Does your subscription box experience a summer slow down? If so, you aren't alone. Today, Julie shares 5 ways to prepare for it and 5 ideas to give you a summer cash injection.
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So you wanna launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball. And I'm Renee Gonzalez, your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs wanting to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun. Hey guys. Julie Ball here, one of your hosts at Subscription Box Basics. Renee's off today and I am taking over the mic and we're gonna talk a little bit about the summer slump, or what you might call your summer slowdown. Year after year, you are going to find that your business, just like every other business, is going to have cycles. Sometimes that demand is gonna be really high. For example, in Q4 when the holidays roll around, a lot of people naturally are gonna spend more money on products during that time. For us, when I was running Sparkle Hustle Grow every single year, we had a slowdown in the summer, and it made sense to me because. That box, sparkle, hustle, grow served female entrepreneurs, and I, as a female entrepreneur also kind of took it slower. In the summer, I was not working as many hours. I wasn't working on my personal development as much, and some of the money that we, I would normally allocate for things like that, for my personal development or books or whatever, I was now allocating towards other things like my child's summer. Or if we were gone on a vacation. So it all makes sense. But as a business owner, how can you plan for that strategically so that it doesn't catch you by surprise or it doesn't just. Ruin your take home pay for the summer or any other metrics that you're, you're following. It doesn't just like bottom you out basically. Today we're gonna be talking about five things that you can proactively do to prepare for your summer slowdown, and I'm gonna give you five ideas of things you can do for cash, injections to help you during the summer. So let's get started. The first one I wanna talk to you about in the summer is, It's okay to take a break. It's okay to use that time to regroup and figure out, okay, what's been working in the first half of the year and what are my goals for the second half of the year? You don't have to hustle hard all the time. I am a hustle culture dropout. And I think that those sayings like slay all day are great for t-shirts, but they don't really promote a balanced lifestyle. And so it's okay if, number one, you wanna take a break in the summer. Regroup. Just plan things in advance, batch things out so that you don't have to take a break from, the baseball game to go post something on social media or to send an email, batch those things in advance. The second thing I want you to do is look at your inventory. As you're planning for your summer boxes, you may have already started that, you may be doing that right now, but you can proactively scale back some of that so you don't have excess inventory. So maybe normally you have a hundred subscribers, so instead pull back that number a a little bit instead of projecting for growth because you may not see. Naturally during that summer slowdown. So plan ahead with your inventory to either stay where you're at or even pull it back a little bit. We started seeing year after year what those percentages were that we would lose. You can look at that in your turn rate. If you're new and you don't have a summer under your belt yet, that's okay. You're gonna learn a lot in that first year, and you'll be able to use that in the future years to make better projections. Another thing that you can do. The third thing that you can do this summer, during that summer slowdown, is to work on your email list. I could tell you time and time again that email is going to be the most important marketing factor in your business. What if Facebook goes down? What if Instagram or Pinterest goes down for the day? Nothing is going to drive traffic to your website. Well, guess what? If you have an email list, you can still drive traffic to your website. You can still communicate sales or offers or being of value. You can send those types of emails to your list no matter what. So in the summer, if you find that you have some time to work on things because businesses slowed down a little bit, don't fret. Plan out some email marketing campaigns. Lead gen, and that stands for lead generation. How are you going to generate those leads and drive people to come in? My favorite way you guys know this is a giveaway. So you could run a giveaway through a software like King Sumo, which is gonna help you reach more people. You could partner up with. Non-competing, but complimentary brands to help grow your email list. You can do relationship building, you can do all kinds of collaborations, but the end result needs to be growing that email list. The next thing you can do is start working on pitches. So you want to create yourself a pitch, like a very short pitch about your box. Maybe even create a one page document in Canva or something like that that's going to. Here's what the box is. Here's opportunities, here's some of our accomplishments. Definitely put a couple of pictures to illustrate what the box is, that it's a physical product, and start sending those pitches out to podcasts, to event planners, to influencers, or other people that you can collaborate with. Listen, Q4 is literally right around the corner and a lot of the magazines and. The media that takes a little bit longer to pull things together. They start working on their holiday, gift guides and things like that shortly after summer, in the fall, you want to be ready with your pitch. And so start pitching yourself on podcasts. Ask your audience what podcasts are you listening to? Then pitch them. Start building that relationship, with those podcast in an effort to be featured. Now, when you do those pitches, you want to. Not just say, I'd love to be on the podcast. You want to make sure that you're sharing what type of value you could bring to their audience. And say, I asked my subscribers what podcasts they listened to and yours was in the top three. You wanna share that kind of relationship building information. So the last thing I wanted to share with you as my five ideas of things to do this summer during