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The Ecommerce Issue September 2023

Building a customer-oriented ecommerce business through better human interaction

Building a customer-oriented ecommerce business through better human interaction

SnackTop 5

I'd subscribe to that

Five small businesses who are using the subscription model to do good for their customers and the world at large.

I'd subscribe

How many subscriptions have made their way into your daily routine? Body care or beauty products to start your day? An outfit selected and shipped by a personal stylist you’ve never met? A morning meditation delivered to your device? The steak (or tacos!) you’re having for dinner delivered to your front door?

If you’re nodding along, you’re not alone. The subscription economy is humming — or, rather, barreling along at breakneck speed. Subscription businesses grew 300% between 2012 and 2018, and a report by the Subscription Trade Association projects that by 2023, 75% of direct-to-consumer companies will offer subscription services.

Mission-driven SMBs are rapidly building loyal fan bases in this space, too, one subscriber at a time. For many founders, the model offers a welcome opportunity to do well by their customers and the world.

Here are a few of the SMBs we’ve noticed providing subscriptions with a purpose.

1. Trade

A subscription to Trade offers coffee drinkers a tasting tour of small, sustainable coffee roasters from around the country. Subscribers can curate deliveries based on preferences and coffee-making methods while feeling great about supporting small businesses and prioritizing ethical sourcing and environmental sustainability.

2. Billie

The inclusive beauty brand Billie created a razor subscription to help women stop overpaying for razors. Subscribers can sign up for a razor starter kit and regular delivery of replacement blades, as well as a range of clean body care products. And since the company donates 1% of its revenue to support women’s and global causes, each order offers the chance to do good.

3. Let's Make Art

This Missouri-based company is committed to removing the barriers that keep a lot of us from the joy of making art. Let’s Make Art curates subscription boxes that include a new project, supplies, and video tutorials each month, but they also sell supplies and kits separately, nurture a vibrant and supportive online community, and provide customers the opportunity to do a good deed for someone in need in every box.

4. GlobeIn

Partnerships with artisans around the world allow GlobeIn to provide consumers with beautiful, handmade gifts while giving vital support to entrepreneurial artisans via job creation and fair wages. A subscription delivers unique craftwork each month, highlighting and helping to sustain traditional techniques and the people and communities that bring them to life.

5. KiwiCo

Founder Sandra Oh Lin set out to create more opportunities for kids to problem solve, create, and innovate with confidence. The mother of three has grown KiwiCo into a company that now provides those experiences through art and science projects for both kids and adults — delivered monthly via subscription crates.

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