Whether it’s shoes, groceries or razors, subscription box services are on the rise. People are snubbing the in-store experience and turning to goods and services that they can receive in their mailbox or pick up from their doorstep after work.
In February 2018, Kapriskie Mack, owner of The 901 Box, joined the pool of online subscription services, marketing Memphis and the city’s local businesses as a must-have experience.
“Every box has something to taste, touch, see and smell. I try to engage all of your senses to help you really experience our city,” she said.
Mack, 35, has partnered with approximately 30 local businesses to produce her $45 boxes. Each is filled with an average of 10-12 items with a $250 total value. The items are always different to give businesses fair exposure.
While the 901 Box is her staple, she has also done themed boxes for Mother’s Day and is working on one for Father’s Day. All boxes are delivered around the 15th of every month.
So far Mack has sold more than 200 boxes, but word-of-mouth advertising has landed her opportunities making specialty boxes for events and gift boxes for visiting celebrities.
The boxes can be purchased individually or monthly online at the901box.com. Each is hand painted with the Memphis skyline by local artist Jade Miller, Mack’s long-time friend.
Miller, a graphic artist for the past two decades, said he was happy to help his friend design her logo and turn the boxes into a work of art.
Inspired by her love of gift giving and community outreach, Mack said the idea to start The 901 Box brewed for a while. She has 15 years of nonprofit experience and two master’s degrees – one in divinity and one in public administration.
As she grew her contacts in the community, friends and family were constantly asking her where she bought things such as perfumes, jewelry and food. She found a way to launch her business while helping other entrepreneurs.
“The whole point is it is to get locally-made items into the hands of locals and visitors. Many times people don’t know we have all of these unique businesses right here in the city,” she said.
“For example, there’s a young lady that makes non-toxic fingernail polish, a popcorn company that was started because the owner’s son has high-functioning autism and was having trouble securing jobs. There are all kinds of things in (The 901 Box) – discounts to the spa, things about the city, stickers – all kinds of things.”
Mack loves partnering with businesses that have a strong focus on social enterprise.
“My model is a social-enterprise model because it gives back to our neighborhoods and artists,” she said. “If all of these businesses can become global brands, that means more economic opportunity for our city.”
More than 5,000 consumers participated in a November 2017 survey sent by McKinsey&Company, a global management consulting firm. According to its February 2018 report, “Thinking inside the subscription box: New research on e-commerce consumers,” 15 percent of online shoppers subscribed to an e-commerce service over the past year.
The study also revealed that subscription e-commerce has grown more than 100 percent a year for five years, with sales increasing from $57 million in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016.
Mack has several ideas for the future of her company, including working with some of the makers in Memphis.
“I’ve partnered with jewelry makers, candle makers, just all of this stuff that is made right here in the city. I would love to offer some more educational opportunities,” she said. “I want to do maker camps for youth. I see this as an opportunity to create streams of income at any age.”
She also wants to partner with larger organizations such as FedEx or International Paper to take her vision to a grander scale.
“This is an unboxing of our city. I hope to be an example for other black women who want to try to be entrepreneurs in Memphis. This is a faith journey for me,” she said. “I’m totally open to what this turns into.”