#133 - In this week's episode of Subscription Box Basics, you will meet Jessica Principe and Becky Hoy of The Subscription Box Planner. Jessica and Becky will talk about how you can successfully run, grow, and organize your Subscription Box Business using a planner designed specifically for you.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
Subscription Box Bootcamp: https://www.subscriptionboxbootcamp.com/
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The Subscription Box Planner
Connect with Jessica:
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Hey everybody. And welcome back to Subscription Box Basics. I'm really excited about the topic we're covering today because I have always been a planner. It's that time of year where I start getting on websites and Amazon like searching for the perfect planner and I add them to cart and then I just don't buy them. But today, We're gonna do all the legwork for you because we have found the perfect planner for your subscription box business. Today I have on the podcast, Jessica Principe of All Girl Shave Club and Becky Hoy of Brave Crate, and they are the co-founders of the Subscription Box Planner. Welcome ladies. Thank you. We're so excited to be here with you today, Julie. Okay. So some people will be meeting you for the first time. So let's just do a quick introduction. Tell everybody a little bit about yourself. Okay. Awesome. So I'm Jessica Principe and I'm the founder of All Girls Shave Club. And I live in the beautiful state of New Hampshire in the southern part of the state so we're just north of Boston. I've got two little boys who are 11 and nine now, which I can't believe. Oh gosh. And my husband is a firefighter in our local city and I've been running my business for about six years and I've also been mentoring and coaching other business owners as well. It's funny too, because Jess and I started our boxes right around the same time. Yeah. And we met each other online and first in a Facebook group. And then we went to an event where we got to meet each other in person. And I just can't tell you how important that is to have people along the journey with you in the same place. So Jess so much love to you. Okay. Becky, tell everybody about yourself. Hi everyone. I'm Becky Hoy. I am a military spouse, almost 12 years now, which is wild to say. I live in the sunny state of Hawaii, which is beautiful. We love it but we're a military family. So we move a lot. And being a military family is why I started my subscription box business Brave Crate, which supports military spouses during deployment. After starting that about four years ago, I realized I really loved doing a lot of the backend pieces of running my business, that a lot of business owners don't love. And so I moved into being a growth operations manager for other Sub Box CEOs. And I've been doing that for about two years now and absolutely love. Nice. I'm so thrilled to have both you on the Podcast today. We're gonna talk a lot about the Subscription Box Planner, which is the amazing planner that you guys created together. But before we dive into the who at where and why of the planner, let's talk about. How you guys are qualified to put this together. So when starting out a subscription box business, it really can feel impossible about where you should focus your energy. And so often we get in analysis paralysis and we're just like, I don't know what to do. So what about you guys? Like how do you decide what to prioritize and how did you find your jam your flow, your zone of genius. So I can jump in on this one. For me, I started my business as Jessica did as well while we were working outside of our businesses. And so I think in my case, at least it was a lot of Deciding by necessity, right? When you have limited time, when you build your business and the margins of your life, you are really forced to narrow in on what works really well for your business. And what's really critical. And so Jessica and I really took a lot of , those ideas and those concept , that helped us streamline and helped us really move forward with limited time and limited resources and pulled them all together into this system. Yeah, I would echo exactly what you said. And I know that like in the beginning stages, especially for me, I often felt just super overwhelmed. Like how do I even get started? , what's the first thing I have all these wonderful ideas and I know that they can make a big difference for me, but I just don't know what to do first. And I think. Sometimes , we need a system obviously to help us make those decisions or to help hold us accountable to what we should be working on. But we do have this intuitiveness about us too. If we would listen to, what are those biggest pain points that we're feeling like, maybe it's a financial related pain point. