Ready to elevate your subscription box game? Pave your way to creating that 'wow' moment with your customers as we welcome Courtney Hubbard from BoxUp. Courtney gives us a deep insight into the world of custom boxes, showcasing how they're not just containers, but an extension of your brand. Creating a unique first impression, these boxes are your silent ambassadors that can help you stand a class apart from the competition.
Dive into this informative episode as we explore the ins and outs of ordering custom boxes. Master the nuances of box design, the importance of size selection, and the benefits of planning ahead with Courtney's expert insights. Not just that, we also learn how to smartly estimate shipping costs and the necessity of getting samples first. As a bonus, Courtney also shares a fantastic offer, especially for our listeners - the chance to get your hands on 12 free boxes. Don't let this episode pass you by - it's filled with invaluable tips straight from an industry expert!
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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. Hey everybody, and welcome back to Subscription Box Basics. This is Julie, your head coach, and today I have a very special guest that I actually met at this year's subsummit. I want to introduce you to Courtney Hubbard from Box of. Hey girl, welcome to the podcast. Hey, nice to see you again. Yes, and it was so interesting because I go to these events and I aim to do a lot of networking and meet new people, and that's where we met. It was so great. You came and hunted us down and told us all about your company and the capabilities and I was blown away Immediately. We're like Renee and I said we need to get into partnership with BoxUp, so that's why you're here. I want to introduce you to our followers and we can talk all kinds of tips about custom boxes. So let's start with a quick introduction, as people will be meeting you for the first time, so why don't you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?Speaker 2:
Yeah, so my name is Courtney, so I live in Tarahoo, indiana, and that's where BoxUp is located. I grew up here and I'm also really into soccer. I actually coach a local high school soccer team here how cool. Something a little bit more personal about myself, but that's something I enjoy outside of work. But I've been at BoxUp since we started and have been really involved in our growth and so I get to know a lot of our customers and it's just been really exciting. So it's good to be here and I'm excited that we met at Subs Summit and yeah, okay, so you're the operations manager.Speaker 1:
Right, yes, okay, so everything that goes on behind the scenes. Let's talk a little bit about BoxUp, tell us about what it is, what you guys do, and then we'll dive into some of those tips. That's good.Speaker 2:
So BoxUp is a custom printed box manufacturer at its very broad level, but we support businesses both big and small. Really, here we know that it's more than just a box. It's your brand. Or else you would just be going and buying a plain box or a brown box and really you're decorating it for your brand. You need an impact. This is the very first touch point with your customer when they receive the box, and we know that, and so we want it to be really high quality. We want you to be satisfied that it comes out the way that you want it to, and so that's a little bit about us on a broad scale. More specifically, we offer 28 standard sizes in six different styles, and so our most popular style is the display mailer, which is a lot of what you can see in your background there, and that just provides a really nice kind of grand opening with inside and outside print, if you'd like that. We've chosen to go with standard sizes because it allows us to keep our production times really low and our prices low. We continuously kind of change those sizes as our audience tells us what they like. We're known in the industry for really customer service. Our customer service is all located in the United States and when you call us, someone will answer the phone and that person will be a real person, as well as our chat on our website. Yeah, we'll be a real person. So we really try to help you, help answer the questions that you want and just help you through the journey, which I know is kind of uncommon sometimes nowadays.Speaker 1:
Yeah, that's a little bit about box up and I can attest to the quality because we saw a handful of boxes you had a whole bunch of them at Sub Summit and of course Renee and I went over and touched them all, opened them all, made sure we wanted to get behind this brand. They feel sturdy, they're beautiful, the color just pops on them and I couldn't agree more that it's important to brand your box, and in past episodes I've touched on ways to kind of dress up a plain box, which is fine, especially if you're on a budget. But let's talk about why you think custom boxes are important versus just sending a plain brown box.Speaker 2:
