October Nonprofit Spotlight

Happy Halloween, and thanks for checking out this month’s Nonprofit Spotlight!

If you’re new to this series, you can check out the heart behind these posts and learn more about some amazing nonprofits in our area if you explore the Spotlights from previous months. If you’re returning, welcome back! I am very excited to share this organization with you, because it comes recommended by my dear friend, Luciana. Read on to hear from her about an amazing organization which is close to so many hearts: Extra Special People!

What is Extra Special People?
Extra Special People is a non-profit organization in Watkinsville, GA that creates opportunities for people with disabilities and their families to engage, connect, and thrive.

How did you get involved?
Throughout my years in high school, I always helped out with our Special Ed. Dance, Special Olympics, a little league baseball team for kids with disabilities, and a few individuals with autism at my church. I really loved working with that population. Coming into college, I wanted to be involved with an organization as personal and impacting as these experiences I had were. It took me until my sophomore year to learn about this organization a few of my sorority sisters were involved with, called ESP, that worked directly with people with special abilities every single day! I decided to tag along one day to their afterschool programs as a volunteer and fell in love with the joy that the kids there radiate. Two and a half years later, this place still has my heart. After serving on the summer staff as a counselor this past year for the first time, I was blessed with the opportunity to come on as an intern, working now to continue the growth of ESP’s mission.

How does this organization meet the needs of our city?
ESP serves individuals with behavior disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and many more. Despite their disabilities, at ESP we focus on their abilities, and no child is turned away. We serve over 2000 individuals with developmental disabilities through our afterschool programs, summer camp, and family support. These give the kids a chance to participate in any sort of activity they might be interested in – cooking, swimming, theater, rock climbing, you name it – while also giving these full-time parents a community of support and a place they can trust, full of people who love loving their kids. Our participants learn how to grow in all the amazing abilities they have and love who they are, radiating their unique personalities throughout our community and touching the hearts of many.

If you could describe the organization in 5 words, what would they be?
joyful, welcoming, full-of-life, limitless, home

How can people get involved?
ESP could not do what we do and serve as many as we serve without the continuous support of our amazing volunteers! We have a volunteer network of over 1,400 people and growing at the rate we are, now more than ever, we are always in need of more hands. You can contact us with any questions you might have about getting involved via email at volunteer@extraspecialpeople.com or easily get directly plugged in to our volunteer network by making an account on our online portal at this link: https://givepul.se/wmvek
This keeps you in the know of all the upcoming events we have going on you can get involved with!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExtraSpecialPeople/

Website: http://extraspecialpeople.com/

Donate: http://extraspecialpeople.com/donate/

The Most Important Thing I Learned as a UGA Bus Driver

As a Campus Transit employee, you learn a lot of new things.

You learn what air brakes are, how to complete a pre-trip inspection, and how to navigate each of the university’s 15 bus routes, but the most important lesson I learned as a UGA bus driver has nothing to do with the mechanics of the job. During my 1.5 years as a driver, the most important thing I learned is when to step up in confidence, both in myself and in my abilities.

The first and most natural response I get when people learn of this work experience is usually: “You drove the bus? Isn’t that scary!”

At the beginning of my time as a driver, the answer was yes. Driving the bus was scary in the sense that I was operating a very heavy piece of machinery for hours on end around a campus full of tight turns and oblivious pedestrians.

This type of fear is not uncommon, though, so to help alleviate some of it UGA has an amazing student training program in which new drivers are paired with a trainer for a considerable amount of time before they are allowed out on the road by themselves. The problem I encountered is that once I became comfortable driving and it was my time to graduate from training, I did not want to give up that safety net of having an extra set of eyes watching the road and the pedestrians during my shifts.

It was not that I was unprepared to navigate the roads independently, as I had completed my training and had every necessary skill and resource under my belt to respond to the variability of driving a shift on any given day. My reluctance to drive without a trainer reflected a lack in confidence in myself and my abilities.

