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?
It was after we brought our puppy, Bramley, a mischievous cocker spaniel into the family - we were introduced to the wonderful, welcoming pet-owning world.
What attracted you to the subscription box model?
We love the surprise element! As animal lovers, we have had a wonderful time planning out the items to add to each box and are excited to see the reaction of our customers.
How did you validate your idea and test the market?
We have been running a gift company for five years and are lucky enough to have a customer base where we could test ideas. We are also members of many pet Facebook groups who are very willing to encourage and support us.
How did you acquire your first customers?
We sell on various online marketplaces which operate all over the world.
Did you raise any seed or investor funding to help you grow?
PETure Perfect is part of Afewhometruths Ltd which was able to support our start-up and growth.
How long have you been running now and what are your most successful achievements and milestones so far?
We have been running for a few months now and love the enthusiastic response our customers have to our boxes.
With the rise of new boxes launching all the time, what do you see as your USP that sets you apart from your competitors?
Our PETure Perfect boxes are a unique concept which uses customers' photos on gorgeous items - our best selling option includes a hand-drawn digital illustration from the photo.
How does your business continue to find new and exciting products to keep your customers engaged and excited every month?
As our head designer, I literally have to sleep with a notebook by my bed as that is when new ideas tend to pop into my head! We have a reputation for putting a spin on product development and are continually testing out new concepts on the array of machinery and gizmos we have in the workshop.
Have there been any particularly pivotal moments so far that have required you to make changes to how you operate?
We have big plans to evolve our boxes in the next few months with new subscriptions launching, which is very exciting! This expansion will likely necessitate top class organisational skills, but Olivia has all of that very well covered.
How large is your team? What type of roles do they have?
The team is made up of three at present - me, Olivia and Bramley - who is our chief model! Everything is very much a joint effort. I tend to come up with initial concepts which Olivia then helps to refine. If they are dog-related, then Bramley road tests them, while cat-related ideas are the job of Flame, Olivia's cat!
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 source "blanks", like mugs and wooden coasters from high-quality suppliers. All design and production are carried out in-house with the help of our wide range of machinery, including a laser cutter, state of the art heat presses and specialist printers.
What types of challenges do you face with fulfilment, delivery and customer service?
We want every one of our boxes to delight our customers and to arrive in perfect condition. This means that there is a challenge with ensuring that our packaging looks beautiful, but is also functional enough to survive the journey (often across the world) to the customer's letterbox.
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?
We are really excited by the subscription box concept. It is sure to continue its huge growth over the coming months as customers search for gifts for friends and themselves which are that little bit different.
What do you enjoy most about running your subscription box business?
Seeing the photos of all our customers' pets. Awwwwwww.
What excites you about uOpen, and how do you see the marketplace featuring in your business' future?
The team at uOpen are clearly passionate about what they do and very focused on assisting their sellers to achieve success. We have been really impressed by the attention to detail and technology which sits behind the website, which will allow us to scale our business as it grows.