Subscription Box Basics

Behind the Scenes with Jenny of The Preparedness Box

September 11, 2023 Episode 179
Subscription Box Basics
Behind the Scenes with Jenny of The Preparedness Box
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wished you were better equipped to face emergencies? We guarantee you, this episode will give you the tools to conquer any situation with confidence and ease. We're joined by Jenny Piper from The Preparedness Box, a unique subscription service designed to help women get ready for any emergency, one box at a time. Hear how her boxes pack in a mix of practical items like flashlights, bungee cords, headlamps and fun elements like glow sticks and candles - making preparedness enjoyable and accessible. Plus, Jenny unveils her entrepreneurial journey and what inspired her to create The Preparedness Box in the first place.

Renae continues her enlightening chat with Jenny, diving into her inventive method of maintaining interest in emergency preparedness. She reveals her effective 12 diverse themes that keep subscribers engaged and can be refreshed, adapted or changed each year. Jenny also spills the beans on sourcing wholesale items and illustrates why it's so crucial to boldly ask for what you want in your business. She ends the conversation by inviting you to connect with her online, and even arrange a one-on-one consultation. 

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Speaker 1:

So you want to 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. Thank you for joining us on the subscription box basics podcast. This is Renee Gonzalez, your marketing coach here at Subscription Box Basics, and today is a really special episode because I am not here by myself. I am here with Jenny from the Preparedness Box, and Jenny is one of our students. She's also a Box Besties alumni. I got to meet her in person. She's a friend. So welcome, jenny, to the podcast. Hi, jenny, thank you, hi Renee, how are you doing today?

Speaker 2:

I'm good. Thank you, I'm especially excited.

Speaker 1:

Oh yay, and I know about your box and yourself. But how about you Let everyone know a little bit about what your box is? I already said it's the Preparedness Box, but tell us a little more about what that is and who you serve, and then a little bit more about you. Sure Thanks.

Speaker 2:

The Preparedness Box is a box for women, mostly middle-aged women, and the purpose is to empower typical women to be able to overcome barriers to emergency preparedness. These are women who are not. They don't have the time or the inclination to become doomsday preppers or hardcore homesteaders. They're just our regular women who want to get prepared, be ready if anything bad happens, and a lot of times these women are just overwhelmed by the idea of prepping, and I'm here to take the intimidation out of it.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I love it, and you and me have talked a lot before too, but I am your target market, so I love this so much. And what are some of the things that you include in your box?

Speaker 2:

So each month has a different theme coming up. In September we have the lighting box, so that box will have a fun animal shaped flashlight. We always try to include something fun or cute in the box. It will have candles and a headlamp and glow sticks, so different kinds of things that will help as we get into a hurricane season or other kinds of storm seasons so that people can have their lights. We also have October is resourcefulness month in the box, so that'll have bungee cords and different kinds of things that you can use for lots of different needs. We have a first aid month, a warmth and shelter month, a spirit and entertainment month that comes with fun things that can help you as you're waiting out an emergency and things like meditation cards to to help you calm an emergency. So those are some of the ideas, some of the items that are in the boxes.

Speaker 1:

And it's pretty much so. People so say myself. For example, if someone was to find you and they're like oh my goodness, this is me, I need to get my family and myself and my house prepared, but I don't even know where to start, they can jump in at any month and then they would just start to get the themes and get things that they can include in their household. Is that correct?

Speaker 2:

That's right. Any month they can jump in and it's a 12 month cycle. They can stay for the whole 12 months and then, if they want to, I have some customers who want to stay beyond that and double up on on supplies.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's awesome. And then a lot of the things that they're able to stay on long because they would end up using it or having to replenish it or need more. So that's a really cool concept. And then what I know a little bit about your background, but tell our listeners a little bit more about your background and what made you come to this idea and have the box be created.