After I realized this truth, I knew that I had to take initiative and begin driving independently, confident that I could and would execute well. Of course, once I was out on the road alone, the process was no different than it had been my last few weeks with a trainer. I had learned the skill of bus driving, and I was ready to own it.

This lesson on confidence applies to much more than bus driving, as there are many instances in life where taking initiative is necessary. In some cases, one may not be in the position where immediately taking initiative is advised, such as when I first began driving and needed a trainer to teach me how to operate the bus; however, it is also the case that once this training period is complete, one should feel confident taking initiative due to the new skills and abilities gained.

Through these experiences, I have grown to love stepping up and putting skills I’ve learned into practice, as I feel much more comfortable taking initiative and confidently trusting in myself and my abilities. I never would have thought I could have learned this so concretely during my time at Campus Transit, but it definitely is the most important thing I learned as a UGA bus driver.

Have you had any experiences like this that have taught you to take initiative? I want to hear them! Tell me about them in the comments below.

September Nonprofit Spotlight

For any newcomers, this post is the third in a series that I share at the end of each month spotlighting different ATL-area nonprofits. I’ve started this series both out of a passion for nonprofit organizations and in response to a need I have observed in my community. In general, we all want to get involved with causes connected to our hometown, but sometimes it can be hard to find trusted, local nonprofits that support the cause we love. For this reason, I consult my friends and family at the end of each month to feature their favorite local nonprofits in the hopes that it will become even easier for us to find and support our ATL neighbors and causes we love.

This month’s Nonprofit Spotlight highlights 10 Women of Hope, an organization that was recommended by my boyfriend, Carson. Read on to find out more about this amazing organization and how you can get involved!

 

What is 10 Women of Hope?
10 Women of Hope is an non-profit organization run by 10 Women who have served the community of Georgia for years. They host events and fundraisers with local shop owners and artists to raise money for the organization.  All donations and money collected from these events are fully invested into the mission of 10 Women of Hope.  That mission is to provide one-time financial support for single-parent families in the Cobb county area who are in critical need of support.

How did you get involved?
I got involved with the organization because a couple of the 10 Women are family friends. When I was in high school, they asked me to assist them at their fundraisers by helping set up vendors, working valet and parking assistance, and filling in for any other support roles they needed.

How does this organization meet the needs of our city?
Most of the 10 Women have lived in and around the Cobb County area for  many years. They have recognized the need of many single-parent families in the area and they not only assist those in financial need, but they also support local business owners and vendors with their fundraising events like their annual Girls Night Out, which is happening this year on October 18th.

If you could describe the organization in 5 words, what would they be?
Passionate, Honest, Welcoming, Kind, Intentional

How can people get involved?
The best way to get involved is to visit 10womenofhope.org and click on the “Get Involved” tab to contact one of the 10 Women. You could also send them a letter to their PO Box address listed on the website stating your intent to get involved with one of their fundraising events.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/10womenofhope/

Website: http://10womenofhope.org

Donate: http://10womenofhope.org/make-a-donation/

Why I Am Excited for This Is Us Season 3, but Not Its Key Art

If you know me, you know that every ounce of my being is invested in the success of NBC’s hit drama, This Is Us; however, the season three key art has simply missed the mark. This post is in no way a commentary on Annie Leibovitz’s talent, as she is obviously an icon, but it is a commentary on the look and feel of the direction that the season three key art has taken.

When I think of This Is Us, some words that come to mind are: fresh, elegant, and timeless. The show has a unique way of uniting viewers from different generations and walks of life underneath the shade of its authentic and compelling storyline. The show’s characters walk through painful situations which mirror common realities of life, but the beauty of this process is that the characters are able to redeem those realities for viewers. This redemption is never overblown or outrageous, but rather it often comes about through subtle occurrences which contribute to an overall tapestry of events. This simplicity and authenticity sets This Is Us apart from the crowded content landscape of today that is increasingly complex and dark.

