Product Sourcing for Subscription Boxes [4/28/16]

Subscription School covers some of the basic strategies behind finding brand partners, engaging with them, and negotiating to reach the best price possible.

Subscription School covers some of the basic strategies behind finding brand partners, engaging with them, and negotiating to reach the best price possible. Includes Q&A with subscription business owners, actionable checklists, and additional resources found on Subscription School.

About Jesse Richardson

Jesse Richardson is an author, educator and co-founder of several successful subscription businesses. He focuses on building engaging communities and has been described as "insanely customer centric." Find him in the Subscription School group or at his blog.

11 Responses


    I have a great business concept for a curated subscription box, but I am unsure on how to get started.
    How can you help?
    How can I find out more about your school?

    Dimyka Roberts

  2. Tommy

    Hi Jesse! Thank you for all of the great information. I’m in the process of forming my business now and had a question: what industry did you use for incorporation purposes when forming your box service(s)? (i.e. SIC code) I’m thinking retail, but I want to be sure. Thanks in advance!

  3. Kristina Mullen

    Hi Jesse! I really appreciate your subscription school information. I’m trying to get a stationery subscription box off the ground. Paper, notebooks, pens, stamps, stickers, etc. Do you think it would be ok to include some no brand name products, (sourced from Alibaba, Aliexpress, etc.)? Would these turn off other potential brand partners?

    Thanks !

      1. Kristina Mullen

        @Felicity Fromhz

        What do you mean by brand them myself? Like put them in my own custom packaging with my brand name on them? Is that ok to do?

        1. Felicity Fromholz

          Yes and TOTALLY! There are a TON of subscription business that do that! …or design your own in-house brand!

  4. Dana

    I’m working on prelaunching my subscription box geared towards the fitness industry. I am confused on when to do my product sourcing. Should I have companies on board before I prelaunch or after? I struggle with the concept of building hype during my prelaunch without have products already sourced.

    1. Felicity Fromholz

      Hey Dana,

      First, congrats on your prelaunch! I would go ahead and have your vendor relationships built and an idea of what you’re first box will contain. Ideally, you’ll already have sourced everything for a specific number of boxes at the beginning on your preluanch so that when it’s over, you can immediately start shipping. The sooner new subscribers get their first box, the more likely they are to stay on as subscriber. Quantity here can be a trick but, there’s no shame in selling out because it creates exclusivity and, you can always use any leftover boxes to send to influencers.



  5. Manisha Lokwani

    Hello. Thank you so much for all the information. I am in the very initial phase of starting my makeup related subscription box. My biggest concern is product sourcing. How do i manage to get the good brands in my box i.e how do i reach them ? Because buying them from stores will be very expensive. Or should i just stick to some local and newer brands ? I am confused regarding this.

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