‘Tis the season to be busting your ass trying to get your house ready for Thanksgiving. That means making sure your mother-in-law is sufficiently impressed with your food and home décor choices not to offer a passive-aggressive suggestion on how you can do better next year. (Side note: I’m not being sexist. Men and women both hate passive-aggressive in-laws.)
Enter Birchbox, which announced Thursday that it will now be offering a special edition box for cooking, design, and entertaining. Each box contains party accessories, home décor products, kitchen tools, and food items. The boxes feature items from top lifestyle and home designers like Jonathan Adler, Dean and Deluca, and Paperless Post.
Birchbox Home differs from Birchbox’s other offerings in a couple of key ways. For starters, it’s on the high end of the pricing spectrum at $58. But it’s not a subscription offering, so users aren’t committing to spending $58 a month. Instead, Birchbox customers buy individual boxes—and they can take their pick of a Limited Edition Home box with sugar (featuring gourmet sugar from Chambre du Sucre), or a Home box with playing cards—which presumably includes playing cards.
So instead of spending $10 a month for trial sized beauty products, you’re spending $58 for a box of full-sized home and kitchen products.
In addition to the new Home box, Birchbox is also launching a new limited edition Home store on the Birchbox site. Categories include Bar & Entertaining, Décor, Food, Home Fragrance, Kitchen, and Tabletop, and products range from fancy pants items like black truffle oil from Sabatino & Co. ($26 for 3.2 ounces), to red velvet whoopie pie mix for $9. Each box is worth some $140, and Birchbox is offering free shipping (score!) on all orders over $25 until December 31.
It’s an interesting departure for Birchbox, which has hitherto focused on the subscription angle. In fact, I can’t say I’ve seen this particular version of the box-o-stuff retail model elsewhere, since it doesn’t contain samples and it doesn’t come with the option of returning what you don’t want.
Other retailers who offer non-subscription discovery box options—particularly those in apparel and accessories—will give consumers the option of sending back what they don’t want, so shoppers get the best of both worlds: discovery and control. Think Trunk Club for men or CakeStyle for women. But how do you do that with whoopie pie mix?
The new vertical comes just in time for the holiday season. Walmart launched its own subscription shopping offering this week with Goodies Co., a product of @WalmartLabs. Unlike Birchbox Home, Goodies Co. focuses exclusively on food, with each box containing samples of unique treats for $7 a month.
Birchbox has made a name for itself in high end beauty products, and in April it branched out to men’s hygiene with the launch of Birchbox Man. The company acquired French counterpart JolieBox in September.