The key arts from previous seasons do a great job of capturing this authentic elegance while still conveying the show’s multiple storylines simultaneously. This accomplishment is no small task, as the more our society adopts minimalistic preferences, the quicker that understated key art is becoming the norm. Even so, the key art from the first two seasons of This Is Us captures the essence of the show in a beautiful way without compromising important details or characters in pursuit of aesthetics.

The same can not be said of the key art for season three. While I understand the family solidarity vibe in the foreground, and I can even appreciate the allusion to family trees/generations/“life goes on” growth in the background, the key art is overall lackluster. The image is crowded, generic, and stiff, and its lack of authenticity contributes to a stale and forgettable feel.

The image is noticeably posed and photoshopped, and this trait deviates from the candid moments featured in the key art of earlier seasons. Additionally, the overall tone of the key art comes across as repellingly melodramatic, and it is uncannily reminiscent of ’00s teen soap operas like One Tree Hill.

Overall, I am an *AVID* supporter of This Is Us, but I was surprisingly underwhelmed by the key art for this new season. While it is professional quality work, I do not feel that it is representative of the fresh, elegant, and timeless elements that make the show so special. Even so, I am counting down the days until the season premiere, as nothing can detract from my undying affection for the show or its characters.

What do you think about the new key art? Do you like the change in direction, or do you prefer the previous style? Let me know in the comments!

August Nonprofit Spotlight

It’s time for another Nonprofit Spotlight!

For those who are unfamiliar with this series, I have started to feature different ATL-area nonprofits at the end of every month when people are directing their monthly giving in the hopes that we will get better connected to all of the organizations doing amazing work right here in our own backyard. I choose the organizations I feature based off of recommendations from trusted friends and family, and my greatest wish is that someone, somewhere, may find a new local nonprofit to support!

So without further ado, here is the August Nonprofit Spotlight! This month’s organization is The Letter Project, and it comes recommended by my friend Rachael Dier.

What is The Letter Project?
 The Letter Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to foster a community of women who build one another up through collaboration, shared confidence and by spreading the love of the Lord. We are a group of 1,400+ women (across five continents!) writing to women and girls around the world. While The Letter Project is Christian affiliated, the UGA collegiate chapter is not – we are open to everyone!

How did you get involved?
 I first became involved with The Letter Project my sophomore year (Fall 2016) when I heard about it at Delight one Sunday. The nonprofit was newly started, and the founder (Whitney Saxon) was looking for some letter writers to get the program going. She was also looking for a social media intern, and while I had barely any experience working with social for someone other than a couple clubs, I took a leap of faith and applied. Soon after, Whit called me, we had a wonderful conversation (cause Whit is literally amazing) and I was hooked. I was the social intern for that year and then became the design intern that summer, working on an interactive map for their website and creating their logo they use today.

How does this organization meet the needs of our city?
 Our chapter fits the needs of UGA by creating a mission for women from different walks of life can unite around; regardless of what field of study or interests the letter writers have, they all connect over pouring their hearts out into letters and encouraging women around the world. We also write letters to specific organizations in the community, helping spread encouragement to at risk youth and young adults. Our organization helps provide letter writers a sense of agency in times where change can seem impossible.

If you could describe the organization in 5 words, what would they be? 
Empowering women around the world.

How can people get involved? 
To become a letter writer, you can either become a member of our organization (email ugatlp@gmail.com!) or go to the nonprofit’s website (www.toloveourselves.com) and fill out a letter writer form! (I’ve linked it below) https://www.toloveourselves.com/be-a-letter-writer/
Instagram: @toloveourselves
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theletterproject/
Website: https://www.toloveourselves.com
Donate: https://www.toloveourselves.com/sponsor/

Detail the Disney Way

As a lifelong Disney fanatic, I can admit that I am biased when it comes to talking about The Happiest Place On Earth and everything that goes along with it. Even so, it is undeniable that Disney has perfected the art of detail, especially so in the midst of our experience-driven culture.