Yeah, so I think that custom boxes are more important than plain box just because you only get one chance at a first impression. I think that happens kind of everywhere in life, and the same thing happens with your brand. When you, for instance, walk into a retail store, you get an opportunity to feel what that brand is like. When you walk in through those doors and an e-commerce business, a subscription box business, they don't get that same opportunity that a retail store does to get a feel with their customer. And your feel comes when they first receive your very first box. And so it's important. That gives the impression that you want, and that's one reason why custom boxes, we think, are important. Number two you want customers to keep coming back, and so in order to do that, you need to create excitement with them. You need to create a wow moment. You kind of want to hook them into being excited for that next box to come. And if you walk up to your porch and you've got a bunch of brown or white just plain white boxes right, and you've got one printed box, you're clearly going to be more excited for that printed box, no matter where it comes from. And so that's where we think businesses would want to be, and that's where I think box ups helps.Speaker 1:
Yeah, undoubtedly. Like when you see a bunch of boxes, the ones that are designed well and really pop with color, they stand out. That's the one I'm going to be reaching for first. And when I was running Sparkle Hustle Grow, we had a hot pink box. I mean it was unmistakable and we often called that out in our marketing would say share the picture when your hot pink box arrives, or subscribe today and your pretty pink box will be there on the first of the month, things like that. We talked about the color of the box and it was part of the brand and it really gave the marketing legs. So I agree, there's different ways to do it. We printed on just the exterior of our box for the first four years and then, when the profit margin allowed for it, we did add interior design and what we did was we took our customers on a journey on that inside design. We told them how to use our product, we told them to share, we told them to join the community, we told them to read the book, because we always had a book in every box. So not only can it work for marketing, but you can also use it to call them to action, to actually use the product.Speaker 2:
So yeah, and I mean that's a great point, because when you're evaluating the cost of a box and people will ask me, well, is this expensive or is it cheap? And I think that's dependent on the business, because if you're comparing it to a very plain brown box, you're going to be like, well, it's a little expensive compared to that. But really, printing is part of the marketing budget, it's not part of the shipping budget and it's all about keeping your customers Right. It's the same as ads that you'll push in front of the customers on Facebook or Instagram. It's more in that type of realm for where you should put it into your budget. And then, what's the cost of my marketing and is this a part of my marketing strategy that I want? So, yeah, that's important to differentiate.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and we found that the words that we used inside and on the box packaging, our customers started using them. So before we did the inside printing we had a little card in there that said, yeah, it's here. But then we put that on the actual inside of the box when we did the interior printing and people were always saying, yeah, it's here, like we would see them use our marketing language, which was such a win because that showed that the marketing was sticking. You know what I mean? Yeah, so our listeners are mostly new and aspiring subscription box business owners. So, as someone new to custom boxes, how do they get started? What do they need to do?Speaker 2:
Yeah. So I think the number one thing is just make sure that you have a vision for your brand. You of course have to have a website and make sure that the box is going to match that website, just kind of like that retail store that I already went over. You want it to. Your site is also that first impression. You get two chances right the website, but then when they actually receive your product, and so you really need to have a vision for how you want your marketing to look as a whole, and that just kind of goes for super brand new businesses. And then, as far as going to boxes, after that, it's making sure that you have really good assets, that you can find the box, the logo or, if you really want an image, making sure those are high quality, because boxes are larger than like a business card, so you need higher quality images. We recommend them to be 300 DPI so that you can stretch them as much as you want without them losing their quality. And it's important to remember that on boxes only CMYK values are printed. Okay, explain what that means. Yeah, so it's a type of print color code. You can take any code and there'll be converters online, so it's not like you have to just magically know this. If you have a code, you can go convert that, and then either the website or the designer that you used for your website would understand how to convert that. So, yeah, it will just be more true to the color that you want If your image that you place on that box has those associated.Speaker 1:
Okay, so there's colors that might look a certain way digitally. You want to make sure that they translate well when you're printing them on a physical product. Correct, yes.Speaker 2:
Colors on a screen will not on any type of printed surface. They won't look the same. Yeah, so just, and it's honestly something that, until I got into this, I didn't fully understand, but it's true. Every if you walk into Walmart, the colors on those TV screens aren't gonna look the same. It's the same type of thing what's on my screen and what's on your screen might not look the same, and so when you're looking at something on the screen, don't just go off of that. Go off of what you know is going to print. As someone new to custom boxes, what we also offer here to all of our customers is one free box with their design, which is something I would highly recommend. Like a proof. A proof, yeah, you get a free proof. You would just have to ask our chat what that code is and they'll give it to you. Oh good tip. Yeah, good tip in there, but that way you can get that box and see it in your hands with your colors, before you invest in some more, a larger quantity than one. Yeah, that's scary, yeah, exactly. So just making sure you have all those and then getting that idea and all of those assets together to really get the opportunity to see that proof in your hands, that's what number one thing I'd recommend.Speaker 1:
Okay, so let's talk about some design tips, because there's a couple of different ways with your website. At boxupcom, you can come to the table with a fully designed file that maybe a graphic designer did for you, or you can design it right on your website, right?Speaker 2:
Yes, that's a good idea. Yeah, and it had a couple of ways. So I mean, you're right, if you have a graphic designer that you really want to use or you just want something so professional so in your head that you want that you need a graphic designer to design, that you can come onto our website and download a blank template that you can just hand to them and with that will also come the guidelines that they need to use. So you don't need to translate the perfect reading the boxup website and putting that into graphic designer terms. Just download the template and hand them that folder. They will understand, if they're a graphic designer, what those mean and it'll have all the rules. I've already gone over already all those suggestions in that artwork guidelines On the flip side. If you don't want to invest in that right away, we have two really good paths online that we've invested a lot of money in here to hopefully make that better for beginners. So number one it's a template gallery which is kind of some really good professional graphic designs Like hundreds of them where you can go and select one, change them to the color you want. We make suggestions on where your logo should be, maybe where your social icon should be. If you want those where maybe some text should be All suggestions, you can delete any of it you want. You can still make it your own. It's not a like permanent thing, but it gives you a really good base for something more complicated. So that's one path. Another path is you can design completely from scratch and go into our online editor and use the text that we have in there and the patterns and upload your images, anything that you basically go on any type of design website and you can find you're going to find a lot of that and be able to. You're going to create something wonderful yourself for no money. It's free to use, and so those are kind of the three paths to ordering.Speaker 1:
Oh man, that's so cool. I don't know if you know this, but one of our mantras is just keep it simple, and you really have done that with the website, and I remember we were chatting not long ago and you gave me a demo of the website, and I was like this is what we've been looking for, this is what our students need. Sometimes, we're scrappy and we're starting off with a very small budget and we have to DIY things. That's fine. You're providing the tools for that. I think that it's important if you can get a graphic designer to help, or maybe even have a designer's eye. Look at something, because this is important. This is your product packaging, so you want it to look professional. You don't want it to look as if your little sister made it or something. You know what I mean. So I love, though, that your templates make those recommendations too. Like this is where we recommend you put your social icons. That's such great information for someone who's DIYing it.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and also you've kind of brought up that you want someone else's eye. When someone goes into our editor, they'll see kind of a flat box and a 3D box and when you're messing with that flat box it will automatically change that 3D to show you what you're doing live. If you really want to show that to other people maybe you want to do a poll with your future audience, or you want to ask your family members or whatever it is right you can just take screenshots in there of that 3D and just take them and post them. That's what we kind of recommend, Love, that you want to do that, and I think that's a good way to engage people and get people's opinions on what they think is most eye-catching to them.Speaker 1:
Yeah, so is it true that you could go in and save two different designs in BoxUp's website Yep and then take screenshots and then share with your audience? Say which design do you like better A or B and then they vote which one takes it off of your shoulders of making a big decision, but two, it gets them emotionally invested in your business and more likely to buy because they have participated in voting for something. So I think that's a really great tip. So what are some dos and don'ts? If someone's designing their custom box for the first time, what are some things they need to keep in mind? Yeah, so.Speaker 2:
I mean, we just talked about the design a little bit, but one of the major dos is going in and trying it, I think, yourself kind of messing around, trying to visualize that difference between the flat and the 3D, so that when you're either talking to your graphic designer, you can describe that to them, or if you could save that money graphic designers aren't cheap, right? Try and do that yourself first, I think, and get a feel for it. When you're price checking it's two different websites Price check not just based upon the box price. Take some other things into thought. So when you go on there, you see the box price, some people will put one price and then as you add colors, it'll go up, right, yeah.Speaker 1:
