual copies was prohibitively high. Thus came the idea of setting up an independent magazine subscription service.
Paper Planes, launched in November 2014, offers print magazines from independent publishers from across the world — from New York to Berlin and Beirut to Kosovo, and includes genres such as food, culture, lifestyle, fashion and more. “These magazines do not just have intelligent content but a distinct visual identity, too. There is a lot of experimentation with design, which makes them beautiful,” Joshi says.
Interested parties can subscribe to Paper Planes on their website, where they will receive one new magazine a month from a stack of genres that they choose. You can also opt for the Surprise Me option, where a genre will be picked for you and delivered. Currently three subscription plans are on offer — a monthly rolling one (`1,000), a nine-month (`8,550 for nine issues) and 18-month (`18,000 for 18 issues) one. Till date, Joshi’s venture has sent out magazines such as The Gentlewoman, a UK-based magazine with a fresh and intelligent perspective on fashion, according to her, Gather Journal, a food magazine from the US and Little White Lies, an indie film magazine from the UK, among others. They have also recently gone live with their online store where you can directly buy select interesting reads and special editions from indie publishers.
If you love getting a surprise in the mail each month, then it is likely that you’re already a fan of subscription commerce – the latest marketing format after online retail, which delivers everything from food and toys, to beauty products and magazines on subscription. But for India, it really is nothing new we are told, as the country has always run on a subscription format, be it cable TV or your local fish vendor. “We’re already quite familiar with the subscription model – for newspapers and even milk in this country. But add the growing popularity of e-commerce to subscription and it becomes a revolution waiting to hit India,” says Vinayak Mehta, whose knowledge in marketing led him to start Snackosaur, a healthy snacking box subscription format in the city. All eyes are on the burgeoning e-commerce industry in the country worth $13.5 billion in 2014, and expected to easily cross $16 billion this year. And clearly the niche subscription model too is growing, so much so that even online giants Flipkart recently launched Flipkart First which saw ‘subscribers’ get free and one-day delivery. With pioneers such as Fab Bag and MyEnvyBox in the beauty department and Bake Box from Delhi leading the culinary brigade, it is evident that this kind of a business model is sustainable and profitable, and here to stay.
Schedule a surprise
Carefully curated to spice up your relationship status with edible lingerie, body paint, candles, and personalised games among others.
This monthly box contains four to five hands-on projects promoting early child development
and learning in a fun way.
The Gourmet Box
Pick from various boxes containing ingredients themed according to cuisines such
as Middle Eastern and Thai.
With things like the STEAM box (Science, Technology, Art and Mathematics), Inventors boxes for computer programming, and Robo-tronics boxes, this is an all round package for kids. Details: avishkaarbox.com
Eatelish offers spices, masalas, tea, coffee and honey among others. Look out for their boxes packed in with regional flavours from Jharkhand, Kerala, Rajasthan and more. Details: eatelish.com
Under the Mango Tree
The Bee Box offers single origin, flora honey in a subscription format, and not only makes for a thoughtful gift but is also an indirect contribution to agricultural growth and productivity.
The Wine Society of India
The society’s subscription offer includes enhancing your wine knowledge, getting introduced to wineries around the world, and even having carefully selected wines from across the globe delivered at your doorstep.