Necessity was definitely the mother of invention when it came to small businesses surviving the pandemic. When the virus hit last year and in-person shopping was suddenly shut down, businesses had to scramble to find new ways to get their products to customers. Some found the solution in subscription boxes, which are filled with an assortment of items and delivered to a customer’s door on a one-time basis or according to a schedule.
The items are typically themed, from goodies for the home to beauty products. When Rustic Daisy’s in Waterdown realized they were facing another year with a pandemic, they decided to create a subscription box with a Canadian-made theme, hence the name – Canada in a Box.
As of May 2021, Rustic Daisy’s has two different box options to choose from. The Munchie Box, available quarterly, is filled with items to snack on, cook with, and share. Previous boxes have had shortbread, chocolate smash, cookie mix, and fudge, and will sell for $50, with a retail value of between $85 and $100. Just in time for Father’s Day, the latest Munchie Box features a mix of gourmet items perfect for a summer barbecue, including: a chicken/rib rub, peach chutney, maple syrup, veggie dip, pickled preserves and more.
The second box is The Experience Box, which contains specialty items perfect for birthdays, wedding party gifts, ‘thinking of you’ gifts, graduations or just a rainy day. These boxes list for $75 (with an estimated retail value of $90 to $125) and feature a variety of one-of-a-kind handmade items and treats, including cards, bath products, teas, chocolates, fudge, candles, soaps, coffee, coasters, and jewelry.
Rustic Daisy’s owner, Cat McCrimmon, says the subscription boxes are a win-win. Not only do they make for safer shopping, but they also support local businesses. “I love this new brand that we have come up with, and hope to grow it and bring Canadian-made products into everyone’s home,” said Cat.
The Community Caring Box, founded in Georgetown, is another example of a subscription box – but this one donates a portion of their profits to a local charity. Each box supports more than 20 business brands.
Then there’s Ruby Crate, a lifestyle subscription box for tween and teenage girls that focuses on beauty items, style, and self-expression. With a tween daughter of her own, Oakville founder Heidi Avery had an ‘aha moment’ when she noticed there was a gap in the market for this generation! Ruby Crate was born to cater to the younger generation’s needs and wants – providing an excellent opportunity to create a new box with fun treasures for our girls that are theirs, and theirs alone. The Ruby Crate arrives four times a year and includes 5-7 unique products ranging from beauty and skin care, cool accessories, tech gadgets, and tasty snacks.
The Spark Box, founded by Sara and Mackenzie in Burlington, is specifically for moms and their kids and includes items for newborns and up. Each box is designed mindfully to address age-specific developmental milestones for your child and to include products that help make motherhood just a bit easier. All items target a child’s specific age and developmental stage and also include items for mom, such as lotions.
The Burlington Downtown Business Association subscription box – #DTBURLBOX – includes hand-selected items from local businesses and was set up to help businesses during the pandemic. It’s also a way to buy locally. Each box is filled with items from Downtown Burlington small businesses, such as a citronella candle from The Artisanville, sunscreen from Natural Health Garden, nail polish from Water’s Edge Salon & Spa, and a coupon for one pint of gelato from I Love Gelato. Each box is released at the beginning of the month and available on a first-come-first-served basis. Last year’s boxes were theme-filled, for example, Mother’s Day in May, Father’s Day in June, and Backyard Summer Survival in July.
Rustic Daisy’s || rusticdaisys.ca
Ruby Crate || rubycrate.ca
The Spark Box || thesparkbox.ca
Burlington Downtown Business Association || burlingtondowntown.ca
By Denise Davy