#127 - In this week's episode of Subscription Box Basics, Julie and Renae will give you a recap, highlight and special takeaways about the Sub Summit 2022.
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So you wanna launch a subscription box and don't know where to start. Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach, and your host here at subscription box basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun.
Hey everybody. Welcome back to subscription box basics with Julie Ball. I'm your host. And I have my business bestie Renee Gonzalez with me today. And we are going to do a recap of sub summit. Yes, I know it's been a couple weeks since sub summit happened, but there's been a lot going on between then and now. So we're gonna break it down. Renee. Welcome back to the podcast.
I am so excited to be back and so excited to get to chat with you again, after we got to hang out in person,
I know I miss you already and you guys, we're gonna have Renee on the podcast more often moving forward. She has so many great ideas and I do not want to hold her back from you. So you'll be hearing from Renee a lot more often in the future, but for now, we're gonna walk through our week in Orlando just to like talk through it, tell you some of our takeaways, some of the high points and, um, just to relive it. So for those of you who went to sub summit, what a treat it was to meet you in person. That is just one of my favorite things. I know, um, Renee and I both thrive in community. And so when we get to be in person and like hug and high five, you like, it just brings us so much joy. Am I right?
Cannot agree more. And, and meeting people, whether it's, you've just had one relationship or one point of contact online with them, or you've worked with them for years online, but haven't got to meet them in person. It just, that event is always so special on that alone to get to connect with new people and people you haven't met in person before it was such a good week.
Yes. So first let's just start off by giving the sub team a huge high five, like as usual they put on an amazing event, it was so well organized. It was so professionally done. There was just a hint of humor in it everywhere, which is very typical of them. They make it a lot of fun and they made it really easy to be a part of not only in person, but online as well. They had an awesome app. Um, the sub summit app allows you to actually like plan your schedule. It allows you to, um, view online, like stream online, the events, all of the presentations, and it allows you to connect with people. I made a lot of connections on the app of someone who said, oh, I missed your session, but I wanted to connect with you. And so huge high five to the entire sub team.
They know Julie and I are their biggest fans. We are, we are lifers they're. They always put on a good show and a good conference. And it is something where you take so much home and you learn, but you really feel like you're, you're part of a family, a subscription family when you're there. Yes,
It does really feel like part of a family. So we pretend that we're on staff too. And we like pop into their war room and we, we just have so much fun with them. So loved being able to spend some time with them. So Renee and I got to the resort in Orlando, Florida, it was the Swan and dolphin hotel and it was a beautiful resort, like way they way out did themselves this year, because there's so much built in stuff there, you know, with the restaurants, the coffee shop, um, they have several pools and pool bars, cabanas. We got familiar with those didn't we,
We sure had good drinks. Yeah. So
Yeah, it was so great being at this beautiful resort. We had, um, nice weather. And so we got out there on Tuesday, the actual event didn't start till Wednesday, but Renee and I got there on Tuesday. Highly recommend that if you are going to an event, if you can go a day early, it allows you to just kind of decompress. It allows you to get the lay of the land plan out your days. And we, we, we had a chance to have a little fun in the sun with some of our closest subscription box friends like Jessica from all girls shave club, Sam and Jonathan from the pink envelope, Becky from brave crate. And it was just so much fun, like laying in the sun, drinking some free beverages and just hanging out with friends. So highly recommend you go a day early if you're planning on going to an in-person event.
And we know it is not always possible. And Julie and I haven't always been able to do this. I think it was, was it Denver at the beginning, we used to show up and, and there's those years or those events where you have to show up and you have to just hit the ground running, but it really does make such a difference, even if you don't have to adjust to time zones or, or, but just to really have that time to decompress and really shift your focus from whatever you're focusing on when you're at home, whether it's your business or your family to really have a little downtime before you dive into the conference or event or whatever you're you're traveling for for business
Agreed. It's that whole like work hard, play hard mentality, you know, where we knew we were gonna be working hard. So we wanted to get there a little bit early so that we could relax in advance and plus Renee and I live on opposite sides of the country. We don't get to spend that much time together in person. So this was an opportunity for us to just spend the day together.
I don't know if you were, you might have just about to then to say this too, but something else we did on day two, but before the event started is we were able to take pictures together. Oh yeah. Both just posed and in front, uh, or, and, um, posed and casual pictures that we can now use for our business. So we did a little mock photo shoot too. So that is something, if you're able to get to an event early or have a break in event that definitely can help your business and something you don't think to do. Cuz Julie and I have worked together now for five years. And when we go to pull pictures, even after having professional pictures taken together, we realized we hadn't had photos together. So that was something we were able to do before the event even kicked off too.
Yeah. And she's not talking about a professional photo shoot here. We just grabbed a couple friends. It was Jessica and Becky and we did, uh, like a quick photo shoot informal with them. We literally walked across the street and went to a different hotel because they had a, a really great, um, lobby that we could do some group shots at. And we did the same thing for them. So they got some pictures together because their business partners with the, um, subscription box planner. And so it worked out really well. It was, it took us what maybe 45 minutes to an hour. And now we have all these fun shots that even though they're not professional, we just use our iPhones and they turned out really, really good. You'll be seeing them on the social media, um, at subscription box bootcamp. Those feeds very shortly here.
So that was our official day one. But the official sub summit day one was actually not till Wednesday. So let's, let's go through the day on Wednesday, we had our first official event for sub summit was to do a live broadcast of this very podcast. And it was so much fun to do it in front of a live audience. That was the first time we had ever done that. And you guys showed up. I was so impressed with how many people came and I had a great conversation with Caroline from my subscription addiction. Now, if you haven't heard of MSA or you haven't heard this podcast episode yet, just go back. One episode, we posted it last week,
Okay. Episode 1 26. You guys go listen to that. If you haven't already and take action, because MSA is a great place for you to grow your subscription box business and it's free to list. She gives us all of the information in that podcast episode and in the show notes to make sure that you go back and listen to that one. So we did that, um, live broadcast. I was a little bit nervous. I'll be honest because I had, like I said, never done that before we were on this short, like little bit elevated stage. And guys, I had not met Caroline prior to that. We legit had 10 minutes in advance of the podcast to get to know each other, but she was such an amazing podcast guest and fun fact. It was her first ever podcast episode that she was on and she nailed it.
So again, go listen to that. We had tons of fun. Thank you to Subta for allowing us to do that live at the event. And then on Wednesday, um, they also did the opening ceremonies, which was our always super fun. You get to meet the sub to team and they kinda give you a good preview of what to expect. And that evening was the pitch competition. So even though Wednesday was just a half day, I feel like there was so much excitement. And just the fact of like everyone meeting each other in person, there was just the like really, really good vibe.
I couldn't agree more. And just to give people who weren't there a timeframe. So it started at one o'clock and then it was over by five 30. So you were still able to get a good dose of learning in, you were still able to connect with people. Like Julie mentioned those events that we went to that happened, and she did, but you could still use that evening to do something on your own or they had, um, other companies or organizations that had scheduled things that night too, that you could go to if you wanted, or you could still have the night off for yourself if you needed.
Yeah. And so <laugh> Wednesday night, we also had our first dose of like pre presentation jitters because Renee and I were presenting first thing Thursday morning. And we're gonna tell you about that in a minute, but we decided to, you know, call it a night sort of early because we wanted to go back to our hotel room and practice. We had to tighten up our presentation. We wanted to work on a few of our dance, moves details shortly <laugh>. But, um, a lot of people ended up, you know, going out to dinner with other people or just going, hanging out at the pool and stuff. So there was plenty of things to do, but Renee and I called it an early night so that we could be well rested and practiced for the morning. So let's fast forward to Thursday morning. Our presentation was what, 9:30 AM. I think it was
Yeah. Nine 30. Yeah,
Right in early. And, um, while we never promised that it would be the most professional presentation, we did promise that it would be super fun and it would bring the hype. And I kind of feel like that's why Subta put us early in the morning, on the longest day of the summit so that we could like help wake people up and just like get that hype going. Um, because it was a very long, exciting day. So Renee, where do we even begin to talk about our performance? I mean, presentation
Yes. If, if you missed out, I feel like you missed out, but, but do not worry. Cuz Julie and I already have talked about, we talked about retention tactics and it was something that both Julie and I, um, have a lot of knowledge in feel passionate about, but we wanted like Julie mentioned to bring the fun and bring the hype cuz we knew it was a long day. So we did it with music in mind and we did an MTV spring break style, top 10 countdown. So we did top 10 retention tactics and you're like, what does that mean? You might be thinking we had each tactic related to a song so we had 10 songs and all of them, we could pull back and have it relate to a tactic that we told our audience about.
