Friday, November 04, 2016

All about Subscription Boxes! Food Box Special

As promised, here is my follow up post on various subscription boxes available in India. This is not an exhaustive but an indicative list; do comment with options that I have missed!

Starting with Food Boxes: Happy reading, and good luck finishing without tucking in! J

Bake Box: Based in Delhi, they work with professional and amateur bakers across Delhi and Gurgaon and provide a monthly box of goodies from their baker of the month. A regular monthly box costs Rs. 850, no eggless/vegan/gluten free or other special boxes available as of now. One can order for self or gift a box and pay COD or online/through cheque. The boxes can be picked up or delivered, as per requirement. The delivery dates are fixed and grouped geographically. They are open to taking orders for events.

 Nibble Box: This box is for young kids, professionals hankering for tidbits during the day, and those looking for high energy, fibre and nutrition food. They send 2 portions each of 4 different healthy snacks every week, delivered to office or home, across India. You can take a trial for 2 boxes for Rs.700+taxes, and there are monthly, quarterly and 6 monthly plans available, with cost of each box ranging from Rs. 250-350 depending on plan. They take into consideration your preferences. The snacks are healthy, nutritious, natural, with no preservatives, sugar, artificial colours/flavours etc. There are over 100 different snacks developed under the guidance of nutritionist Luke Coutinho, and come with nutritional information. Types of snacks include cookies, bars, crackers, Granolas, trail mixes, and nuts/seeds.

Tea Box: As the name suggests this box is for tea enthusiasts. There are 3 monthly plans available: a tea lover plan for 999 which gives you 80gm tea good for 30-40 cups, a tea avid plan for Rs. 1499 which gives you 150gm of tea good for 60-75 cups and a team enthusiast plan for Rs. 1999 which gives you 300gm of tea good for 120-150 cups. They require you to take a quiz so understand your tea preferences. One can also buy tea directly from their website, for self or gifting for Diwali or corporate etc. Apart from tea they also sell tea related stuff like infusers, mugs, tea maker etc. They deliver not only across India but in 35 countries across the world.

Gourmet Box: The Gourmet box supplies local and international Gourmet food products handpicked by an expert team on a monthly basis, only in Mumbai. The boxes contain theme based products, suitable for vegetarians. There are 2 options: the Lil box for Rs 700 which gives you 2-3 products, 1 recipe idea and discount coupons; while the Big box for Rs 1500 per month gives you 5-6 products, recipe and pairing ideas and discounts. You can customize a box for yourself or gift one too. Apart from the subscription service, they sell gourmet foods, accessories, baking products etc. on their website.

Snack Experts: Just like Nibble box, Snack Experts want to give their customers healthy snacks to munch on. Their snacks are healthy, free from preservatives and additives, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, artificial sugar. They are based in Chennai and deliver all over India. Each box, which costs about Rs. 600-700 depending on the plan, gives you 5 pouches of snacks of your choice, each weighing 150gm. You can choose 3 or 6 box option and also set your delivery frequency preference. You can choose what snacks you like from 6 categories and 20 varieties, and can pay online or COD. A trial box for Rs. 150 is available which allows you to taste 3 snacks of 50g each. All nutritional information about snacks is available on their website. Their options include crispies, flapjacks, seed mixes, dried fruits and nuts, trail mixes, bars and cookies.

Eatelish: Something like the Gourmet Box, each box of Eatelish contains a selection of handpicked treats from all over the country. Once in two months, they ship you a box filled with curated edible delights, ingredients, food ideas and recipes that will introduce you to varied flavors, food experiences, techniques and food traditions of our country. A box costs Rs. 699, 3 boxes can be subscribed for @Rs. 1799. Payment options are only online. You can buy boxes for self or for gifting. Some boxes featured on their website are- chocolate delight collection, flavours of Agra, taste of Kerala, Bombay cookie box.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Subscription Boxes: Disrupting Retail sales across the world!

 According to Wikipedia, a subscription box is a package of retail products sent directly to a customer on a recurring basis. An innovative marketing and distribution strategy, they target a wide range of customers with a variety of interests. The industry is nascent, having taken shape only in 2010s, but they have become very popular very fast, owing to easy access, affordability, and convenience they offer to customers. 

