Life­style sub­scrip­tion ser­vices for ev­ery­thing from flow­ers to tooth­brushes and socks are on the rise, re­ports Josie Steen­hart.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS -

For many years the only sub­scrip­tions New Zealan­ders signed up for were for news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines. But in the last few years, with our in­creas­ingly busy lives and the ad­vent of the in­ter­net, more and more of us are em­brac­ing the con­cept of re­ceiv­ing all kinds of life­style-re­lated goods on the reg­u­lar.

From hard-to-find beers and fresh flow­ers you get to ar­range your­self to hand­made mugs, cof­fee beans, socks and tooth­brushes, sales are boom­ing for bou­tique busi­nesses pre­pared to de­liver.

We talked to six cool Kiwi sub­scrip­tion com­pa­nies about what they of­fer and why this in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar busi­ness model works so well.

The fresh blooms THE FLOWER PROJECT

De­liv­er­ing Auck­land-wide since May 2015, The Flower Project is an ini­tia­tive founded by florist Kathryn Flem­ing and her brother Luke Bradley.

Flem­ing, who through her florist busi­ness Boudica Flow­ers al­ready sup­plies the flow­ers to Farro Fresh’s five stores, vis­its the Auck­land flower mar­kets three times a week to buy buck­ets of blooms for both busi­nesses. She can get fresh flow­ers at the best pos­si­ble price – a benefit that can be can be passed on to Flower Project sub­scribers.

Sub­scribers can se­lect from three sizes of ar­range­ments, which can be de­liv­ered to their door on Mon­day, Wed­nes­day or Fri­day; weekly, fort­nightly or monthly.

Per­haps the most unique and pop­u­lar el­e­ment of The Flower Project’s of­fer­ing is that the flow­ers and fo­liage ar­rive well-wrapped but unar­ranged, so as­pir­ing home florists have the op­por­tu­nity to get cre­ative and as­sem­ble their flo­ral lucky dip how­ever they please.

Each de­liv­ery comes with in­for­ma­tion about the day’s flower se­lec­tion, and sub­scribers also get ac­cess to Flem­ing’s ex­pert ad­vice via videos, blog posts and e-news­let­ters. “The whole idea came about from my brother,” says Flem­ing. “He could see a huge gap in the mar­ket for a sub­scrip­tion flower ser­vice and had seen the model work in other coun­tries.

“Right from the out­set we wanted it to be dif­fer­ent from any­thing any­one else had done.”

The freshly roasted cof­fee beans KOKAKO

Kokako Cof­fee of­fi­cially launched its cof­fee-by­sub­scrip­tion of­fer­ing at the end of 2016.

Auck­land-based Kokako, which has been roast­ing cof­fee for more than 15 years, had al­ready tri­alled the sub­scrip­tion idea over the past few years, but mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor Olivia Coote says it was “a clunky, pay-it-all-in-ad­vance-style” of­fer­ing.

“Once we were able to charge each week, ev­ery two weeks or once a month, we re­fined our choices and let them loose on the pub­lic.”

They now of­fer four sub­scrip­tion choices – blends, sin­gle ori­gin, de­caf or a “lucky dip”, which come as whole beans or ground for a plunger, fil­ter or es­presso brews – all with com­postable or re­cy­clable pack­ag­ing.

“Our most pop­u­lar by a mile is the lucky dip,” says Coote, “and we think that’s be­cause you can treat your palate each week with some­thing new – per­haps some­thing you might not nor­mally choose for your­self.

“Ev­ery now and then we add in a lit­tle sur­prise or notes to each cus­tomer, which makes the de­liv­er­ies more per­sonal.

Ac­cord­ing to Coote, an­other perk is sav­ing up to 18 per cent, ver­sus a typ­i­cal on­line cof­fee pur­chase, “as the cost of the cof­fee and courier are bun­dled”.

And as well as the fun of re­ceiv­ing some­thing in the mail, it’s the con­ve­nience that ap­peals to their cus­tomers.

“A lot of New Zealand house­holds drink cof­fee ev­ery day, if not a few times a week, and not hav­ing to re­mem­ber to re­stock the pantry is very con­ve­nient.”

Coote says this kind of sub­scrip­tion model can make it eas­ier to launch a busi­ness or ser­vice – “es­pe­cially if you have a com­pelling of­fer­ing that is not widely avail­able in re­tail stores.

“Pro­vid­ing a spe­cialty cof­fee sub­scrip­tion to cus­tomers all over New Zealand means they no longer need to live around the cor­ner from a roast­ery or good café to get ac­cess to great cof­fee.”

“Ev­ery now and then we add in a lit­tle sur­prise or notes to each cus­tomer, which makes the de­liv­er­ies more per­sonal.”

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