STARTUP SPOTLIGHT SCALING SUBSCRIPTION: AN INTERVIEW
WITH A PIONEERING BOX COMPANY

Paul Jarrett, CO-FOUNDER / CEO, BULU BOX, contributor

By September 22, 2017, 4:31 pm EDT

    Subscription boxes have become de rigueur in the modern era. You can get everything from shaving supplies to candy with them, and new subscription boxes never seem to be in short supply. Bulu Box, founded in 2012, they were one of the first 10 sample-based subscription box companies ever, and the first to offer a box that wasn’t makeup. Fast forward five years, and they’re still one of the top in the industry, with their boxes of nutrition and health samples that allow people to try all sorts of products before buying larger quantities. Moreover, as pioneers in the field, they now partner with businesses to help them create their own subscription boxes, a service they call “Turnkey Subscription Box Solutions.” Techweek’s Prab Kumar sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Paul Jarrett to learn more.

    • Prab: So you guys have been in business 5 years. How has the business evolved? What were some of the key milestones as you scaled?

      Paul: We grew to $500,000 monthly recurring revenue within 2 years but really couldn’t find the investors with the appetite to double (or triple down) so we had to re-build the business model around profit not growth.

    • Prab: What’s the size of the problem? How big is this industry?

      Paul: The Subscription Box market is a $15B industry on a path to be a $90B industry by 2025.

    • Prab: What are the important trends that will shake up this industry? What will the industry look like in 5 or 10 years?

      Paul: E-commerce in general will continue to go through significant changes but one thing will never change, people like getting gifts in the mail.

    • Prab: How crowded is the space? What’s the competitive advantage behind your product or service that you believe makes it a winner?

      Paul: Our industry is incredibly saturated…since we were the pioneers, our name and brand is well known.

    • Prab: Who are your customers and how do you make money?

      Paul: We work with multi-billion dollar companies, usually retailers, and charge them to create their own Subscription Box Program. We call it Turnkey Subscription Box Solutions.

    • Prab: How do you attract customers, and how well has it gone? How did you acquire your first customer?

      Paul: 5 years ago, we emailed (spammed) our friends and family. Now we focus on contact as a market pioneer and companies reach out to us.

    • Prab: Tell us about raising capital – What was the experience like? What did you learn?

      Paul: We have close around $6M total in capital. The best way I can describe it is soul-sucking. It’s a combination of doing everything right, sales and luck.

    • Prab: Soul-sucking! That’s strong, but understandable. How many people are employed by you today? Are you hiring – if so who should apply?

      Paul: We have around 50 full-time now, and another 50 to 75 part-time. Currently, we’re looking for great operations and warehouse folks and want to talk to any C-Suite folks with 10, 20, 30 years of experience.

    • Prab: How have you managed culture as you scaled?

      Paul: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

    • Prab: Three words to describe the company culture today?

      Paul: Fearless, First-Class & Friendly.

    • Prab: What would be your company’s mascot?

      Paul: A Clydesdale stomping a unicorn to death.