USA, the pioneer of subcoms, has almost 500 different boxes offering diverse range of products. Some of the categories are: food (snacks, bakery items), fashion (cosmetics, jewellery, and accessories), adult products, books/games, children’s activities, stationery etc.

A subscription box works because it is generally a win-win for all stakeholders. The customer gets to sample a company’s products conveniently and within budget. Especially in case of expensive products like luxury cosmetics, getting access to samples can help the customer make a decision about purchasing full size products. Even if they never want to buy those products, a subbox allows them to sample a variety of brands and products that they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.  An added factor is the mystery – customers generally do not know fully or partly what to expect in their boxes and the process of discovery, makes people try out new things, which is usually a success and appreciated.

 It works for the company or brand because it helps them reach out to potential customers in an effective and targeted manner, especially those customers who live in rural or remote areas, reaching out to whom would be very expensive for a company. It also helps reduce costs as brands don’t need as many outlets and warehouses thanks to the online fulfilment nature of subboxes.  It works for the subbox service providers as they are able to get excellent commercial deals where they get many products from brands for throwaway prices or sometimes even free.

There are caveats though, subbox companies need to constantly innovate to avoid getting repetitive and lose customers. Customers may get products they don’t like. Brand risk bad publicity of their products are not packaged and delivered in perfect condition. However, it seems the benefits outweigh the problems and thus the industry continues to boom.

Here is a rundown on some of the categories and names of subboxes available in India. This list is only indicative, not exhaustive, and includes only those subcoms who have a website and monthly subscriptions. There will be a follow up post with details on each box!

            Food: From Bakery products to tea, from organic gourmet food to snacks, there is a box available for almost everything!

Bake box, Nibble box, Tea box, Gourmet box, Snack experts, Eatelish

2.       Fashion and Lifestyle: These boxes cater to mostly women, though there are some options for men too. Boxes typically include clothes, accessories and other lifestyle products

Sugar box, Lady Raga, Pincbox, Mystery Box

3.       Beauty: These boxes are probably the most popular. They provide customers with a mix of beauty, makeup, perfume, bath and body care products, in both regular and luxury segment.

Nature’s Co Beauty wish box, Scent box, Happiness caged, Fabbag, MSM box, Oh cute box, Globox

4.       Jewellery: Another fast growing segment is the jewellery box which comes with latest trinkets as per your budget, as per the ongoing trends.

 Little bauble box, Embellishment box, My envy box, Zotiqq, Bling bag

5.       Ladies Box: Made just for the ladies, usually these boxes cater to sanitary needs, and throw in samples of soothing teas, yummy treats and bath/body products for an extra dose of pampering for those days.

High tide, Being Juliet, Happiness in a box, La coffer box, Cosset box,

6.       Education: Primarily targeted at kids from ages 3-12, these boxes come with a variety of activities for youngsters to keep them busy and away from gadgets. From worksheets, to craft supplies, books to games, there is a wide variety of stuff available to engross the little ones.

Flintobox, Magic Crate, Xplorabox, Ivykids, Crafty chimp, Small brown box, Little reader’s nook, Cocomoco kids box

7.       Miscellaneous: There are a variety of other subboxes available for various hobbies and pets too!

Paper plane Magazine Subscription, Originone Stationery box, the Book box, Woof box, Wag box

Friday, May 20, 2016

Things I wish I knew when I was younger - my advice to my daughter for future

As I look back at my life in the past 3 decades, there are so many times when I wish I hadn't acted/reacted like I did. But then, I was younger and we all make mistakes, and learn from them. Here are some life lessons, from my own life and personal experiences, that I wish to pass on to my daughter. Maybe she will benefit from them.

1. Act cool with boys you have a crush on. Too overbearing and you turn people off. Also take rejection in your stride, don't associate your self worth with it.

2. Participate in sports. Pick at least one sport and pursue it. Not only is it healthy but it also teaches you discipline, hard work, team work.

