Subscription boxes have become my latest guilty pleasure.
Somehow I managed to convince myself that it’s not really shopping if you get it routinely deducted from your credit card, without you actually having to go back in and click ‘Make Payment’ each time.
Anyway, right now I’m subscribed to a few foreign-based boxes, but have long ruminated on the feasibility of a locally-based subscription box, specifically one that carried locally-made items.
I was happy then, to receive an invitation to the launch of diemBox, a subscription service which positions itself as the Caribbean’s premiere subscription box service.
The launch was originally carded for July 24, which, if your memory is sharp, you’ll recall is the day POS thought it was going to burn…but then didn’t. Ie, POS Prison jailbreak day. So everyone cancelled all their evening plans, save for the usual Avenue rats who fear nothing, not even gun-toting prison escapees.
The launch got postponed to the following Sunday and I was unable to attend because I went to CPL finals instead *record scratch*. More on that another day.
Elena of diemBox was kind enough to deliver my box to me at work, so I could bask in the glory of the first of the ‘Caribbean-inspired’ monthly offerings.
According to the description, each box is carefully curated based on a monthly theme, which embodies life in the Caribbean.
Cost: $60USD per month; with free shipping for addresses within T&T. Regional/International subscribers will incur an additional shipping cost.
Note however that there are different costs depending on the length of subscription you take.
The information card I received with the box listed the items and their retail value:
MIKASA Stemless Wine Glass – $163TTD
MG Oolong Tea – $138TTD (Wasn’t included in the box I received)
Immortelle Beauty Esscentials Shower Gel – $69TTD
Bottega Mini Black 200ml – $59TTD
Anigram Ring Holder – $95TTD (Mine was a whale. I saw others got giraffes and rabbits)
Porcelain Ramekin – $45TTD
Stonewall Kitchen Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam 3.75 oz – $45TTD
MACO – $44TTD
Total Retail Value of items: $658TTD
Note: I received a Cailyn Nailpolish – which I priced in Starlite Pharmacy at $20TTD (This was not listed on the info card, so I presume it was a last minute replacement for the Oolong Tea).
I think the assumption most people made/are making (myself included) is that this box was supposed to be a box of locally-made products.
Not so…as diemBox clearly states on their website and all social media profiles…it’s a Caribbean-inspired box.
I think this is a good first attempt at a Caribbean-based subscription service.
I’m not unreasonable…I know a service like this is expensive to curate, especially since we here in the Caribbean don’t have the benefit of mass-produced items to pop into subscription boxes.
However, that’s not the consumer’s concern. The consumer’s concern is whether they’re getting value for money.
Value is a pretty abstract concept. It’s not just dollars and cents; it’s the intrinsic benefit added to your life by a product or service, and that’s very subjective.
Would I pay $60USD per month for this box? Not based on the contents of the first box. And that’s not a dig at the quality of the items…they’re very good quality, tastefully designed products. Would I use all of them? Sure!
Like…I love me some prosecco any day of the week, and Bottega is the bomb…that ring holder is adorable…I never realised I needed a ramekin until I got this box (not even kidding)…Immortelle Beauty body wash went straight into my gym bag.
My real issue is that I want more locally made products. If this box included even two or three more locally made items, I would happily pay the asking price.
I must note that I have seen a concerted effort on the part of Elena and her team to get more local artisans on board with the project.
Hopefully this will encourage more local artisans to actually produce more of their goods in sample sizes, so it can be economically feasible for them to contribute to the box.
I’ll be monitoring the contents of the next few months’ boxes to see how the curation progresses.
Let me emphasize again – in terms of product quality and retail value…this box is worth the money. But if you’re looking for something you truly can’t get from a foreign subscription box, it’s not all the way there yet.
I encourage you to check out diemBox for yourself though, and decide whether this is a box you’re willing to try.