Exactly. So a quick example would be a win back campaign. And remember that song. I want you back. I mean, you, you know that we've gotta bring boy bands in when we can. And so that's an example of how we did this top 10 countdown. Well, long story short, it ended up as pretty much like you could either call it name that tune or it could be karaoke because what happened guys was there was a concern with the song copyright infringement. Like there, we had done our research. We knew that we could use very short snippets of these songs, but the AV team was a little bit concerned that it would cut the live stream. And so what happened was the first few songs played their little snippet and then would give our little presentation on like how, how to, um, work on that type of retention or, you know, give them ex give our audience examples of how to like practically work on that.
Well, I think it must have been what the fourth or the fifth one, the music started cutting out and would get like one or maybe two seconds. Well, the first time it happened, I've got my mic in hand and I'm singing, right. Cuz I like to sing. I'm not shy. I don't need to have any alcohol to do karaoke. Like that's just who I am. I'll dance the night away with not a drop of alcohol and the music cuts out and I'm still singing and I'm like, okay, this is gonna be awkward. Let's all just lean in on it. And what was so cool was our audience was so amazing that it was almost like name that tune as they would get one little second of the song, that'd all start singing with us. And I just remember very specifically our last retention tip was, um, offer a superior product and we used the song simply the best by Tina Turner.
And I just remember saying in the mic, you're simply the best. And then everyone in the audience like yell, singing back to me, you're better than all of the rest. And it was just so fun. I was really impressed with how everyone would just like kind of roll with the punches and, and bring it, you know, they were, they were having so much fun. We ended up singing on stage, um, be whether it's good or bad, we all had so much fun. And I love that one of our audience members, um, from the enthusiastic neighbor box, she said that she felt inspired by the way we had technical difficulties, but we just pushed through it. And that, that gave her confidence in if she were to ever have technical difficulties, um, while public speaking or, you know, on a Facebook live or whatever. So I don't know if it was the most professional thing, but I swear we had so much fun. We were clapping and singing and our audience was right there with us. So I, and I gotta say thanks to the audience for that
A hundred percent, the audience and Julie, I had already mentioned this to you after it happened. But I feel like for me too, because of the audience's response and how well it, like they sang longer some of the songs than we had even had little snippets, it allowed me to really be in the moment and I feel like, yeah, usually, and you might know everyone listening to, I feel like when you are giving a presentation or you're up on stage, you almost black out like you, you, it ends and you're like, what just happened? Yeah. What, what did I just do? But from I, I vividly can recall the presentation and what happened and how, how we performed and how our audience performed because it was so awesome. I I'm getting like chills. It was, it was such a cool experience being there on stage and having the audience interact with us and there being a little hiccup, but being able to just keep on moving with it. and like you said, definitely not the most professional, uh, presentation at sub summit, but we hope our audience had fun and learned a little bit because we definitely had fun and learned to roll with the punches.
Yeah. I, I definitely got a lot of, um, good feedback from the use cases and the retention tips that we got. So at least that stuff like it stuck with them. And I, I heard some very specific people saying, when you said this, it reminded me I could do this with, I'm gonna try that winback campaign or I'm gonna try this. And then at the end, um, we GA gave everyone a link to a Spotify playlist and we'll be sure to share that with you guys, um, of the songs that will help you work on your retention. And it's just, you know, you guys know Renee and I enough already that we really want to spike that joy meter. We wanna make sure that we're having fun in our business. And one thing that can really help us focus and have fun is music. And so that's why we ultimately chose, um, music as kind of the way to deliver this information.