It's kind of like the airlines oh do you want to bring a bag, oh, you want to check a bag. Everything costs more and more.Speaker 2:
Correct. That's one thing to keep in mind. And then number two when you get all the way to the car, really look at shipping, because that's kind of a hidden fee at the end that you want to check. So when you're price comparing, make sure that those two are really key in your price check and don't just look at the first number because people will try to draw you in with that. Yeah, now, as far as box up goes, on those, there's no up charges. On print, the price you see is that's for all the colors you want. Go crazy with the design, as long as you choose the right side of the box you want. That's the price you get that. For shipping, we offer three different shipping services so that if you've planned really far ahead, you can choose to save on that shipping and it will be a really low shipping rate compared to other people in our business. Or if you're in a time crunch, you will see a rush service which is beneficial if you're caught in that time crunch. Yeah, but that's why it's just important to price check. And then, thirdly, we've talked about this, but ordering a proof or a sample is by far the biggest deal. Make sure you get the right size box and make sure your design is the way you want it before you invest in a full order. We offer $1 samples online for just either blank or pre-printed, where they'll just ship the next day and therefore you can really make sure your products fit inside. So that's number one. And then we talked about the proof and making sure you see that design. That's the biggest deal, my biggest suggestion, for sure. So as far as don'ts go, I think that it's important not to get too caught up in the size all the time of between standard and custom. Does it fit my products exactly? Lots of times, custom sizes, the way that people have to produce those, it costs more and therefore the box price will be more. And so how can you or something more standardized where lots of people are ordering that size and maybe add crinkle paper, tissue paper, whatever, to take up that extra inch compared to paying extra for that custom size? Like really think that out, like I said, order samples in and that's from us or others, and make sure that you know kind of all your information before you invest in a full order. There's no need to put your box up, box inside of anything else to ship it. All of our boxes are straight up to ship by themselves, unless you really want to. That's not saying you don't have to, but you don't have to, right? You don't have to invest in two different shipping methods because your pre-order boxes and, be sturdy, it can be ploystery enough. So don't invest in that second one unless that's just something really important to you. And then, thirdly, plan ahead. Don't wait till the last minute. Like I said, the sooner you order, the way lower the price will be for shipping and getting your box, and so you'll just save a lot by being a good planner and by thinking ahead. So just don't wait till the last minute. Think ahead, don't get caught in those last minute orders the most you can.Speaker 1:
Yeah, the rest shipping can add up.Speaker 2:
Yeah, that's all really good advice and thank you for sharing that, first of all, and then second, yesterday I was on your website for a client of mine and I'm going to share some of my experience, some of the dos and don'ts, just based off of playing around on your website. You've made it really easy to go to the website and see okay, what are those standard sizes? And so a lot of times people ask me what size box should I use? Well, I think I always tell them use the smallest size box that's going to fulfill your mission. Think about what's the largest item that you're going to include on a regular basis and make sure that fits. But if you have to, if you end up maybe one month having needing more space, you can always order another size. Now I will say that in the six years that I ran Sparkle Hustle Grow, I always used the exact same box and I was just really disciplined in making, picking items that fit, and the why I did that is because I used a 9x6x3 and that specific size maximized tier one in USPS priority mail cubic rate shipping, and so, guys, if you're listening and you're thinking of like this box versus that box, I'll put this link in the show notes. But Pirateshipcom slash rates is a great way to kind of estimate how much is this box going to ship, this size versus this size, because it's going to be based off of size, it's going to be based off of length of transit. So really play around with that and use that dollar stock option that you have, where we'll make sure we put that in the show notes as well. If you're unsure about what size you want, get a handful of them of different sizes before you even order. So I think those are some of my biggest tips. Quantity matters. So if you buy 100 boxes versus 1000 boxes or anywhere in between, that's also going to impact the price. And so if you can buy in bulk and you're going to save, the first order that I ever placed with my boxes was 250 boxes. I didn't know if I was going to sell 250 boxes, but I was darn sure that I was going to do my best because I had 250 boxes and I did not want these at my house. And it gave me that motivation in those first