that slowdown is to explore new marketing channel. Now that could be Pinterest, that could be Facebook ads. There are so many courses out there that you could take to learn a new marketing channel. But be specific. Don't try to be in all the places. Ask your customers, where are you hanging out? How did you find us? And then become an expert on those channels. I am personally learning, relearning Facebook ads for my own business, and I'm taking a course called the Ad Strategist by Amanda Bond. It is absolutely incredible. I'm seeing results very quickly and I'm learning it in a way that she teaches it step by step. There's my new kids on Shocker. So anyhow, I digress back to the course. I love this course. It's teaching me in a way that helps me really understand it because Facebook ads can be very overwhelming to me. It's never been my jam. I've oftentimes hired it out, but this time I wanted to learn it. So, Figure out a platform that you wanna learn a new marketing channel. Find someone who is an expert status in there and start following them. Listen to their podcast. Sign up for their email newsletters and if they have courses, now might be a really great time to invest. Your money and your time into something like that. So recapping those five things you can do during the summer. Slowdown. Take a break and regroup. Reflect, look at your numbers, figure out what's working. Plan for the future. Plan your inventory at either even levels or even scale back a little bit so that you're not stuck after the summer with tons of excess inventory. Work on your email list. Have a little pitch fest pitching podcasts or other collaborative events and summits where you can get visibility in front of new audiences and explore a new marketing channel. So next, I'm going to move into five ideas to give you a cash injection the summer when your funds might be a little lower than normal because of that summer slump, that summer slowdown. The first idea is so easy. It's one time boxes. Now I know you're a subscription box or you're starting a subscription box, but listen. You can still have an online shop for one time products. It is gold when it comes to moving excess inventory off the shelves. Now you can just list those things right in your shop. One time products. But you can also bring it up a notch and grab a couple of products that work well together, and you can create a new branded box and maybe you can brand them as like gift boxes. I'm not talking about branding them with a different brand name. I'm just talking about saying like this one could be. A gift for your mom or this one could be the summer Sizzler box or whatever you got to think about what works for your products, your audience. I know during holiday season one year. We did different gift boxes for different kind of personalities in the entrepreneurial world. So we had, the, for the dreamer and we had one for the book lover. And so you could imagine what we might've put in some of those boxes, but they were excess inventory that we already had. It was just kind of mixing and matching it. From different boxes. You can also create surprise packs, which were super fun, really easy to sell people. Love them. Think of them as like grab bags. And maybe put in one higher end item and then two small items. So we offer two different versions of the surprise pack. When I was running sparkle, hustle grow one was with a book and one was without a book. So if people didn't want to get a book because they already had enough of them, they could still participate in our surprise pack sale. Now we did treat it like a real sale. We built up the hype and the anticipation. We said there was a limited amount because we only made so many. And we were able to sell them very quickly. So create either these themed one-time boxes or something like a surprise pack. My second idea is to do a mini membership. If you've been thinking about launching a smaller version of out of your box now would be a good time to start testing out the waters or maybe start putting it together. So at sparkle hustle grow. At one point, we offered a mini membership, which was, they got the book. Mailed to them each month. So I could just ship that in a poly mailer and I used media mail. So the postage was much less expensive. And then they got access to the Facebook community and then they got access to the online trainings. Sometimes people would tell us, well, we have enough stuff , but I still want to be a part of it. So we would offer that as kind of a down sell or a win back campaign. So you could create a mini membership. Or a mini box, something like that. And then reach out to past subscribers that have canceled and try to win them back, offering them a smaller version of what they already know and love. The next idea for a cash injection is to get some exclusive shop items. So these might be items that you don't have in any boxes. But you're going to put them in your shop only. Now maybe you can reach out to your vendors and say, Hey. We're looking for some exclusive shop items. Do you have anything on close out? Anything that I could get on clearance at a really, really good deal. When it comes to these exclusive. Shop only items where you can't get them in the box. Then you can promote that as an event, like a sales event. Only by a certain amount. So you can make sure that you have limited quantities so that you can sell out. You don't want to have these left over after the summer. But I love this idea because there were so many items over the years that I wanted to put in the sparkle hustle, grow boxes that just didn't physically fit. The boxes that I shipped were six by nine by three inches. So that's like the size of a yoga block. Very small. I always wanted to put in. Notebooks large, full size eight and a half by 11. Ruled notebooks. And so I was able to get some really cool ones that had , this beautiful flower on the front. And it said boss, and it was just had some gold embellishment. I loved it. I couldn't put them in the boxes, but I could put them in my online shop. Another thing that we used for an exclusive shop item was a ring light kit. There's no way I can put a full-size ring light and a tripod in that tiny little box that I shipped. But I bought, I think I bought like 10 to 20 of them and put them in the online shop. And it was such a great margin too, because I