But then at the end we gave a playlist so that when you're working on your retention, you have these songs to kind of hype you up to help you remember what you're working on. And honestly, like I wouldn't change a thing. I, I wish that the music had worked. Yes, because, you know, we had a dancer to that. We were gonna whip out on stage, but in the end, I'm really happy with the way it turned out because so many people reached out and said that was the most fun presentation. And for me, I feel like that's a badge of honor.
Agreed, could not agree more. And I think we all get into business our own business to make sure that it is fun and, and to, to have it adjust to our lifestyle. And I think that you get so caught up. Sometimes you forget about that. So I think definitely Julie will share the, in the show notes, the playlist, like if it's for, to have a, uh, to listen to it and have a good time while you're working after you listen to this podcast episode, definitely check it out because it is, you need a reminder every once in a while. Like why you, your why and why you started your box and it, it should be fun. So if it is not all fun, DM us, we can make it fun.
Yes, exactly. That's what we're here for. We are that team that is always gonna remind you to have fun. Yes. There's a lot of hard work that we put in. Um, and yes, business can be really challenging at times. I mean, we all know it's a roller coaster, but if you are intentional about finding things that bring you joy and you know, or coming back to that, or even finding business coaches and business besties that can help remind you of that, like us than I think you're in a better position. So let's move on from the presentation. So that was, that was fun. We got that out of our system early in the morning, and then we were able to take this like breath of fresh air. We're like, all right, our job, our big job here is done. Like let's just enjoy the rest of the day.
And so we did go to a couple presentations that day that really had an impact on me. I, I really, really loved, um, Jess and Becky's presentation on simplicity. So they talked a lot about planning and making your operations more simple and they, they pose some really great questions on like how to, um, ask like what to ask yourself when you're making decisions. Because I, 100% believe that, you know, we need to simplify things. Business is already challenging enough. Like when you're making a decision, you need to make choices that are sustainable, that are simple. And I, I love the conversation that they had. And if that sounds like something that you're interested in, um, we'll make sure that we share links to their planner as well because, um, Jess principally and Becky Hoy from brave crate, they are the co-founders of the subscription box planner.
And we are a proud affiliate of that because they put together an amazing product and like they practice what they preach. And so I, I think you'll learn a lot from them. So we'll make sure that we put that in there. Um, I also liked, um, I caught the replay of Kimberly Lewis from curl mix. She talked about her shark tank story, and you guys know that I love a good shark tank story. I love watching it. Um, I tried out for it. I am a shark tank reject. I think I, what I made it to, um, the video round. I didn't make it to the live bro, like the, um, the LA round. But, um, thank goodness actually, you know, there's, I recorded a whole podcast episode on it. I'll have to look back what number that is, but if you ever wanna hear my shark tank story, you can go back in the podcast and listen to that one. But Kimberly Lewis tells a great story about her experience. Um, and then later that day was the cube awards. Renee, did you have any other ones, any other presentations you wanted to touch on from Thursday?
I wasn't gonna mention any other presentations, but I was gonna say again, a shout out to the sub team, they set it up so nice because they have networking breaks throughout the day that you, um, there snacks and you can connect with people. They do a keynote that includes a lunch. So it's, you're really able to stay there all day and continue your learning if needed. And if you wanna go take a break, like Julie mentioned, you could catch the replay or watch it live from your room or poolside. So, uh, just the long day, I feel like really, uh, showcased how awesome that app was. Yeah. And, and the form or the format of the event as well,
A hundred percent. And, um, we may or may not have, um, live streamed, some of the presentations in the cabana, um, out at the pool bar, um, during the event, because we could like, we needed a little break. So we went outside, grabbed some, grab, grabbed a pina colada, but we didn't miss a thing because we were able to live stream right on our cell phone. So that was really awesome. Um, some of the takeaways that I just I'm trying to like reflect back on that day was like things that, you know, we've talk about in the past, like always growing your list, like that is the most important thing to grow your list. Um, another common, um, concept that I heard over and over again was over delivery. So like making sure that your customers are surprised and excited and that, that your customer service is over delivering.
