Having proven the concept, Dylan Collins’ Box Of Awesome, which we previously described as a “free Birchbox for kids“, is launching a new box targeting 8-14 year-old girls only — a move that feels like a very logical next step.
Similar to the original BOA, which launched last month, the equally cleverly named Box Of OMG! sees subscribers being sent a bi-monthly physical box stuffed full of books, music, movies, tickets, fashion, make-up and other “surprises” from both big brands and startups.
The incentive for companies that pay for inclusion in each curated box is to get their wares discovered by this hard to reach demographic, thus cutting through what is a very noisy market. Meanwhile, the draw for the kids (and parents) who sign up to the service is free stuff — lots of it.
Since launch last month, co-founder and CEO Dylan Collins tells me that the first Boxes Of Awesome, which also targets 8-14 year-olds but doesn’t discriminate between girls and boys, has garnered over 30,000 subscribers, of which around 3,000 have already received a box in the post. New sign-ups are currently at about 200-400 a day with very little marketing, so it’s a largely viral success to date.
In fact, managing demand has been one of the biggest challenges. “When you’re faced with about thirty thousand 8-14 year olds who are all demanding a box, you need to get creative”, he says.
As a result, the UK startup has already tweaked the model slightly by introducing an alternative paid-for subscription for kids who want to jump the queue (as well as a free digital-only version of BOA which doesn’t have the same limits and isn’t trying to be exclusive).
“We introduced the concept of a paid subscription/guaranteed box for kids to relieve this pressure a little,” say Collins. “At just 38p a week, it’s a pretty good deal for any parent.”
However, Collins stresses that the main proposition remains a free subscription, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see the model iterated further. In addition, when kids receive a box they are asked to give feedback on each item to guarantee their next delivery — another way of managing demand, but also adding more value for the brands that participate.
The company has been experimenting with ways to make this feedback loop a viral one, too. This has involved asking BOA recipients to record unboxing videos and upload them to YouTube. “About 3% of kids who have received boxes have created videos,” says Collins.
Interestingly, however, Collins says that BOA’s initial subscribers are made up of 46% girls already. So why then launch a girls-only version? “The Box of OMG [idea] came from specific demand from our clients and our community,” he says. “Girls are more complicated than boys. The reality is that some girls like more ‘boy’ things and some girls like more ‘girl’ things. We wanted to make sure we had the broadest appeal possible.”
That makes a lot of sense. It also broadens the market of BOA’s paying customers: the brands who partner with the company, which as well as well-known names, such as Simon and Schuster, Topps, Magic Box, Herotopia and Jelly Bean Factory, has also included startups BitSmith Games and OiDroids. And to create more “space” in its boxes, not every bi-monthly box has the same contents.
“The really cool thing is we’ve got a huge variety of items in our box,” says Collins. “If anything, we think that the number of items will increase over time. It’s like we’re becoming a specialist startup retail platform, which is rather brilliant.”
So brilliant, in fact, I’d be surprised if the BOA concept isn’t being copied as I write this, especially since the tech involved appears minimal and Box Of Awesome operates in the UK and Ireland-only for now.
Come to think of it, I may be gone for a while…
Box of Awesome was established to become the leading physical and digital discovery platform for 8-14 kids.
Dylan Collins is one of Europe’s most experienced digital media entrepreneurs, specialising in games, kids entertainment and the technology which underpins them. Collins has been responsible for growing well-known video games and technology companies including Fight My Monster (the fastest growing online game for 9-10 boys), Jolt Online (acquired by GameStop) and DemonWare (acquired by Activision Blizzard). His latest company, Box of Awesome, is a rapidly growing physical-digital discovery platform for 8-14yr olds. Collins advises a small number of companies and...