I think care packages are making a comeback.
The other day I received a shoe box from Aileen. Aileen owed me money. But she didn’t just send an envelope with a check, she packaged up a bag of her home-made granola, some out-of-this-world home-dried peaches, gummy bears, animal cookies, a favorite shade of lipstick and three new pairs of underwear because, as she said, couldn’t we all use some pretty, new underwear, but when do we ever buy it for ourselves? It made my week!
Then I started thinking– why do I scramble around at the last minute always looking for birthday/mother’s day/ father’s day, etc gifts? Wouldn’t it be nicer to start a little collection of things as I see them and they remind me of you, then package them up and send them off any old Wednesday afternoon? Is it really more delightful to get something on your birthday when people are required to remember you, or might it be nice to get something just because they care? Hence the care package.
Then, the other evening I went to what some entrepreneurial girl friends and I refer to as our Ladies Power Dinner. One of my friends had this amazing idea to start a business that’s essentially a care package subscription she calls Umba Box. You can get a subscription for yourself, or for a friend or, if you happen to be a thoughtful but inept husband-type, get it sent to your office and then bring the goodies home to your wife like you hand-picked them yourself. I discovered that home delivery subscriptions are making a big splash. You can read about them here– or I can just summarize the article from Mashable Business by listing off ones that stood out to me from the top 20:
My top 10 from the Top 20 Home Delivery Subscriptions:
1. Kiwi Crate: If you have kids, think of Kiwi Crate as a gift for them and a gift for yourself. Each month your child receives a box with a crafts project appropriate to their age. The contents of the box will entertain them for hours, hopefully throughout the 30 days until the next delivery arrives. You’ll be a super parent while providing your kids with genuinely cool activities. An equally suitable option is the Babba Box.
2. Citrus Lane: If you have a slightly younger child or a newborn, you definitely need to check out Citrus Lane, a service that sends you things you really need month by month. Whether it’s bath time essentials for your one-month-old or teething toys for your six-month-old, they’ve got you covered.
3. Quarterly Co: Quarterly is a newcomer to the subscription scene with a very different concept. In this service, you subscribe to tastemakers like Maria Popova of Brain Pickings or Michael Karnjanaprakorn of SkillShare, and each quarter you’ll receive a gift of their choosing. Judging by the quality of curators the site offers, I think the gifts will be pretty special.
4. Art in a Box: Art In A Box will send you original works of art each month. Decorate your apartment with new styles and images that you never knew would appeal to you. Maybe you’ll be inspired to make your own masterpieces.
5. Foodzie: Foodzie has become the Etsy of food, a global marketplace for individuals who cook up deliciousness in their own kitchens and then sell it to the world. Each month Foodzie sends you a box of goodies that will open your eyes to the wonderful delicacies of semi-professional cuisine.
6. Steepster: For those with a more floral palette, Steepster offers hand-selected artisanal teas to enjoy over a good book or BBC radio broadcast. If you’re more of a coffee drinker, try Intelligensia Coffee.
7. Birchbox: BirchBox was one of the first major companies to offer this kind of service. An amazing gift for that special woman in your life, the box contains sample sizes of everything from mascara to lip balm to the occasional edible treat. The product choices so far have been exceptional.
8. Turntable Kitchen: A very niche offering indeed, Turntable Kitchen pairs food and music in its monthly delivery service.
9. Just the Right Book: For that bookworm everyone knows, Just The Right Book will choose books based on a person’s exact tastes, while introducing her to new authors and stories as well.
and of course, my favorite
10. Umba Box: If Etsy offered a monthly subscription box, our guess is that it would resemble Umba Box. Umba chooses the wares of crasftsmen and craftswomen countrywide to bring you a selection of unique gifts.
Here are two up for honorable mention because, while I don’t think their model would be as good for a gift idea, I still think it’s pretty cool!
Trunk Club: If you’re a guy, you probably find shopping for clothes very difficult, and more than likely, you don’t have as good a sense of style as you might think. Trunk Club serves as your remote personal stylist. After a short “interview,” which may include a Skype look-see and a perusal of your Facebook photos, your personal stylist will send you a box of outfits to try on. You simply keep and pay retail for whatever you like (Trunk Club does not charge a fee), and send back what you can’t pull off.
Cake Style: For the longest time there wasn’t a decent female alternative to the Trunk Club, but now we have CakeStyle. The process works similarly — this service can keep busy executives or full-time moms looking their best all year round.