Our mailman hates us... (subscription boxes...)
November 6, 2018 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Do you subscribe to, or have you gifted, subscription boxes? Do you have a favorite? I'm looking for personal reviews and recommendations, not just a "top ten list of the best subscription boxes." I'm also delineating between something like FabFitFun versus something like Hello Fresh/Gwynnie Bee.

I've dabbled in subscription boxes over time, both for myself and for gifts. Last Christmas I was fairly successful in making "Christmas last all year" and would like to continue that... But instead of just googling for what's out there, I'd really like to hear from people (albeit strangers on the internet) what they've used and either loved or hated, and why. I'm thinking more along the lines of something that shows up monthly/quarterly on a theme, as opposed to meal or clothing delivery services. (To be clear, I have googled, quite a bit. And I've also looked at past questions. But boxes like this have increased in popularity greatly since the last question.) Limitation: must ship to the US.
posted by librarianamy to Shopping (29 answers total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a dog, I love love LOVE BarkBox. For under $25 a month (for a year subscription), Gatsby gets two full bags of grain free treats, a random chew treat, and two toys. (He actually gets three toys because there was an extra toy deal when I signed up. They do those pretty often.) The treats alone basically pay for it. Every month is themed, and they’re super cute!
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:25 PM on November 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

You may have already thought of this, given your username - but Book of the Month Club is back and it's a lot of fun. I gifted it to my mother in law last Christmas.
posted by something something at 12:26 PM on November 6, 2018

Seconding BarkBox. Every month it comes I think to myself that there's no subscription box that could possibly give me more joy. I think what I like about it is that my dog has unbridled joy over every item in the box, every month. If it's a subscription box for me it's hard to please me 100% of the time, but to my dog every toy and every treat that he gets each month is the greatest thing he's ever gotten. Also, I love the themes they do each month and look forward to seeing what's in the box just as much as my dog. The toys are really well made and last longer than most other toys we buy.
posted by shornco at 12:29 PM on November 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

On the cat box front, MeowBox has been the hit at our house. But in the interest of full disclosure: That's 99% because they spray the boxes/tissue paper with catnip spray. The themed toys are cute and the cats do like them! but probably no more or less so than what we got in KitNipBox. But the cats LOVE the damn boxes. You arguably would do just as well to subscribe to a nice box for yourself and just give your cat that box, with some catnip sprayed onto it. But if you're thinking about a cat box as a gift for a friend, you could do worse. Plus they handwrite a greeting with the cats' names inside the box and it's just very charming for the human recipient.
posted by Stacey at 12:37 PM on November 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have a subscription to Pipsticks stickers of the month club box, and if you do literally anything where you might want or need some stickers that are totally rad, it is awesome. It is my favorite thing to get in the mail and always makes me so happy. My hobby is correspondence so I use stickers a lot though.

If you're into makeup ones, I only just cancelled my Birchbox, and I feel like for $10 I got a lot out of it, I found a lot of products that I have stuck with using, and it was just so much fun to get makeup every month. I found that the quality of the samples was good.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 12:37 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Previous successes:
Jeni's Pint Club (though the flavors are a bit "fancy" for my dad)
OwlCrate (that's mine, I'm a sucker for the genre)
FabFitFun (that's mine, it's been my favorite of all of the "makeup" boxes)
Mystery Quilt (my mom loved it, she's on her second one)
Zingerman's Bread (my husband laughed when I said I'd bought him bread, but man, worth it for the chocolate sourdough alone)
posted by librarianamy at 12:38 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I recently got a couple of Universal Yums snack boxes as a gift. Every month they send a box filled with snacks from a specific country along with a little guidebook. Recent boxes included snacks from Thailand and Russia. A fun consumable if you like packaged snacks and candies from other countries.
posted by quince at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Rancho Gordo Bean Club (currently on waitlist, but it'll open up and they have sampler sets in the meantime)

CW Pencil Enterprise Quarterly Box (also on waitlist)

Sens Unique (monthly box from my fav perfume store in Paris)

I cannot recommend Book of the Month because to me it has really gone downhill since they let Maris Kreizman go. It has shifted sharply away from literary fiction. Of course, YMMV.

It's nothing special but Sephora Play is fine. I like that all the brands can be found easily in brick-and-mortar stores. Ipsy and Birchbox often have sort of random/new/hard-to-find brands which doesn't appeal to me.
posted by acidic at 12:59 PM on November 6, 2018

Good Luck Socks were my favourite monthly delivery. (I now have too many socks so am waiting for holes or singletons.)
posted by jeather at 1:06 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you like to try different makeup products (or are gifting to someone who does), I'm about to renew my girlfriend's Ipsy subscription for a third year. She loves I'd say 70-80% of the stuff she receives, and the rest she regifts at Christmas to other makeup-lovers. It's a great price for what you receive, I have been told, and usually a great variety of stuff.

She had Sephora Play for a while but ended up liking Ipsy more. Like acidic said, Ipsy is more for weird/new/different stuff each month whereas Sephora Play I think is more focused on the brands Sephora carries.
posted by possibilityleft at 1:07 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

My favorite beauty/skincare boxes are the Allure Box and Petit Vour. (Petit Vour is seriously so good!)

Also fun, Hangsquad! $22 for 2 pairs of earrings every month. You can specify if you like big or little earrings, style and weight. Also if you give them your Instagram handle and follow them, they'll customize your box based on which of their posts you liked!
posted by purple_bird at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Fantasy Box
Tea Sparrow
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:16 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I like Bespoke Post which is nominally for men, but has a lot of cool stuff and generally seems to be high quality. I like that you can choose from a number of boxes each month, get more than one, or skip, and they often bring back popular boxes. They lean more toward a few high quality items than towards many cheaper ones, like most boxes seem to.