Even beyond the obvious experiential elements of the parks, Disney invites consumers to engage with its brand in many creative, yet unexpected ways. Their unprecedented mastery of omnichannel marketing enables them to relate to consumers personally, and their dedicated attention to detail elevates all of their efforts.

A prime example of this idea is found in Disney’s Magic Bands, which are bracelets worn by park-goers that can serve as tickets to the parks, keys to on-property hotel rooms, and methods of payment. I like to think of these bands as the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines of the theme park world, as they not only allow for enhanced, personalized consumer experiences, but also for valuable data collection. Magic Bands are a perfect snapshot of Disney’s omnichannel acumen, as they seamlessly integrate desktop, mobile, and physical efforts.

What really intrigues me about these bands, though, is that they are not only functional, but they are also prized within the Disney fan community. Because Disney is so dedicated to detail and meeting the needs of their consumers, the company is able to transform a data collection tool into a product their consumers actually want.

Rather than taking the easy way out and implementing data collection in a serious or threatening manner, Disney takes the time to design and perfect the Magic Bands, and now many of their consumers actually collect the bands for sentimental reasons. It is a sign of success that consumers are not wary of a company’s new approach to an old process, but rather they themselves champion it. Much like Seth Godin’s “Tribes” concept, the Disney park-goers advocate for Disney without being asked, as just a quick look on the website Etsy will reveal small business owners selling Magic Band display racks, or personalized decals for the bracelets, simply out of affection for Disney and the bands. 

Overall, it is Disney’s omnichannel success and dedication to detail that continues to propel the company forward as a leader in the industry, and it will be very exciting to see what the company produces next.

What do you think about Magic Bands? Do you think they are creative or invasive? Let me know in the comments!

Featured Photo by Travis Gergen on Unsplash

July Nonprofit Spotlight

I am the first person to advocate for far-reaching organizations with the ability to do incredible things on a large scale, but there is something to be said for supporting organizations that are meeting the needs of your very own state, in your very own city.

I really believe that most people agree with that sentiment and enjoy the idea of supporting local nonprofits, but I can sympathize with the argument that it’s tough to know where to begin when the end of the month rolls around and your well-intentioned tithe or allocated giving is looking for a direction to go.

For this reason, I am going to start spotlighting different Atlanta-area nonprofits at the end of each month in the hopes that it will become even easier to find and support our ATL neighbors and causes we love. Rather than telling you what Google already could, though, I will be collecting recommendations of organizations from trusted friends and family by way of a short series of questions about the nonprofit and their personal experiences with it.

First up is Mission: Hope, an organization with which my dear friend Megan is interning this summer. Keep reading to learn more about what this organization is doing both abroad and right in our backyard + how you can get involved!

 

What is Mission: Hope?
Mission: Hope is a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. We equip leaders and churches globally to bring about sustainable change in difficult to reach villages.
Our process looks like assessing the needs and vulnerabilities of a village & listening and understanding the local people and their culture. We then create a comprehensive strategy to meet the unique needs of the village. After, we implement that strategy and monitor it to ensure long term success. Our mission is to empower individuals in a community through creating holistic and lasting transformation. Every village is unique and requires a strategy customized for their challenges. This could include implementing cutting edge practices in our 8 areas of focus: church mobilization, clean water, disaster resilience, education, financial stability, food and agriculture, health and wellness, and human trafficking. We currently work in remote villages in Nicaragua, Bali, Papua, Dominican Republic and China.

How did you get involved?
Mission: Hope used to be called Rivers of the World (ROW), my dad has been on the board for several years and this organization began to truly be a part of my life as my passion for global missions aligned with taking a short trip to work in the DR with ROW. From there, I knew that God’s purpose for my life includes in some way shape or form being involved in global missions. I accepted an internship with the organization this summer and the experience has been an amazing one.