Speaker 2:

So I have over 20 years in marketing experience and I work part-time as in marketing for a large public library system. And in 2021, I turned 49 and I could see the big 50 coming and I got really depressed and my husband was like what's going on? And I said I really want to start this business that I've been thinking about for years. I don't want to just stay in with a boss forever. I want to see my own ideas come to life. I worked with him for several months and then we decided to be able to move forward with this.

Speaker 2:

This particular idea doing emergency preparedness has been going on in the back of my mind for several years. I live just outside of and in 2009, I went and visited my sister who lived in the foothills outside of LA. I was waiting with her for her to have a baby my nephew and while I was there, a fire broke out in the Angeles National Forest, which was just a couple of blocks from her house. So we were waiting for the evacuation order to come and as we were waiting, she pulled out this three ring binder that had all of the lists of things that they needed to pack who was going to grab what? Who was going to do what around the property to safeguard the property in the event that the wildfire jumped into the neighborhood. So I was absolutely amazed at how prepared she was and I thought, oh, I better do something. So when I got home, I went on to Amazon and I started small. I just put one of those 72-hour kits those ugly red backpacks on my wish list. I think you know what I'm talking about.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, totally, I've seen those. Don't have one, but I've seen those.

Speaker 2:

And so fast forward three years and it was still sitting on my wish list and I asked my husband, why didn't you ever get me this? And he said, oh, I didn't really think you actually wanted it. And then I asked my mom the same question and she said I didn't think it was a very fun gift. So this gave me a clue. I started wondering if these were some of the reasons that people didn't prep. So I thought I could maybe make this a little more fun. I could help women in particular who are thinking about their families and wanting to keep people safe. I could help them get past the barriers.

Speaker 2:

And then I started teaching some workshops and it was great. In these workshops I was able to. They were like little focus groups for me, because my first question was always why don't you prep? And I got some really consistent answers. So the first was time and money. Putting out all that time and all that money at one time was really overwhelming. The second a lack of a feeling of urgency. Third, just overall, it's overwhelming and intimidating. Fourth, fear people don't wanna think about the bad things happening.

Speaker 1:

What could possibly happen? Huh, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And finally, it's just not rewarding to buy that at the right backpack and just stick it in the back of your closet. It's not fun, it doesn't give you that dope I mean hit that shopping generally gives you. And I took these five reasons and it made me think it's particularly the time and the money lay out all at one time. It made me think that a subscription box would be a good model to get these items into people's homes.

Speaker 1:

I told every single thing that you just said. Your story, your origin story, so to say, is so powerful because you were in there, you were your target audience, you were, you had that little light bulb moment that, unfortunately, in a situation that you are preparing for, you got to see it secondhand and thank goodness your sister was prepared and knew, but it was a good little lesson to like. Oh, more people need to be like that, because she's probably she is the anomaly I know, because so many people I know people listening to you. You don't I like to think of myself as being prepared as a mother in situations but any sort of emergency. I'm not, and you and me have known each other for a while now and I'm still not. So I think it is.

Speaker 1:

And just as a business owner, I think our listeners it's so important. All that groundwork that you laid and that research that you did is so amazing, because I feel like a lot of times people think of a pain point or a solution they want their box to solve but don't like such a great idea having focus groups. You're also teaching and you're educating people while you were doing this, but you had those abilities to ask those questions and really the fact that you're just like blowing my mind the fact you had you have five things and you narrowed it down Like that is textbook just becoming a business owner what you should do before you just jump into selling. So kudos to you. That is amazing.

Speaker 1:

What the box and your pain point you're solving is so good. I know it's important work that needs to be done and isn't getting done. I think your niche audience is right on target. I love the fact that when you were talking about like the time and the money aspect, that a subscription box came to mind and that was your solution to solve those two. Now that you're in the subscription box industry, what is one of your favorite parts or your favorite part about being in the industry?