I also had a sunglasses of the month subscription, and I’ve been wanting to re-enroll. Right now I cannot remember the name, but from a quick google there are a lot of them now.

I got the last FabFitFun box, and I was not impressed. I thought the quality of most of the products was really lacking. I wouldn’t get it again.

I haven’t tried MeUndies yet, and it’s not technically a box, just a monthly underwear subscription, but everyone really seems to like them.
posted by catatethebird at 1:30 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

So, this is more for kids: the Kiwi Crate is awesome, as are Little Passports. Both have different offerings for age ranges. Kiwi Crate has buildable stuff that's kid-appropriate for them to mostly DIY with a bit of adult help. Little Passports has these activity packs that teach about places around the globe. Both are awesome and we've personally loved them and also gifted them with great success.
posted by odinsdream at 1:34 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I really like Julep. They mostly send nail polish (which I think is great) but also have a whole line of makeup (which I've had mixed feelings about -- some products great, some horrible). You can customize your box so if you don't like the colors they're sending, you aren't stuck with them. Also, you can skip months whenever you want -- after several months of building up my nail polish collection, I now only get a few boxes a year.
posted by tangosnail at 1:36 PM on November 6, 2018

Ispy is fun if you have a make up lover in your life. It's enough product so if you love it you can use it enough to see if it really works but not so much if you don't you don't mind passing it on to someone else.
posted by wwax at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2018

My tastes may be a little niche, but some of the boxes I get and love are:

Norse Crate: I'm a LARPer with a penchant for Vikingry, so I get Fun! Viking! Stuff! every month.

Biker Gear Club: Fun motorcycle gear tailored to the specifics of my bike style.

Lunarly: I've only just started this one, but I already love it. A monthly plant and some other items to help remind me to take better care of myself.

Blind Date With A Book Club: just signed up for this one today, so I can't speak to it yet, but I am pretty sure I'm going to love it.
posted by hanov3r at 1:54 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've had a lot more fun with Stitch Fix than I expected. It's a box of clothing hand-picked for you based on a style guide you fill out. It can also include jewelry, shoes, and some other miscellaneous stuff. I bought a gift card for my sister on her birthday.

What I really like is that it's not a subscription per se. You pay a $20 styling fee per box and you decide how often you get the box. It doesn't have to be every month. If you decide to buy something, the $20 is subtracted from the price. If you buy everything in the box, it's discounted 25%.

I don't enjoy shopping, so this has been a fun way for me to try different styles.
posted by J. Tiberius at 2:22 PM on November 6, 2018

Do you like Pusheen? If you do, the quarterly Pusheen box is the best. The one that came this week had a giant fuzzy bathrobe in it, soap dispenser, toothbrush holder, two Pusheen figurines one plastic and one plush, a Pusheen stress ball, a hand towel and probably something else I’m forgetting. I look forward to it so much and it’s all so ridiculous and cute.
posted by ilovewinter at 3:19 PM on November 6, 2018

vinyl me please is actually pretty fun if you are or know someone who's into records. they do a monthly shipment or you can swap that month's choice (if, say, you aren't into it) for something else. i've been a sporadic member (depending how flush i'm feeling) and enjoyed it each time.
posted by kerning at 4:37 PM on November 6, 2018

I haven't tried it yet, but the WeeBox looks super fun if you are into Scottish/Celtic things.
posted by Preserver at 5:43 PM on November 6, 2018

I reupped ipsy this year after taking a year or so off, and it seems to have gone downhill. I'm not getting nearly the variety I did before I dropped off a few years back. That said, the fact that it comes with a bag every month is cool.

Scribe is fantastic, if you have an interest or need for stationery, pens and notebooks. It's really well curated.

My pick for interesting food box is Hungry Root. I like it because I'm still cooking, but it's partially prepped ingredients, and the food is really good.

I've gotten FabFitFun twice now I think and I am considering gifting it to a couple folks this year. It's nice because it's a mix of surprise and stuff you make a choice on. I haven't loved 100% of the things I've gotten, but honestly in each box, the thing I've loved has met or exceeded the price of the box.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 7:14 PM on November 6, 2018

I gifted my partner a Cairn subscription a couple years ago and it was a huge hit. Outdoor adventure stuff that works for all sorts of outdoor activities.
posted by rhiannonstone at 8:09 PM on November 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I know a few People who work for this site - I think they do pretty fair reviews:https://www.mysubscriptionaddiction.com
posted by nuclear_soup at 5:20 AM on November 7, 2018

I was also coming in here to suggest looking at My Subscription Addiction!
posted by apricot at 6:57 AM on November 7, 2018

I had a great experience with Tokyo Treat, if you are into Japanese snacks.
posted by koucha at 12:49 PM on November 7, 2018

Bokksu sends me Japanese snacks every month. I used to have a subscription to Skoshbox, but this is better.
posted by wittgenstein at 1:28 PM on November 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was given a subscription to the Random Book Club and have had some really enjoyable books from them.
posted by paduasoy at 3:02 PM on November 7, 2018

I’m all about the Margot Elena seasonal boxes. The stuff is pretty for you but also super giftable.

My kid loves Koala Crate which is the little kid version of Kiwi crate. She also loves Pipsticks, which an earlier commenter mentioned. (I love pipsticks too.)

Quirky Crate is great for young teen girls.

Also I love My Subscription Addiction. But i must say that it’s not helped with my...habit.
posted by missjenny at 8:31 PM on November 7, 2018

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