Um, that is obviously a way to grow your reputation, grow your sales and keep the, keep the customers you already have. And then lastly, another thing that I kept hearing over and over again throughout the event was make it an experience like you, you can't just be a box of stuff anymore. You really have to deliver an experience. And sometimes that means, you know, adding on things like, you know, experiential factors, whether that's a community or maybe that's, you know, a monthly playlist or, you know, special perks member perks. So those are some of the takeaways, um, from that first day and a half that I had.
And then one more thing to add. One of my takeaways, Becky said during Becky and Jessica's presentation was procrastination is a data point. And that stuck with me big time. Yeah. Cause she mentioned, if you are procrastinating, look at the tasks that you're doing and can you delegate it? Can you simplify it? Or can you get rid of it? And I thought that just was a light bulb moment for me that what if you're procrastinating, there's a reason to it. So why is that? And then what can you do about it? So their, their presentation had a lot of takeaways for me, but that little sentence stuck with me,
That's a good point. I find that this is the truth with my husband and myself, is that when we're dragging our feet on something, it that's like he's a procrastinator. I'm not, but I'll drag my feet on something that I really don't wanna do. Um, and so I think that that makes a really good point. And I also find that I overcomplicate things sometimes if something feels challenging from the moment, I recognize that that's a big challenge for me, I'm able to like step back and reflect and be like, okay, you just need to simplify this. Like, there's something that you're, you're making this too hard on yourself. Like how, what can you change to simplify that? So I love that, those great takeaways. So let's talk about the cube awards, because this is the highlight of the trip year after year after year, and especially this year, because finally we won our first cube award sparkle hustle Grove took home the community choice cube award. And we are so very grateful because it is the cube award that subscribers actually voted on. And so that makes us feel extra, super special that our community showed up for us.
Totally. I think every, every year, whatever category we're nominated in, it always warms our heart. because it's around community or around customer experience or the year we got nominated for new box. It's always such an honor. But like you said, the ability for our subscribers to show up and vote and for us to win because of that yeah. Was the icing on the cake of the night. So it was always so much fun, but, uh, you get a little cube now.
I know I'm so excited and you know, was the night we got to dress up, we love to get dressed up. Um, they of course rolled out the red carpet and had the paparazzi. It was so funny. I was caught off guard because, um, one of the paparazzi had a picture of me like printed out and a Sharpie and they're like, Julie Ball, Julie, come sign this. And it was just so funny, like really caught me off guard. Granted, all of that stuff is staged, but they've made it so much fun. It feels like super special fed us a, um, amazing dinner. We had like steak and veggies and, um, chocolate, like dessert and all this great stuff. Um, so it felt like a really, really upscale night out. And then you guys, like, I always get nervous before I get on stage, but I was never so nervous as I was when I accepted the cube award. There was what like 1200, I think people there
And when I got up on stage, there was just like, the people just didn't stop. There was just, it felt like it was going on forever. And I had to like look down at the Cube award when I was accepting it because I was so freaking nervous. And I, I just, I don't know how to explain it, but I was just like probably shaking, but what was cool was after I went off stage, um, I had the honor of actually giving out a cube award with our colleague Sarah Williams. That was super fun. We together gave out the, um, best new box award, which is so fitting because she and I, we were both coaches for new subscription box owners. And so we got to give that out. That was such another highlight of, um, the entire evening. And I was far less nervous getting up there to give someone else an award.
but we were really happy. It got, it went to Jennifer from entry envy who is not only a student of Sarah's, but a student of mine as well. So it was just like this big, like full circle moment. Like it just felt so, so fun. And what a night, because after that, we got to go break it down on the dance floor per usual. They'd throw a little party afterwards. And what Renee and I were talking about is that it feels almost like a wedding party at the end where everyone's like dancing and having so much fun, but it's not just about two people. It's about everyone. And everyone's just like cut and lose and having a great time.
And you make friends during that night, but you also have made friends the last couple days. So it really is the perfect event to just go and cut loose and have fun and, and dance or, or don't dance. They had giant checker or chess pieces set up. They always do a great job. Me and Julie, both like to dance as you may or may not know, but, but if you are not a dancer, they do other great things where they have couches, where you can just sit and lounge and talk to people watch.
