If we could sneak a peek onto your average girl boss’s goal list for 2019, we’d bet a big chunk of them would have “start a subscription box” on there somewhere. The subscription box game has easily become one of the coolest industries for entrepreneurs to step into. Shoppers find a niche they love — whether that’s hair, makeup, or even vegan snacks — and companies like The Vitamin M Box deliver (literally).
With the “M” standing for “melanin,” they commit to giving exposure to indie brands through a monthly curation of finds that black women will love. They’ve partnered with a number of established names including The Luv Scrub, Satin Lined Caps, and Mess In A Bottle to name a few.
We spoke to Kerry Croft, the creator of The Vitamin M Box, on everything from getting started to self-care. She keeps it honest about customer retention, late nights, and balancing it all with a 9-to-5 and a 3-year-old. Keep reading.
The Vitamin M Box Gives The Scoop On Running A Subscription Business
What is The Vitamin M Box?
The Vitamin M Box is a monthly subscription box service that’s curated with products in different industries produced by people of color. M stands for Melanin.
Can you describe a typical day running a subscription box?
Being that I have a 9-5 as well, I find myself multi-tasking throughout the day. My typical day is looking for Black-owned businesses on social media and corresponding with businesses that I would want to collaborate with. This helps me plan out my months ahead. I post on social media (marketing your brand is non-stop—the gift of social media!). Then at night after I put my son to bed, I’m back at it.
I’m always searching for new businesses. The middle of the month is when I ship, so I’m drafting my subscriber letters and shipping labels. On the night before shipping, I’m up to the wee hours boxing
How was the launch process? Did you do a lot of research beforehand or was it a lot of trial-and-error?
I did do a bit of research beforehand as far as subscription box basics, but a lot of it is still trial and error (LOL!) I had a lot of help with my launch as far as my branding. Thanks to The Sax Agency (based in LA), they helped me with my site, logo, marketing material templates, and sponsorship deck.
The most difficult part of running my business is pricing. Since I’m still 100% self-funded, I have a set max on what I can afford as far as wholesale. Shipping costs are my absolute biggest challenge and being this is a subscription box, I’m estimating the number of subscribers a month ahead. During that month, I can lose subscribers (which is just part of the business), so that means I could have overbought a number of items for that month. So I’ve had to get creative in ways to recoup some of that loss.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment is being highlighted in the 2017 In Her Shoes holiday gift guide (I just love Renae Bluitt and her passion for empowering Black Women), and also being written up in XONecole’s “9 Subscription Boxes catering to WOC.”
What advice would you give aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Write down every idea you have because it makes it easier to devise your plan, be strategic and deliberate with your business goals, move forward with tunnel vision and keep mum about your ideas. You don’t want a lot of opinions to cloud your path. Be transparent. As long as you’re authentically you, people will follow your brand. Lastly, BE PATIENT! Success definitely doesn’t happen overnight.
What are your top three self-care methods?
I honestly have to get better at this because my 3-year-old is running me ragged LOL! But my top self-care methods is when I get to run to the nail shop or hair salon to escape for a couple of hours, a good face mask (My go-to is Eve Milan The
What do you want people to know about your business?
The Vitamin M box is inclusive of both Black and Brown businesses (Black, Hispanic, Native American). Every 3rd month is our Pay It Forward month, where we donate 10% of our proceeds to a charity/non-profit that aids in the building and uplifting of our black and brown communities.
I have now added two marketing packages for new small businesses which allows them to get their products or brand name out to my subscribers on a national level. I am also launching original Vitamin M merchandise and our What Seat? mugs are our first item that’s available for sale. We will be branching out in other areas so I can show love to businesses that can’t be fit in a box.
How do you conquer feelings of self-doubt? What do you do when you feel like giving up?
I like to dig into stories of women that are on similar paths as me to keep me inspired. When I feel like giving up, I look to my family who
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