January Monthly Subscriptions Update
It's okay to try something... and have it not work.
Failure – something no one likes, and even fewer people like to talk about.
I did go into launching subscription boxes with reasonable expectations. I figured I'd get a few to start and grow from there. Usually when I send out new product emails, I get a feel pretty quickly about how a product is going to do based on clicks and sales. This was the same with the subscription boxes - except it was radio silence.
I could see folks viewing my website, but nothing. No sales, no signups... just nothing. As a small business owner that is one of your worst nightmares - my heart sank. As the days rolled on, it became very clear that I swung for the fence and struck out this time.
Now, a little over a week after launch, I still have exactly zero subscriptions. Some people may have considered that a total failure, but I chose to look at is an opportunity to make some changes. There are many reasons that it could have flopped – it’s right after the gift-giving holidays and money is tight for example. Maybe I didn’t talk about it enough on social media. Maybe it was that the boxes weren’t good enough (or that people didn’t like the theme, but come on, who doesn’t love dogs in sweaters?!). So with that I looked at my product costs again and decided to completely go back to square one.
Running with the theory about price versus product, I immediately knew I needed to scale back the offerings. Instead of multi-levels, I now have two options: a sticker club and a magnet club. Both with one product each. By making this change, the price points are now able to be very affordable:
Sticker Club: $5.00/month + Free Shipping (Retail Value: $5.75)
Magnet Club: $9.00/month + Free Shipping (Retail Value: $11.75)
I also, for the time being, disabled the multi-month prepay discounts. To be honest, I knew those were pre-mature when I launched, but you never know what people are thinking and I do have a solid group of returning customers every month, so maybe they’d take the leap.
Practicality of two designs
Another good thing to come from this is the practicality of only two designs. When I first was getting ready to launch, I knew that 4 illustrations a month was a huge goal, but I want to push myself to create more this year. However, two unique illustrations are probably a better start. Sometimes failure can be self-inflicted by putting your target too high to actually reach. Can I do 4 illustrations per month all year, sure – this is my full-time job after all. However, what if I get artist’s block? What if I take on a freelance project? What if…? Two illustrations per month is more manageable for all the “What ifs?” that may (or may not) happen this year.
This is also much more doable if I continue to get no subscribers. Obviously, at some point I will consider this idea a total loss if no one gets on board with art subscriptions. But at least for now I have a plan to move forward, and hopefully this time I won’t fail.