How does this organization meet the needs of our city?
Mission: Hope not only works globally, but on a local level as well. Our office is based at the City of Refuge, a light in a community with some of the most vulnerable families and people in Atlanta, Georgia. A couple years ago Mission: Hope decided to begin a program called The 1:8 Experience based off of Acts 1:8. It is a physical resource to help people live out the Great Commission and Great Commandment both locally and globally. It is a program that offers interactive learning and serving experiences where participants can see first hand what material poverty looks like in an urban Atlanta setting as well as the countries Mission: Hope serves. People leave this experience with a better understanding of both local and global poverty, a growing relationship with God and an action plan to make a difference.

If you could describe the organization in 5 words, what would they be?
Hopeful, Holistic, Transformative, Strategic, Family

How can people get involved?
The first step to getting involved is to follow us on social media! Our Instagram and Facebook page will give you a better understanding of who we are as an organization and what we do. Check out our website www.missionhope.org and sign up for our email list to receive updates and news about our programs. The second way to get involved is to sign up for The 1:8 Experience with your local church, small group, or just a group of people passionate to learn about missions both globally and locally.

Instagram: @missionhopeorg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MissionHopeOrg/

Website: www.missionhope.org

Donate: https://donate.missionhope.org/give/160707/#!/donation/checkout

 

 

The Current King of Key Art

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you should be able to judge a show by its key art. If done well, key art can serve as the perfect snapshot into a series and accurately communicate elements of a show such as mood, character personalities, and more.

So, as one might imagine, the creation of key art is no small task. And, in an increasingly connected world, it is becoming more important that key art not only be visually powerful and appealing, but it also be versatile in application. As writer Margaret Andersen articulates in a piece for AIGA Eye on Design, working in entertainment design today means “producing imagery that will remain equally intriguing at the scale of a billboard or the size of a thumbnail on our laptops and cellphones.” To this point, one can achieve the most efficient use of dollars if key art is visually striking no matter where it is viewed, but even with a large budget accomplishing such a task is not entirely intuitive.

With this truth in mind, the question becomes: What goes into making great key art?

The answer to this question can vary across genres, but there are some elements of key art that are proving to be universally effective in 2018. Utilizing high contrast, a clean aesthetic, and contrasting colors has worked well for many companies in terms of key art design this year, but there are some companies who rise to the top when it comes to success.

If I could pick one company that has consistently produced effective key art this year, my answer would unequivocally be Netflix. The company has demonstrated its creative acumen through multiple original series key arts, and they produce simple and clean images without compromising power or communication.

For example, the key art for the newest season of Arrested Development is simple, clean, and high contrast, but it still showcases character personalities and relevant props in a way that communicates important elements about the show. Likewise, the key art for the new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt captures the same elements with a more detailed background while avoiding appearing busy or cluttered. Both of these key arts are visually appealing for a variety of applications and would be effective on a myriad of devices.

 

On the other hand, there are companies incorrectly applying successful principles in a way that causes their key are to be less effective. For example, staying within the comedy genre, the key art for Freeform’s new series Alone Together has a simple design, but no high contrast colors. This leads the images to overall appear lackluster and forgettable, rather than creative and eye-catching.

Overall, Netflix is consistently producing creative, diverse, and appealing key art, and for this reason I believe the company is a leader in the industry and currently the King of Key Art.

4 Tips for Friendship

I am the Grinch once he realizes the true meaning of Christmas when it comes to women’s ministry— and by that I mean that when you start talking about women’s ministry, my heart grows 3x its size.

In all seriousness, I have a huge heart for women, and I really believe in the power of female friendships. It’s so clear to me that something special happens when Christ-loving women gather— whether they are gathering for worship or even just gathering for (yet another) overpriced coffee. Especially in college, though, the pressure to meet what will become lifelong friends feels unusually high, and it leaves a lot of us scrambling or cracking under the pressure. Even though I’ve made my share of heart-wrenching mistakes, having godly girlfriends has quite literally changed my life, so I wanted to share some lessons I’ve learned on how to make and keep these kinds of friendships.