few months to really push, because I spent the money on these 250 boxes. In later years I was able to buy thousands at a time and really get good rates. Now we were able to store them here at our. We have a two car garage that we had converted into a warehouse. But yeah, it's worth it to look at quantities. If you can kind of go up to that next price break it could be worth it. So play around with those sizes and play around with the quantity. Look on boxupcom in their ordering system you can play around with those without any commitments. You can also see how printing on the inside, the outside or both can impact that price. So just get real clear on what those different scenarios might look like. So those are my tips. And then my don't is don't make your box too busy unless that is the tone and the voice of your brand, that you're like very busy and chaotic and crazy. Otherwise messaging is gonna get lost in there. So for our subscription box, sparkle House will grow. We had Plain Pink Box. It had a gold rectangular kind of frame around it. It had the logo and it said what it was like monthly subscription box for female entrepreneurs. Then on the front inside panel not the inside, but like after you pull up the mailer top it had our logo and that was for unboxing pictures. So if the box was open, people could still see the logo. So those are my tips. But if you guys check out boxupcom, you're gonna love just playing around with those numbers, playing around with that designer, and I think that's a good segue to tell everyone about our special partnership deal. What do you think? Yeah, that's all good. Okay, so we have partnered up with boxup where you, as our listeners, get 12 free boxes. All you have to do is pay the shipping. So what's the code for that? Sbb12. Okay. So as they go through the checkout, if you put in SBB12, you are gonna get 12 free boxes Again, just pay shipping. I'm so pumped about that because, as newbies, it is so important to get your hands on that product and get the excitement of it, to feel it, to mock up a couple of months boxes, and you guys have been so generous in this offer to allow our followers and our listeners to get those freebie boxes and get to experience that. I think it's gonna be a huge game changer for our audience. So thank you, you're welcome.Speaker 2:
This is one of the best offers that we offer. It's especially good for new people, right, because they can get the boxes in their hands. They maybe have built up that list of people who may order and maybe they wanna get it in some of their hands too. It gives you some extras for photography and showing others, for beta testing yeah, for beta testing right. Test out your shipping, test out all that that you wanna do before you launch. So it's really good for that. And then it's also really good to get a feel for our website. If you're maybe with a different provider but want to try out someone new, it allows you to do that without just getting one right. It'll be like a real order. We're not gonna treat you differently just cause you have it. So you're gonna get a real experience and yeah, so it's just a really good way to test us out and it's one of our best offers that we offer for new people. So I really hope that you guys take advantage of that and try us out.Speaker 1:
Yeah, we'll make sure that we put all those details in the show notes, but also on the resources pages on our website and boot campers If you're listening, it will also be in there. So we wanna make sure everyone can take advantage of that. And you're right, it's great for newbies, but also if you've been running your box for a while and you just want to try out a new vendor, check out the pricing, check out the quality. It's definitely no risk in trying this. So I hope you guys all try it and then, when you do, listeners, we wanna see your boxes, take pictures of them, tag us, tag box up on it so we can see the beautiful designs that you've created and we wanna hear about your experiences. So this is a great time to share, courtney, where people can find you guys online?Speaker 2:
Yeah, so on Instagram and Facebook we're at iBoxUp and you can find us on there and we love to see your tags. That's one of the most exciting things when those come in. Nothing more exciting than see something that you printed in someone's hands and how they're using it. That's so exciting. So please share, as Julie suggested, so you can find us on there. On social online, you can just find us at boxupcom. Once you go on there, you can make an account to save your designs so that you can order when you want and go back and mess around with them.Speaker 1:
So, yeah, very cool. It is so exciting, as a new box owner too, to first get that box in your hands. It's just I can't believe that I've created a product and here it is. So we want you all to experience that. Use SBB12 at checkout at boxupcom and have fun with it. We can't wait to see what you come up with. So, courtney, thank you so much One for being here to talk custom boxes with us, but two for this generous deal to our listeners. I'm super grateful and thank you for being here.Speaker 2:
No, thank you for having me. I hope that all your listeners enjoy and we get to meet some new awesome businesses.Speaker 1:
Yay, thanks everyone for listening today. We would love if you would share, rate and review the podcast. It helps others find us and it helps others get these great deals, like the boxup deal. So thanks for listening today and we'll see you in the next episode. Bye.Speaker 2:
Okay, okay, okay.Speaker 1:
All right, tell us anything, I think.