Thoughts on Subscription Services

What is the Subscription Economy? It is a phrase, coined by Zuora, describing the new business landscape in which traditional pay-per-product (or service) companies are moving toward subscription-based business models.

I partake in a handful of monthly subscriptions but have mixed views on their value.


Netflix – this is probably the most basic example… I pay a monthly fee for access to Netflix content and have been a customer for years.

Messy Box – I loved when I was a subscriber to this service. I received boxes of unique scrapbooking materials for just $19.99/month and there was an active community of users who posted their creations on social media. Seeing all the different ways people leveraged the same paper and embellishments was always inspiring. Unfortunately, I wasn’t using my materials fast enough so I canceled after about a year. Once I finally catch up with my scrapbooking and go through my stockpile of supplies, I will certainly be re-joining. Their Happy Mail subscription is also endearing.

Studio Calico – This is another great scrapbook subscription that I just couldn’t keep up with. They engage different curators every month and it’s awesome.

Lola – No one likes running to the store to buy tampons. Lola lets you order a custom assortment of tampons and sends you boxes monthly. Convenient, only $10, great brand, but I just didn’t love the product.

Book of the Month – I recently signed up for this service at the recommendation (coupon) of a friend. So far I enjoy it. I flew through my first book “The Fall Guy.” It was compelling but not very deep or thought-provoking. Although I didn’t pick a winner my first time, I still look forward to my November book and like the book-club community.

Issue – My good friend just launched her own fashion subscription service and it’s awesome. One of my favorite parts is that it’s seasonal, not monthly. Although based in New Zeland, the products are also available to U.S. customers. It’s all about building a quality capsule wardrobe with convenience.

Shoedazzle – I was a member of this subscription service for about a year. They offer stylish shoes for just $39.95/month, and you can log in to skip any month that you want. Problem was, I often forgot to pass a month and was stacking up credits with no need for new shoes.

Birchbox – I tried this classic subscription when it first came out, and it wasn’t for me. I ended up not using the majority of products delivered and found it a waste of my money. But that’s just me. I know other ladies that love this service and have subscribed for years.

I’ve considered trying coffee of the month clubs, but just haven’t… I know other people that enjoy dinner and recipe services like Blue Apron or Green Bean Delivery, have seen many pets get excited about their BarkBox delivery, and have friends that do FabFitFun.

I wish I could afford monthly flower delivery. H. Bloom offers beautiful creations for both the home and office starting at $75/month. But my finances aren’t there yet, and last I checked, they aren’t operating in my city of Columbus, Ohio either.

Part of the excitement with box subscriptions is that you tend to forget your order is on its way. The email alert or actual delivery is almost always a surprise.

But that’s also the part that irks me. I tend to forget the box is coming because I don’t really need what I’m buying… That’s ultimately the reason I’ve canceled the majority of my subscriptions. People I’ve talked to say pretty much the same thing, but they’ve also started to save leftover items for gifts. (Having a quality selection of gifts at the ready is always a good idea.)

I’d like to see more services consider a bi-monthly or quarterly options like Issue offers. I might be more likely to keep my membership that way!  Smart.

What subscription services have you tried, and which do you like the most?



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