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December 14, 2016

How to launch a 6-Figure Subscription Box (with less than 300 customers)

I recently did an interview with Ryan McKenzie – in case you don’t know – Ryan is a partner at My Passion Media, one of the leading media companies in Canada. They generate over 1 million page views per month across all of their brands.

In the interview we discussed ways to increase traffic to your website, why having a ton of traffic may not actually lead to an increase in sales, and why focusing on less, but highly targeting traffic is best.

We also discussed a recent launch he did with Explore Magazine (a brand of My Passion Media), for a subscription box, which they called their “Gear Box”.

You can listen to the interview here:

Moving on to the main point of this article – How to launch a 6 figure subscription box:

First off let’s start with some quick math…

If you’re selling a subscription box at $49.99 per month, you only need about 170 customers to reach the $100,000 mark.

$100,000 / $49.99 = 2000

2000 / 12 months = 166.7 (but let’s just call it 170)

170 customers is not that many customers per year.

Assuming not everyone stays subscribed for the full year – you can probably comfortably assume that with 270 customers per year, at least 170 will stay on for the full year. If more do, then it’s icing on the cake.

So if you’re still with me – 270 customers per month with a $49.99 product is the sweet spot.  You’re going to do $100k or more in sales, assuming you have the follow 5 key pieces.

There are 5 crucial pieces to have a long term sustainable box:

You must be in an Evergreen Market

You must be in an Enthusiast Market

The box can’t just be a box – I needs to have something to do with other people, a meet up or a “quest”, or in the case of Explore Magazine an Adventure.

It needs to give people a reason to come back each month, and/or contain an item that needs replenished each month (ideally one that your market is already buying)
The box needs to create an opportunity for powerful bonding and emotion

Allow me to elaborate on each of these…

I first heard the term “Evergreen Market” from Ryan Levesque – I’m not 100% certain if he was the first to coin the term, but he was the first to bring it to my attention.

In it’s simplest form – an evergreen market is one that has been around for the past 50 years, and is highly likely to be around for the next 50 years.  A few examples could be, cars, fishing, or golf.

You can have a successful subscription box if it’s not in an evergreen market, but it may not last long.  If you’re whole business or a main chunk of it come from chasing a fad, it may not be there anymore when the fad is gone.  And I’ve seen that happen overnight…

The term enthusiast market is pretty self-explanatory, as well as virtually all enthusiast markets are also evergreen.  What really matters here is the psychological aspect – a great example of an enthusiast market would be the Cross Fit movement in fitness. People shape their entire lives around cross fit, they eat, sleep, and breathe it.

Fitness is an evergreen market – people have always wanted to (and will continue to want to) “look better”, but CrossFit is a specific niche in that market that people really dive into.

What do you mean by “it can’t just be a box”:

One incredible insight I learned from my interview with Ryan McKenzie was how his box connected to his audience.  Ironically, they didn’t realize how impactful it was to their audience until after they sold out of their initial launch.

Ryan’s box is a “gear box” that comes with some hiking and camping gear, as well as useful tools that can be used during a hike.

They took their gear box to the next level by adding “Quests” to it.
Along with the gear box you get access to:
– a private Facebook group where you can interact with other members
– an “adventure” to go on each month
– every item in the box has something to do with the “adventure”

– you can also meet up with other members in the group to do the “adventure”


For creating powerful bonding and emotion – I think it’s best summed up in a testimonial they received, which basically said “You can’t believe how happy my nephew was when he received this! He can’t wait to go on the adventure with his dad”

That’s powerful!

By setting out to create value for their customers, Explore’s Gear Box created the opportunity for a father and to create a lifelong memory together – creating a life changing and emotional impact.

That person is always going to be a loyal customer.


Last but not least – Give them a reason to come back each month:

Explore does this by have a new adventure each month, but you can also offer an tangible item that needs replaced each month – ideally something that the market is already buying.

A great example of this is the company Gear Supply – They have a monthly subscription for guitar picks and guitar strings.  For those of you that don’t play guitar – strings and picks (if you play often enough) should really be replaced weekly, monthly at a minimum (pending on how serious of a player you are).

The benefit is that you’ll never run out of picks or strings, you’ll always have a supply when you need them, and you don’t have to go to the store to pick them up.  They’ll be shipping right to your door.