Speaker 2:

I love. Well, first of all, the industry itself is so supportive and people like you and Julie and the subsummit. I've just had such a great experience getting to know people and people being really wanting. Everybody in the industry says, don't do it alone, and I think, if for entrepreneurship in general, for new entrepreneurs, don't do it alone, so that's been really great. The other thing I love I just love it when I first get all of my items for a month and I'm packing up the box and I'm putting, I'm figuring out which one goes where in the box and it's just like wrapping a present and I love to think about my customers opening it and having that dopamine hit and feeling special and also feeling like more prepared, like this could help them weather emergencies and maybe even save lives.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Oh yes, and you nailed it. I think the subscription box industry as a community itself is so amazing and I think it's so rewarding because so many people like yourself are subscription box owners who are trying to solve a pain point, possibly save lives, and you're really trying to create a community around whatever industry or whatever topic your box is set around, and by doing that, I think it just naturally. Subscription box owners crave community and they are good community members, so it makes our industry just so amazing because there's amazing people in it, but the amazing people in it are also doing amazing things, so I love it. I love this industry, too. What is a piece of advice that you would give someone who has this idea, or has an idea but hasn't launched a box yet?

Speaker 2:

You know, I think that people get hung up on the procurement aspect and I would just say don't let that intimidate you. It's much easier than it sounds. Procurement itself is kind of a big word and you could just say shopping. That makes it much more fun, and there are different places that you can go online to find wholesale items as sort of a catalog, for example, fair and then if you find you can go in the stores, find items that you like and find out who produces them or the brand on them, it's super easy to go to that brand's website. Most websites will have a link for wholesale or resellers and then you just go there and apply to be a reseller.

Speaker 2:

I think one thing that intimidated me at the beginning was MOQs minimum order quantities and I'm thinking well, I'm so little, they're going to laugh at me, nobody's going to want to work with me. But I didn't find that at all. When I asked what the minimum order quantity was, if it was too high for me, I would just say, okay, thank you, it was no big deal.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's ripping off that first bandaid and asking, and then you're like, no, it's not actually that bad. I feel like you're a good example too, because something in the industry that might be kind of intimidating if someone's thinking is like, how do I keep doing this forever? How, month after month, will I come up with new ideas or new products? And I really love and we mentioned it a little bit but your model is an annual. You have 12 different themes that when the next year comes, you then you can change the products a little bit, or maybe, if you find something didn't work well and needs to be modified, you have that freedom to modify. But then you repeat the 12 themes. So it's kind of cool because if you're a new subscription box owner or what you're doing isn't working, thinking that you can, just don't be afraid to repeat themes or reinvent the wheel or have an annual plan where people phase out if they need to I think subscription box.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes you hear that and you think, oh my gosh, I have to keep this going forever and every time I need a new product. But I know, besides talking with you and other students, also subscription box owners, like Sparkle House of Grow she has reused new themes that Julie, as a previous owner, did, but put her own spin on it. So I think it's a good lesson for anyone listening that you can have an annual, you can have a 12 and recurring themes that happen. Or if you get stuck in a rut, like throw a theme that you've already done but put a new spin on it. So I think that's cool to hear that your model is that way, so people know they can do it that way too. Yeah, good idea. Is it any advice for someone who maybe that they hadn't heard of that model before Because you're now on your second year, correct? Is there something that the second time around you tend to be doing different or is working well for you? What?

Speaker 2:

I did was I just copied my whole spreadsheet of what I did in the first year, put it in the second year and then I'm going through month by month and saying, okay, this didn't work well. Or even if everything worked well, this month I'm going to mix it up a little bit and put in a couple different kinds of products.

Speaker 1:

And I love that your box is the preparedness box, but you're also prepared and you have a spreadsheet because I think, I don't underestimate how amazing that is, because I think some subscription box owner is May and it's totally okay. Thank you very much. Do it and fly by the seat of their pants. But having your spreadsheet and knowing what you've done in the past is so helpful for planning for the future. So good job.