 

1. Be Where You Are

I’ve had the opportunity to answer one question for many different friendship-seeking girls, and that one question which always seems to get asked after talking about my friendship journey is: “Where do you meet these people?!” While I understand the intent, I don’t particularly like this question, because the truth is that no one has the all-access key to a far-off secret club of good friendships— the place you meet lifelong, life-giving friendships is right where you are.

I think the perfect example of this idea is shown through my relationship with Megan, a friendship which is one of the deepest and most life-giving I’ve ever had. Megan and I met through Delight our second year at UGA (after successfully working through the unglamorous right of passage that is freshman year), and we both rejoiced because Delight delivered yet again on its promise to gather a community of Jesus-loving women; however, what Megan and I didn’t know is that we had already been gathered somewhere else before either one of us even knew that Delight existed.

Despite the thousands of faces and sprawling campus of UGA, before Megan and I were ever introduced at Delight, we lived in the same freshman dorm on exact same hall. We had met before, but even when we both began to falter later in the year, praying fervently for friendships in the thick of our freshman struggle, we didn’t even consider leaning into where the Lord had already placed us and what the Lord had already given us by simply reaching out to a likeminded girl on our hall. We both felt we had to go to Delight to solve our lack of community issue, since it was a formally established community, but the truth is that we could have found a piece of the same community right next door.

I say all of this to say that I deeply believe there are lifelong friends to be found where you are, wherever you are, so be where you are and trust in the Lord who supplies every need.

 

2. Be the Invitation

If you’ve leaned into where you are and identified some women who share similar interests or values, but your text messages remain empty while your timeline fills up with pictures of other friends out at dinner, I suggest that instead of waiting for an invitation to friendship you be the invitation.

We are all humans here, and other women love to be included in plans just as much as you do. It is scary to be vulnerable, and asking a person you just met to get ice cream with you one night isn’t entirely within most people’s comfort zones, but I promise that they are a human person that will respond positively to an invitation of friendship and not the judgy monster that many of us paint in our heads.

So, while I can testify to the comfort that solitary Netflix and dark chocolate covered pretzels brings, I urge you all to step outside your comfort zone and ask a loose connection to lunch. In Delight, we encourage you to hang out with one person you don’t know every week, and I can truthfully say that I have never regretted those times, despite the “sacrifices” (read: less Netflix) they may require.

 

3. Say Yes

On the flip side, in addition to being the invitation, it is just as important to accept the invitation. I am the guiltiest party when it comes to crafting excuses and exit strategies that allow me a beeline back to my comfort zone should anything stretch me beyond my perceived limits, but I have learned that I am so much happier when I simply say “Yes.”

If a friend invites me somewhere I’m not sure I will enjoy— or if I’m invited somewhere I will enjoy but I’m not sure I will like the friend— I’ve learned, and am still learning, to say Yes with no exit strategies. In the grand scheme of things, giving up one hour to make a real-life connection to another human is a pretty good deal, and often times your comfort zone is bigger than you assume.

Some of my closest friendships today can all be traced back to a simple Yes early on in our relationship, and even though that initial Yes might have been hard to say, they only get easier and easier as time goes on. I still laugh with Jessica about it to this day, but when I met her for the first time I remember thinking (aka judging) that we would never be friends. There was no sound logic behind it, but something inside of me told me that she and I were not compatible and that pursuing friendship with her was a waste of time. Well, add that assumption to the long lists of ones I’ve gotten wrong, because I will be moving in with Jessica in just a few short weeks!

So, the next time that girl texts you asking to study together after class, or grab lunch after church, or go with her to the gym… say Yes!! You never know if deep friendship is waiting just around the corner.

 

4. Focus on Others

I have to call it back to the good ole Golden Rule for this one, but only because it’s true! If you behave like the friend you want to have, the friendships you want won’t be far away.