was able to get them at a very, very low cost. Through one of my vendors that had them on clearance. And so it's just this way to get people, to spend money with you, to get your customers, to spend more money, but to provide them too with products that they will love, but you couldn't fit in the box. The fourth idea for a summer cash injection. Is to have some sort of one time. Summer club. So let me explain at sparkle hustle grow in 2022, we knew that there was the summer slump coming up, and I had an idea of how much that equated to over years past and how much I thought I wanted to try and make with some one-time shop orders. So we came up with a summer book club and. Basically, they paid $99 at the beginning of the summer and it wasn't a recurring payment. They just paid it one time at the beginning of the summer, but we shipped them three books, one in June, one in July, one in August. So it was like they made the payment upfront, but it was going to be a summer full of lighter reading. So what we did was we got some books, a really, really great prices. That we're a little bit more of a lighter read. A good example of one was undaunted. It was the story of how hint water started. Hint water is a flavored water and it was so fun to read the story of it. And then as a group, we had a Facebook community for the book club. As a group we talked about, oh, I just tried watermelon or have you guys tried black cherry yet? There was all this a conversation about. Trying the product. It was super fun. We had all these pictures from hint water in the wild and the book out in the wild where our summer book clubbers, where maybe at the pool or a kid's baseball game or whatever, and they would share pictures and it was just this really fun. Lighter way to experience sparkle hustle grow during the summer. We were able to sell out almost a hundred spots to that. And it was very low maintenance for us too, because we picked the three books in advance. We printed out a bookmark for each one of the books and we sent them in a poly mailer. We got custom poly mailers through sticker mule. Everything was really, really inexpensive too. So. Then we made it super easy to execute as well because we had a Facebook group and Renee and I would batch out all of our posts to try to get them engaged and asking them questions about the book. We batch them all out in advance. So we didn't have to all summer long be posting in there and hoping people were getting value. We knew that they were getting value. So it was a lot of fun. It was really successful. We just called it the sparkle hustle grow summer book club. We still did run the regular box during that time. And yeah, we had a lot of people be a part of both. And it was fine. It was great. We made a lot of money doing that and it really kept us from feeling the brunt of our typical summer slump. So think about, is there some sort of summer club that you can create? Maybe it's a mini version, but still run your box in the background. Whatever you do, keep it simple. And if you're not sure where to start with something like that, but you're interested ask your customers, ask your email list and your subscribers. Like what would you like to see in the summer if we were to bring a new experience? So the summer club idea is definitely one that you can pull together quickly and execute very easily. And then the last one is one of the easiest ways to do a cash. Injection is a clearance sale. Maybe you have lots of excess inventory. From over the past two quarters, or this could even be an end of summer clearance sale. If you have excess inventory from the summer. Just build it up like it's a true launch. Have it for a limited time. A deadline absolutely calls people to action. Have, limited quantities build up the hype, do a countdown until the sale is open. Have another countdown for when the cart closes for those sales or when those coupon codes expires, just don't overthink it. But make it worthwhile. There's definitely been some moments where we've had clearance sales just to break even on certain products because those products, sitting on the shelves is just stagnating our cashflow. It's just sitting there. So I personally would rather at least get my money back so I can move on and get that cashflow moving again. So I'm not saying out of the gate, you should always discount something that much you don't want to be known for just discounts. But. If you need that cash flow to move again. If you are in the summer slump and you're struggling, then do a warehouse clearance sale. Typically we would do our warehouse clearance sells maybe two to three times a year. And during those clearance cells, again, this is another great time to have some of those unique bundles that we talked about earlier, so that maybe you pair up a best selling item with one or two items that didn't move so well, but because someone wants the best selling item, then they'll also get those other items it's going to help move that stuff off the shelves. So let's recap those five cash injection ideas that we just talked about are. One time boxes or themed boxes and surprise packs. A mini version of your subscription. Number three exclusive shop items with big margins. Number four, some sort of summer club that they pay for at the beginning of the summer and last all summer long, but also again, gotta have some good margins and number five, have some sort of clearance or themed summer sale. Those are some of the things that we have used in the past that have worked really, really well for us. Hopefully this will help you prepare for the summer slump if you anticipate having one. And if you want to hear more of my thoughts on this last year, about this time I recorded another episode, that was all about the seasonal sales slowdowns. And that was episode 1 22. About summer slump. So you can go check that out after this episode. All right guys. That's it for me today. If you found this helpful, please subscribe to the podcast, leave a review. It helps us get in front of other people, just like you who have a subscription box business idea, and just don't know where to start. And if you have a friend or two That has been talking about their subscription box business idea. Please share the podcast with them. We would be so grateful. Thank you so much for joining me today and I'll see in the next episode. Bye.