Why We’re Not a Subscription Box

I hope everyone is having a lovely Monday morning. It was nice and chilly when I left for work, today, and it’s not even supposed to get too hot, either! That nip in the air definitely makes it easier to think about Christmas card making and all the other holiday fun.

But onto today’s topic: why isn’t the Creative Mischief Kit available as a subscription box?

Not for lack of trying, let me tell you!

I had a few kit ideas in mind when I was planning to open The Crafty Branch as a brick and mortar store, but it wasn’t the main focus of my business at that point. When I shifted the plan to start with the kits, I sat down and dreamed up a dozen kits–themes, techniques, potential includes, etc.–before I was okay with going forward.

Creating them as a subscription box was a very real possibility. After all, I love subscription boxes and the idea of getting something fun and new in the mail each month, why wouldn’t I want to create one of my own?!

Two reasons:

  1. Varying kit costs.
  2. Disappointment avoidance.

When I looked at the kit options I’d brainstormed and started to cost them out, the second kit showed a major pitfall: whereas one kit was $50 in supplies (retail), the other kit was coming in at $110! Subscription boxes depend on a set, recurring price and while I could, of course, change the options in each box, I really didn’t like having to scale a higher-value kit down so far as to be almost useless, or adding a bunch of extra chaff to a lower-cost kit to bring it up in value. Some skills and techniques are cheaper to learn, others might have a higher price of entry. It felt more honest to just take it one kit at a time, and have them cost what they cost, rather than having to shoehorn them into a particular price point.

Another hallmark of a subscription box is the surprise element. That works fabulous for product samples, edibles, and handmade items. But when I really thought about what the Creative Mischief Kits are trying to accomplish–encourage creative exploration and help people find new hobbies by teaching creative skills and techniques–how would I feel, as a recipient, if I received a box full of things I already owned or had no interest in. I know I don’t like to feel like I’ve wasted my money, so I wanted to avoid anyone else feeling that way by being very up front about what’s in each kit so that the recipient has less of a chance at being disappointed.

Buying inventory on the chance each kit sells (the non-subscription model) is a risk, but it’s one I’m willing to take to ensure, as much as I can, that you are happy with your purchase.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Well, folks, there’s certainly been a bit of a buzz in the air about the Creative Mischief Kits! They were spotted at a recent First Friday in Thomasville, where I know we made at least one new friend and list-subscriber!


News on the Next Kit

This is where I get real, folks.

I honestly thought that the hardest part would be getting those first kits ready to go. After all, not only did I have to source and assemble the kits, but I had to make a website, set up the shopping cart, make sure my tax ducks* were all in their rows, and pretty much start from scratch. And I did it on time, on budget, it was the stuff entrepreneurial dreams are made of. The next kits would be a breeze compared to this, right?


It started well. I knew what the next kit was going to focus on and had my order placed with the distributor September 9th. I mocked-up some non-kit-specific samples while I waited for the order to arrive to make sure the process I’ll be sharing with you is sound. We were rolling right along and then the order arrived.


Cue the backorders, shortages, and the mania of the shifting pre-order estimated arrival date. AAARRGH!

But, hey, I’m resourceful and smarter than your average bear, and have a second distributor account lined up for just these sorts of emergencies. I placed a fill-in order and life was good. Except for these 3 packs of paper that are literally on a slow boat from China (and that’s the literal literally, not the modern usage literally). They were due into the warehouse 2 weeks ago (as of this writing) and I’m patiently (okay, mostly patiently) waiting for the word that they’ve arrived at the distributor and we’ll be able to continue with our plans as intended. If they don’t arrive soon, though, I’ll have to approve a replacement order and I really don’t want to have to substitute when the MIA papers are just so perfect. But needs must, and the kits must go on!

So what’s so special about those 3 packs of paper? I suppose nothing, really, in the grand scheme of the universe. But in the sense that coordinating card stocks and inks have already been purchased to go with, from a business stand-point it’s kind of key that they show up. The alternatives I’ve found will work, and the only ones who’ll know are you, me, and the fence post, but still. I wait and hope.

It all comes down to choices, really. And not just the choices I make as I put these kits together, but the choices I want to offer you.

The next kits are Christmas themed. (And, yes, I’m one of those people who sneer at the Christmas decorations leap-frogging over 1-2 holidays each year, so it pains me a little to promote a Christmas kit before Halloween. But I have a good reason, or so I keep telling myself.) Not only are they Christmas themed, they are Christmas card-themed. That’s right, the next kits are going to help you put together your Christmas cards before December even gets here, by giving you the papers, envelopes, cutting diagrams, and adhesives to make 20 cards. Not only that, the technique that’s included in this kit is a stencil and 3 different ways to use it (ink & daubers, dry embossing, and texture paste) opening up a near-infinite number of ways to personalize the cards.

But I know not everyone goes for the traditional Christmas color scheme of red, green, and gold. So in addition to the Classic Christmas CPR (that stands for Cards Prepared & Ready) kit, we’ll also have a Winter Whimsy CPR kit with a more modern palette of pink, blue, and silver, too! And it’s the pink & blue patterned card stocks that are holding things up!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek behind the curtain of what it takes to put together the Creative Mischief kits.