Even though this is true and potentially self explanatory, I feel like I should dive in a little deeper because I had some wires crossed with this idea when I first started practicing it. Focusing on others isn’t something you do one time and then give up, and it also isn’t something that you do in expectation of reward. It isn’t easy, and it really isn’t glamorous, but I promise it’s worth it. Living selflessly in friendships is a privilege because we get the chance to serve others and love them the way Jesus does, and as is true with many other gospel-centered ideas, when you give love away you don’t lose any of your own.

This means staying up late to hear what’s on a friend’s mind (and really listening) even though you have commitments the next day. It means meeting her for coffee and buying hers even though you might have used that money on yourself. It means calling out beautiful and true things in her even when you might be deeply longing for those things to be true of yourself.

 

Well, there you have it! Just some scattered ideas from the depths of my brain, and 4 lessons I’ve learned about friendships that may improve the state of your own. This is by no means a one-size-fits all situation, so if anything sits wrong with you I encourage you to pray about it and potentially ignore me completely! But I deeply hope that I’ve been able to encourage you in some way about this topic that is so important to all of us. In hindsight, 4 is kind of an odd number to select for this type of list, so maybe one day I’ll be savvy enough to come up with 5. But until then, I hope you enjoyed reading and that the biggest, brightest, most colorful friendships are headed your way!

 

What things have I missed? Let me know another tip you have learned from a lifetime of friend-making in the comments below!

Why are Subscription Services so Successful?

In an age where consumers can subscribe to regular services which send products to their doorsteps with the click of a button, the door is opened to a whole myriad of creative ideas, namely subscription box services. The companies that offer such services are popping up left and right, and they are all racing to the fore in an attempt to position themselves as convenient essentials in the lives of consumers. With options serving interests ranging from staple products like razors, to more obscure wants like bacon, it is increasingly impossible to think of a product that does not have a subscription box equivalent.

In the midst of this subscription-box-mania, I began to ponder the value behind these services, as despite their popularity they are often criticized as frivolous or overpriced. I began to wonder, what makes these boxes “worth it” to consumers, even those that apprehend their faults?

Many factors come into play when answering this question, but one factor I propose as influential is that these types of services are a digital solution to a physical problem. In our time-poor society, consumers in general feel that they physically do not have enough time in their day to accomplish everything they want to get done. This belief conceivably leads to less visits to pet food stores, drugstores, or retail stores than consumers would prefer. If the level of visits do remain constant, then it stands to reason that consumers’ frustration has increased, as they are now required to use valuable time for tasks which are redundant and mundane. I believe that these sentiments give rise to the affection surrounding subscription boxes, as they function to bring consumers not only the products they need in a convenient way, but they also create an exciting sense of customization that is unavailable in brick-and-mortar stores.

For example, pet supply subscription services allow animal owners to get the supplies they need in thirty seconds online, rather than in thirty minutes at the store. Razor subscription services ensure that one never has to take the time to run to the drugstore last-minute, should they be in need of a new razor. Also, as a personal example, I rarely shop for clothes, but occasionally I need new pieces for special events. Rather than spend all day browsing retail clothing stores, I subscribe to a subscription service called Stitch Fix. This company sends me clothes tailored to my size and preferences as frequently as I request, and it allows me to obtain new pieces for special events without spending even a minute searching for them.

These types of benefits are what I believe make subscription boxes so attractive. They are both practical and exciting, and they offer a sense of customization that engages consumers in ways which traditional shopping formats cannot. When I add a note to my Stitch Fix subscription that next month is my birthday and I would like something to wear for it, their algorithms and stylists deliver pieces they feel I would like right to my door. This personalized experience actually requires less effort on my end, as I do not have to sacrifice a whole day wandering around stores (potentially returning empty handed), and I can spend more time studying, working, or hanging out with friends while still getting clothing items for my events.

Overall, in a time-poor society, digital solutions like subscription boxes are beginning to gain a lot of steam due to their convenience and creativity. What do you think about them? Do you subscribe to any? Let me know in the comments!