Here we go again. The provincial government has issued another stay-at-home order, the third state of emergency declaration since the start of the pandemic. This one will last for at least 28 days, which would bring us to May 6. It’s time to settle in and embrace what we’ve learned over the past year about staying home. One coping mechanism many of us are loving is subscription boxes. This darling of e-commerce combines comfort and convenience with the excitement of unboxing.
Subscription boxes started in 2010 when Birchbox burst onto the scene. This beauty box was one relatively few on the market until 2012 when things picked up for this niche offering. Fast forward to early 2020 when we were all craving the products we knew and loved but were restricted to how, when, and where we could shop. That’s when subscription boxes surged! People who never or rarely ordered online before the pandemic discovered this shopping oasis in the midst of a shutdown. With usual supply chains disrupted, the population leaned into the ease of buying online and home delivery. Now, you can enlist award-winning Canadian subscription boxes for meals, books, games, just about anything you can imagine. And don’t forget that they make great gifts—honour a birthday or Mother’s Day (May 9 reminder) with a subscription box that’s perfect for that special person.
A Box of Joe
We don’t mean to be hyperbolic, but coffee is life! If you agree, you may already be gettin your coffee fix delivered to the front door. In 2020, even big brands like Walmart and Coca-Cola started offering subscription boxes. But when it comes to coffee, why not think smaller? It seems like just about every coffee roaster out there offers home delivery and the easiest way to set it and forget it is by subscribing to a monthly (or bi-weekly if you’re really pounding the bean juice) box. There are plenty of options to keep you caffeinated while you work from home. Go ahead and support a local roaster in your neighbourhood to help them survive the pandemic.
Speaking of supporting the little guys, there are some subscription boxes that focus on doing just that. The Local Box was created in Kelowna, B.C. to help crafters when COVID-19 threatened their livelihood. With the closure of markets, craft fairs, and other gatherings, those selling local handmade products needed to pivot. That’s where Local Box stepped in to fill the gap. Each box is filled with a carefully selected collection of products from Western Canada’s finest makers. If you miss cruising craft markets for that special something, this box may scratch that itch.
The environment has benefitted from all our staying at home during the pandemic. There was a 7% drop in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. But those numbers are expected to rebound and we all know the environment needs our help. If you’re looking for a subscription box that’s eco-conscious, I Live Eco is for you. It’s a seasonal box filled with products geared toward helping the Earth with less waste and less toxins. Customize your box by choosing from the following categories: Home, Fashion, Beauty, Kitchen, Bath, Food, and Office. A peek at the Spring 2021 box reveals a collection of reusable cotton pads, natural deodorant, fair trade tea, and jewelry.
Gyms are one of the many businesses that have been hit hard during the pandemic. In response to fitness facilities having reduced hours or being closed entirely, many people have turned to at-home fitness as an alternative. There are subscription boxes that can help you maintain healthy habits. If your workout gear could use an upgrade, check out Fabletics. You may recognize this brand due to the famous co-founder, Kate Hudson. The company offers workout wear for men and women (mostly for women TBH) and a monthly subscription box with 2-3 pieces curated by Hudson herself. If you consider yourself more of a hardcore athlete, the Barbell Box could help pump you up! A look through their boxes reveals mostly supplements and fitness bars with the occasional piece of gear for the serious athlete.
We already talked about boxes that support local businesses, but there’s always room for another example. Especially when $1 of every sale is donated to support rural mental health. That’s the pledge behind Acre 75. This Canadian company supports small town businesses by offering a variety of goods from little burgs across the country. The next box goes out in June and you’ll need to put your trust in the curators because they like the contents to be a surprise. But they do promise that each box has products supporting six or more small Canadian towns with items like home goods, bath and body products, and gourmet foods. If you can’t wait until June, you can always compile your own box and support small towns today. When you go to the site, be sure to check out some of the options they’ve highlighted for Mother’s Day.
In Support of Women
If you’re interested in supporting a business created by Indigenous women, have a look at the Equinox Box. This idea started with Diana Frost, an Algonquin Métis engineer, artist, and musician. Frost was looking for a way to continue marketing her goods when the pandemic shut down cultural gatherings and art fairs. She decided to join forces with other Indigenous entrepreneurs and create a subscription box. The boxes are sent quarterly and align with the spring and autumn equinoxes and summer and winter solstices. Every delivery includes a journal, bath products, skin products, music, art, and passages from Indigenous elders. The contributors are all Alberta-based for now, but Frost is looking to expand beyond provincial borders.
Spend Time with Books
Is there any comfort greater than a good book? Being forced to spend time at home just means you have more time to read! The Sweet Reads Box will ensure you don’t run out of material during the pandemic. This subscription box is a Canadian award winner that contains everything you need to lose yourself in a top-selling novel. Each month you’ll receive a drink, a treat, and carefully curated items tied to the book—how cool is that? The novel Foe by Canadian author Iain Reid came with coffee and lip balm, both related to the tale.
Stay Home and Stay Safe
As we all settle in for more time at home, subscription boxes can give us something to look forward to while also delivering useful items and supporting myriad businesses and causes. While a US report from 2020 showed that beauty shoppers saved the most when ordering boxes, consumers chose to spend more on prepared meal kits than any other service. Whatever satisfies your needs or interests, there’s a subscription box to help make the next month, and the rest of the pandemic, easier.