3. Take up at least one extra curricular activity as per your interest, like singing, dancing, theatre, art etc. and pursue it. It opens up your world, gives you an opportunity to hone your skills, make new friends.

4. Do not pursue MBA without at least a few years of work experience, if not more. Else it will become a rote learning and vomiting out exercise with no value addition.

5. Do not fall in "love" and imagine yourself getting married to every guy you meet. Take each day and relationship as it comes. Give it time and see if its worthy for long term, else move on.

6. Do not get attached to the guy you lose your virginity to. If he isn't right for you, no need to get senti and force yourself to string along and get married. Times are changing. No one cares if you aren't a virgin.

7. Live in or spend enough time with the guy you wish to marry. Think of all the things that are important to you, especially what is non negotiable. Don't get blindsided by current romance, think of all the practical stuff you need to agree upon in the long run.

8. Don't be bogged down if you're not as rich as others in your friend circle. Or as pretty, or slim. The right people will love you and want to be with you no matter what. And more attractive and cool than being rich or pretty, is being confident and in love with who you are. If you're into books or art or sports, exude knowledge comfort and confidence about that. People will get attracted to you for those interests, qualities. Not something you didnt make - your looks or money or home/car.

9. Do not take abuse from any guy ever. Don't think it is a momentary or one time thing, or that he will change. Do not tolerate it for sake of the relationship, even kids. Same for cheating, gambling, alcoholism etc.

10. Do not let anyone tell you you're a shitty mother. You decide what you wanna be and strive hard to achieve tour personal standards. There is no one size fits all formula for parenting. Don't compare yourself or get into self pity mode.

11. Do not sacrifice your life and goals and dreams for everyone else. It will never be worth it. To make others happy you need to be happy yourself. Everyone adjusts, don't completely give up though.

12. Do not bow to societal pressure of what is considered normal or good to do. Be it with studies, career, marriage or kids. Do what you really want to do. And if thats not what the society accepts, screw them.

13. Aim to study to learn, not to pass or get good marks to appease everyone. Easier said than done but when you take interest in what you study, and study what you're interested in, you will learn and retain much better. You may not have much control in school but afterwards, choose wisely.

14. Travel travel travel. As much as often as far as you can. Savour the journey, the experiences, the languages, the food, the culture, the people, the geography, the history. That will teach you more than any book or class can.

15. Better to regret doing something than not doing it. Do whatever you want to do. Its never too late, you're never too old. Don't let age, marital status, kids, husband, family, society dictate what you can or can't do.

16. If someone is rude or mistreats you, don't take it, and cry and crib. Stand up for yourself. Have the courage to confront people, especially on difficult topics. To hell with respect for elders, bosses, etc. No one should be allowed to humiliate you and get away with it. If you don't stand up for yourself, no one will.

17. Always be independent. Physically, emotionally, financially. Parents will always help you. Friends, spouse, kids, may or may not. Learn how to manage finances, run the house. Learn how to drive, do your taxes, change a flat tyre, do repairs around the house, manage the help, cook proper food, wash clothes/utensils etc. You may be well off enough to hire someone to do everything for you, but know how to do everything for yourself. Learn to be alone. Watch movies, eat at restaurants, travel alone. You need to be comfortable with your own company. Have a life beyond family. Have an identity beyond relationships. Cherish the woman and person in you.

18. Always be good to your parents. Always take care of them. And always be patient with your children. Treat your family with love. They're the only ones who will stand by you. Do not let your temper, ego and other issues ruin relationships. Not worth it. But understand difference between self respect and ego.

19. Don't try to change others in a relationship. Honestly introspect and see where you need to change. And even after making requisite changes, people or situations remain negative, change your attitude, your response. Meditate, forgive, forget, move on. Its for your own mental peace and good. Carrying grudges, maintaining negativity inside, only burdens you, no one else.

20. Be kind and compassionate. Help those in need. Respect everyone irrespective of their age, socioeconomic status, looks. Care for flora fauna environment. Be responsible. Lead a healthy, organic, sustainable life. Connect with nature. Donate money generously and if you don't have any, donate your time and skills. Try not to be judgmental or biased.