Recently, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about sourcing – more specifically, how to source products when you’re in the beginning phases of starting a subscription box and don’t have the proverbial, “leg to stand on” when reaching out to potential partner brands.
My solution to this sort of sourcing question, always, is to create a media kit with the pertinent information about your brand (demographics, psychographics, etc.) and a list of the marketing you’ll be offering these potential partner brands. This way, the brands you’re sourcing from can better understand how their brand aligns with yours AND what they’ll be getting in return for working with you on the cost of their products.
With that being said, I’d like to walk you thru the discovery process behind the contents of a media kit. For some of you, this might ring a bell as the steps you went thru when developing your actual branding – and honestly, it’s pretty much the same process – we’re just taking it a step further and in the direction of sourcing.
Getting Started with your Media Kit
(We’ll use Lilee, the luxury lifestyle box I created as our case study.)
When I started Lilee, all I had was a name and an MSRP ($49) for the monthly box. I knew I wanted the box to be a little bit higher end than what was available – I’d done my research and knew that there really weren’t any sub. boxes out there at that MSRP that did a monthly box. However, I had no idea what all should go in the box. I’d been sourcing for Beauty Box 5, but I knew this had to be something bigger, more robust – with a LOT more to offer.
Step 1: Brainstorming
My first step was to sit down with my notebook and just staring writing down words and phrases about who Lilee “was.”
This of course was all made up in my head – which is kind of the fun part, really. Sure, you have to do your research about what the market will bear – like my knowing that there weren’t many boxes out there at this price point/renewal schedule but, YOU get to decide who your target customer is. (This can of course, change over time, but that’s another blog post all together!)
Once I had these ideas down on paper, I read them over a few times and honestly, I just sat there for a while letting it all digest. Then, it occurred to me that I should start thinking about where Lilee would shop – I mean, if I knew that, it might be easier to figure out which products should go in the box, right? This is when my “aha” moment happened. After writing down stores like Nordstrom and West Elm, I wrote down Anthropologie – and I seriously felt my heart rate skyrocket! Of course! Lilee should be like getting a little dose of Anthropologie delivered to your door every month – AND, I knew that the women that shop there have the expendable income to afford the $49 a month I wanted to charge! (In the end, I added Whole Foods & a high-end spa to this list to have true mix of lifestyle items.)
Then, the research began. I started looking online for everything I could find about Anthropologie; I needed to know who their target customer was – her demographics, her psychographics, what her daily activities were, if she was married…did she have kids? Luckily for me, I came across a stellar interview with the founder of Anthropologie that had literally ALL of this information included – HOORAY!
Step 2: Formalizing your thoughts.
While there’s a TON more to this part of the story (that I promise to share at a later date), my next step was to take all the chicken scratch from my notebook and make it into something presentable. …and thus, the first Lilee “one sheet” was born!
Here’s the first rendition of the Lilee one sheet:
Step 3: Figuring out what you have to offer.
Next, I knew that I would need something to offer these new partner brands. I was, of course, asking them to work with me on pricing when I, in essence, had very little to offer in return. Despite being new, we’d already started our pre-launch campaign and our socials – so there was at least something available for them to see that Lilee was a real, thought-out concept – and a place for me to share their story with our followers.
Here’s the little blurb that I included with the one sheet when I was emailing potential partner brands back after our initial phone call:
Lilee always features full-size items and the only requirements are that they fit with the monthly box theme and in a 6″ X 10″ x 4″ box. While you’re always welcome to donate product, we do have a budget with which to help cover some, if not all, of your production cost(s) – our standard spend is typically around 85%* off MSRP. We ask for product to be in our Houston, Texas warehouse by the beginning of your feature month and boxes typically ship on the 15th of each month.
We are currently sourcing for our first box with the expectation of at least 50 subscribers the first month and growing.
Included Lilee Marketing
- Product listing on the Lilee enclosure card with custom informational copy and brand-specific social media hashtag.
- 1 tutorial or infographic on the Lilee blog – if applicable
- Inclusion in 1 box-specific email blast – listed with other brands.
- 1 Instagram post.
- 1 Facebook post.
- 1 Tweet
- One Facebook giveaway (product donation required).
- Brand acknowledgement and promotion via our blogger affiliate network.
- Management of all social media postings and interaction with followers/subscribers.
Supplemental Lilee Marketing Offerings:
Pay for play or in exchange for competitive pricing.
- Special brand-specific feature with 1 – 5 of our blogger affiliates (product donation required).
- A second month of the following features:
- 1 Tutorial or infographic
- 1-2 Instagram Posts
- 1-2 Facebook Posts
- 1-2 Tweets
- Additional Facebook giveaway(s) (full-size product donation required).
- Boosted Facebook posts.
*A note about the 85% off I mentioned above. When you break down standard retail pricing, it can work two ways – one way has a buffer built in for distributor pricing, the other does not. Here’s how that 85% off MSRP works…
If retail (MSRP) = $100
then wholesale = $50
then distributor cost = $25
so actual product cost should = $12.50 – $15
If you’re not working with a brand/vendor that has their pricing structure like this then, the pricing structure will look like…
If retail (MSRP) = $100
then wholesale = $50
then product cost should = $25
Step 4: Make it all into something eye-catching!
Eventually – as Lilee was gaining traction, and subscriptions, I worked with my graphic designer to create an actual media kit that I could share with the vendors I was sourcing from. This time around, we had some influencers on the books as well so, I added them into the mix.
Here are some of the highlights from our final media kit:
Now, get out there and get your media kit started!
Comments or questions? Leave them below.