So it really watch everyone make fun fool themselves
to feel, yep. It's really a great event. And, and like Julie mentioned, I had, I, I again had a moment where I was just watching everyone else and it's like, wow, like this is, I'm having so much fun. This is a really cool thing. I'm a part of, and it's a really, really fun end to a great week.
Yeah. And they have a photo booth
yes. And there's always opportunity. Great. Get great photos.
oh, we love the photo booth. Okay. So that is the longest day. That was Thursday. And then Friday is when they wrap it up. It's just a half day. So there's a few sessions in the morning. Then they do a, um, kind of a closing ceremony and they announce where next year's is. And next year we are going back to Dallas, Texas. So they made that announcement. Um, they do have discounted tickets on sale already. So guys, if you're thinking about this, the closer the event gets the higher the ticket prices go. So if this is something that's on your bucket list, then go ahead and buy your ticket. Now you have plenty of time. They'll be sharing all the information about where it would be hosted and whatnot. Um, but I did wanna say there was a event. There was a, um, presentation on that last day and it was called embrace your aspirations and fail forward.
And it was by Jacob Brown. He's the executive vice president at element five digital. And I love a good failure story. And in fact, I was thinking about Renee. Um, I don't know if I mentioned this to you, but I was thinking about next year, maybe pitching sub to, to do a failure panel, because I think there is so much to learn in your failures and other people's failures. And it makes us all feel so less alone to see other people make mistakes and to see them thrive and to see them push through it. Um, it's just such an inspiration. And so I loved this presentation so much, his, his fail forward presentation was fantastic. And it really inspired me to think about, okay, like let's have an entire panel of just subscription box business owners saying, uh, this is where I failed. Or like I made a big mistake here and I, I think it would go over. So, so, well,
I think it, for our retreat, we did a failure panel. Didn't we, we
Did, this was back in 2019 and we had, it was an entrepreneur failure panel. And that was one of the most popular presentations from the entire event. I remember people talking about that the most.
And you always, when you come up to a failure, there's always a pivot that you weren't planning for. Yes. Was unexpected. And it, in many cases turned back then even if it was, was expected or you had to plan for it. So I think that is a fantastic idea. You heard it here first, if someone else pitches it that's right.
Subta we're coming for you. We're gonna pitch this.
So what an amazing event though, that was, um, again, Friday, it was only a half day, which was great. Um, I was lucky enough to have my family then join me afterwards. And we spent the weekend in Orlando. Um, we did an escape room, got to hang out with my best friend from kindergarten and her family. Um, and so we just had an incredible time. Uh I'm so super grateful that we were able to be a part of this. Um, not just as an attendee, but you know, on stage a cube award winner and just, you know, meeting all of our boot campers and all of our podcast listeners, it was such a treat.
It sure was. And one more thing if we haven't convinced you a again, but when you said you got to spend the weekend, it reminded me, they always follow the same format too. So it is always the week after, um, Memorial day. And it's always during the week. So while Julie got to hang with her family, it was a different experience for me, cuz I was able to fly home Friday, but I immediately didn't miss a beat with my family and had a normal, we went sports. I had a swim meet Saturday morning, so it really makes it nice. I feel like a lot of times conferences are over the weekend and it kind of messes with your flow and there's more scheduling, but it was really nice to be gone during the week and then jump right back into whatever you wanna do for the weekend too. So one more shout out for them for scheduling
yes, exactly. Well guys, I hope you really enjoyed our sub summit recap. Um, the highs were, you know, the cube award being on stage despite art technical difficulties. Um, I, the what else meeting people in person and just spending some quality time with you Renee and some of our other, you know, subscription box colleagues. It's just so priceless. I cannot wait for next year guys. Like I said, they already have, um, tickets on sale. So if it's something you're thinking about go to sub summit.com and you can get all the details there. Any final notes that you wanna share Renee?
Oh, my highs are all the same. It was once again. What, what was this? Our fourth and person was it and once one virtual and continues to get better and better each year does such a good event. So highly, highly recommend.
Awesome. All right, guys would love to hear if you were there, what your takeaways were or you know what some of your highlights were. You can DM us at subscription box boot camp, either on Facebook or Instagram would love to hear from you. Thanks for listening as always. And we'll see you on the next episode. Bye.