Commerce in a Box: Birchbox and Brit + Co. Launch New Subscription Services

Two new subscription services launched today, focused on the home and being crafty. The first is from one of the more high-profile brands in the space, Birchbox, and the other comes from lifestyle site Brit + Co.

New York-based Birchbox said it is adding Birchbox Home, a package of home decor and entertaining products, such as cocktail party supplies, kitchen tools and gourmet foods. Products will be sourced from companies like Jonathan Adler, Dean and Deluca and Paperless Post.

The limited edition box will cost $58 for more than 11 products and is being timed with the holidays, when lots of people are hosting parties. An online shop will offer more than 50 products for one-off purchases. Birchbox regularly sells beauty and lifestyle boxes targeting both men and women.

Brit + Co.’s box requires people to be a little more industrious. The Brit Kits will be available for $20 a month and come with a couple different mini projects that are designed to take 30 minutes each. In November, the box will come loaded with a Turkey Oreo-pop making kit (basically a turkey made of Oreos and candy on a stick), and a kit that lets you turn a regular pair of gloves into ones that can be used with a touchscreen device using conductive thread.

The kits will also be for individual sale on the Web site, but will cost $15 each, or slightly more when not part of a subscription.

The launch of the two boxes fuels the well-established trend of sending products to consumers on a monthly basis. Oftentimes, the purpose of the box is to help consumers discover new items. Walmart is one of the latest companies to experiment with the concept, launching something it calls earlier this week. But there are literally hundreds of options out there.

In the case of Brit + Co., it is creating a new way to monetize its Web site, part of its effort to build a media brand like Martha Stewart.

“I’m personally a subscriber of a handful of boxes,” said Brit + Co.’s Founder Brit Morin. “We are all so busy, the act of discovery or decision-making takes a lot of time. This is a way to have people you trust give something to you every month. For us, it’s entertainment, as well as keeping your creativity alive.”

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald