Lost Crates, a subscription service that previously focused on boutique stationery goods (as if there was a demand for such a thing!), is today announcing its relaunch and expansion into several new verticals. The company is one of many in the crowded subscription services market where startups send you stuff by mail, often for low monthly fees. With Lost Crates, however, there’s more of designer goods aspect to its service, and its fees definitely put it into the “luxury” category.
Stationery will still offered, but there are also five other themed packages featuring housewares, foodie items and eco goods, plus a curated selection of the co-founder’s favorites and a package that highlights the best goods from a different region every month.
It seems hard to believe that people were ordering stationery goods packages through subscription (to be clear, we’re talking mainly paper and pens here), but co-founder Jack Wheeler claims there was a small demand for those types of items. However, he admits now that stationery may not be the best vertical to be in.
“The reality is that stationery isn’t as big of a market as we thought.” (No, really?) “But it wasn’t doing poorly,” he adds. “If it was, we would have gotten rid of it. We still have quite a few subscribers.”
Wheeler declined to give exact numbers but says Lost Crates has several hundred paying users and has grown each month. With the relaunch, the company wants to shift into the designer goods market, but will do so using subscription model, instead of say, flash goods or traditional e-commerce. It’s a service that seems like a fit for the Fab.com shopper who wants a little more serendipity to their purchases. “It’s like Christmas in a box,” Wheeler says of the company’s packages.
Oh, to be rich and bored!
“Our normal subscriber is someone who is interested in a particular field, or is passionate about one of our themes, or just wants to be surprised and delighted every month. It’s our job to send them really interesting things that they might like,” says Wheeler.
Lost Crates’ pricing reflects the luxury demographic it’s after. Prices range from $38/month to $68/month, depending on the package. There are quarterly packages available, too, but the monthly fees remain the same.
Besides stationery, the new packages include the following:
- Foodie: These crates include foods and accouterments to either prepare or serve them. The first crate features table settings.
- Eco: Features eco-friendly goods like water bottles, plants, notebooks, etc.
- Housewares: Things to spice up your home, like candles, posters and plants.
- Jack’s Picks: A curated selection based on a theme, curated by Wheeler
- Made-In: The most fascinating items from a certain locale, whether Chicago, Shanghai, New York or Moscow.
Wheeler, whose passion for design came from childhood, growing up in an architect’s home, is actually a former Groupon employee working in sales and business development. (That’s a change!) Lost Crates‘ leader, founder Danny Levi, also has passion for designer goods, and founded a subscription service for men’s skincare and grooming called Get Fresh Kit.
Lost Crates has a bridge round of funding (in the hundreds of thousands) from its parent company, Chicago-based Sandbox Industries. Sandbox’s venture fund has also incubated Doggyloot, Cake Style, Lab42 and many others.