Speaker 2:

It's really nice too, because then I put a link in each line about where I bought the things, so that then I can go back and find it the following year.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's amazing. That's helpful and a good tip for anyone listening. Your concept always just blows me away and I want more people to know about it, and I think it's something that every person but every woman specifically, because that's your niche really needs to take time and get to know you and get to know what you're doing, because it's something people don't do and, like you said, don't it's not necessarily fun, but you're making it fun, so can you let everyone know a little bit more about where to find you and and a little bit about your website?

Speaker 2:

Sure, yeah, my, the box is called the preparedness box, but the website is actually called Blue Sky Scout. It's because blue skies are the conditions under which it's best to prepare, so it's blue sky singular and then scout, because I think of scouts as my customers, people who are ahead of the pack. They're plucky, they can withstand things. So Blue Sky Scout is the website and people can subscribe there. They can also sign up to have a session with me as as a one on one consultant for everyday preparedness and emergency preparedness and everyday safety. They can also find me on Facebook at Blue Sky Scout prep. Blue Sky Scout prep is also my Pinterest account and on Instagram it's the underscore preparedness underscore box.

Speaker 1:

Love it All the places. So definitely go find Jenny. I know we're wrapping this up, but you mentioned something else that I wanted to talk about real quick to you talked to that they can on your website, they can book you for a consultant, and I know Julie and I, when we talked about other ways to add revenue to your subscription box, we did a past episode and all of this, by the way, will be in the show notes too. So if you didn't pick up on Jenny's website or anything, it'll be in the show notes. But we had mentioned you as one of our students who added on this consulting side of your business to add one extra revenue but also position yourself as an expert, and I think that is such a cool thing for any subscription box owner to do, because you really are an expert in your niche and you want to be a go to resource, no matter who your audience is.

Speaker 1:

But I love that you have this and you. It's especially relevant to your box because sometimes you do need just talking to you on this interview. You do need to hear why you need to do this, because it could not be fun, but it is so important. So I think it's important that you're offering this as a service, but a good idea to anyone else who might be looking for an extra little revenue source to remember that you are an expert in what you're doing and what you're curating, and maybe just having a consulting opportunity with you as a business owner is a stream of revenue you can add. So good job. Before we wrap up, is there anything? If someone is listening and they're like, oh my goodness, like this is me. I'm not prepared. What any incentives that they have if they subscribe after listening to this episode.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So for listeners of this podcast, I have a 30% off your first box offer and the coupon code is SBB 30. So it's SBB, as in subscription box basics, and then the number is 30. And that coupon is good anytime whenever you listen to this episode. You can use that at any time. That offers not going to go away, but also, september is National Preparedness Month. So in honor of that month in which we just try to make everybody aware and try to get people to start their preparedness journeys, in honor of National Preparedness Month, if you subscribe by October 15th of its 2023, you will also get a free duffel bag with the Blue Sky Scout logo on it.

Speaker 1:

And then you won't have that ugly red bag, which is okay, but if you can have a cute duffel bag.

Speaker 1:

why not have that instead? Thank you so much, jenny. Thank you for being on the podcast. Thank you for creating your box. If you are listening and you are not prepared, go check out Jenny and follow her. Even if you are prepared, still give her a follow and check out what she has to offer, because it is a topic that everyone should be preparing and you can take business advice away from her and some ideas, because she is not only a student, she's a box, besties, alumni and someone that is coming to her live retreat. So I will get to see each other in October. And, side note, if you are listening to this and you're on the fence about going to the retreat Jenny's birthday present do you want to tell them your birthday present?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it, but I asked for a ticket to the retreat for my birthday the airfare so I was able to get that as a birthday present from my husband and my parents went together on it because I am at the opposite corner of the country.

Speaker 1:

It was a very nice birthday present.

Speaker 2:

It was a very nice birthday present and I'm really I love it.

Speaker 1:

I cannot wait to see you in October. I, if you are listening and the retreat hasn't happened yet and you are wanting to buy a ticket, hit up all those people so they can buy you presents. I love it. But thank you again, jenny, and if you are listening, tune back in next week and we will talk to you soon. Thank you all, bye.

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