FROM CARDS TO SHIPPING BOXES
Running an ever-escalating series of stunts has taught the accidental entrepreneurs a thing or two about logistics. Their annual holiday promotions are subscription-based, with customers signing up to receive a series of random surprises. Some of these surprises include special virtual events that have involved everything from buying a castle in Ireland and declaring 150,000 people ‘king’, to figuring out how to buy a private island and dividing the title among 250,000 customers.
Despite pulling off some outrageous feats of organisational dexterity, it’s the mail-outs (real, not virtual ones) that were causing the most headaches for the founders. Negotiating details with various shipping companies was becoming a nightmare.
The company also wanted to control the customer experience at every stage in the process – something they couldn’t do with outsourced mailing fulfilment.
“If you go to Amazon to buy our game, you’re an Amazon customer, which is fine,” says Dan. “But we’ve got a brand that we care a lot about. We like to make jokes during the check-out experience. Let’s say we get the idea to put something in the box with each product. There’s no way to do that if you’re working with Amazon.”
To solve the problem, they started a side project, Blackbox – a shipping company for independent artists that allows senders to easily (and cost-effectively) customise packaging and inserts.
Blackbox launched in August, 2016, with another stunt – the launch of their OK Cookie Company, which was boxes of fortune cookies containing depressing fortunes such as, ‘It’s too late to stop climate change’ and ‘You will probably die of a heart attack or something’.
The bulk of Blackbox customers are game designers grappling with the ins and outs of Kickstarter product delivery. Their first client was Exploding Kittens – a comical game that involves cats on cards ‘blowing up’ – holds the honour of most-backed Kickstarter of all time, with nearly 220,000 funders.
Blackbox also handles the complexities of Cards Against Humanity’s holiday campaigns – which is no easy job.