This is part of uOpen’s 'Industry Insights' interview series - a valuable collection of informative and intelligent insights into how some of the UK's best-known and most-loved subscription box businesses came to be and got to where they are - all shared by the very people who made it happen...
Covering customer acquisition to fulfilment, this blog series offers a behind the scenes look at how the many moving parts of these complex, yet successful operations come together each month to satisfy the ever-growing demand of subscription box customers in the UK.
How did the idea for your subscription box come about?
We already have an annual subscription in the form of our Cake Club, but we liked the idea of offering monthly subscription and a more extensive choice of new boxes.
What attracted you to the subscription box model?
It's an excellent way for customers to try us out and a good excuse for us to be creative with new box ideas.
How did you validate your idea and test the market?
We have successfully sold our six months and twelve month Cake Club memberships for many years.
How did you acquire your first customers?
By selling direct at consumer shows and farmers markets.
Did you raise any seed or investor funding to help you grow?
We didn't, no.
How long have you been running now and what are your most successful achievements and milestones so far?
We've been running the business for 25 years and our biggest achievement has been building and maintaining a loyal database of customers.
With the rise of new boxes launching all the time, what do you see as your USP that sets you apart from your competitors?
We have built a brand with a national reputation for premium quality products and exemplary customer service.
How does your business continue to find new and exciting products to keep your customers engaged and excited every month?
We don't follow short-lived food fads, but we do continually work to improve traditional favourites and to innovate with new products.
Have there been any particularly pivotal moments so far that have required you to make changes to how you operate?
Approaches from prestigious retailers led to us acquiring and implementing the SALSA food-safety standard at our bakery. SALSA certification is only granted to suppliers who can demonstrate to an auditor that they can produce safe and legal food and are committed to continually meeting the requirements of the SALSA standard.
How large is your team? What type of roles do they have?
We have one head baker, two assistant bakers, one full-time and two part-time pack-and-despatch operatives and three office staff.
Across all operational areas of your business, what do you manage in-house and what do you outsource to external suppliers to support you with - and why is this?
We are in the process of moving most processes in-house. We outsource PR and marketing as we lack expertise in these areas.
What types of challenges do you face with fulfilment, delivery and customer service?
With more than 25 years experience of direct delivery, our fulfilment and delivery systems are tried, tested and robust. Our business has been built on maintaining the highest levels of customer service.
How do you see the subscription box industry is evolving and what do you believe are going to be your biggest challenges over the next 12 months?
Customers are increasingly looking to the internet for gift-giving solutions, which presents exciting opportunities for growth. Over the next 12 months, I see the most significant challenges coming from rising costs and increased competition.
What do you enjoy most about running your subscription box business?
Receiving positive feedback from our happy customers.
What excites you about uOpen, and how do you see the marketplace featuring in your business' future?
The excitement and challenge of creating new subscription box combinations and hopefully opening new markets for us.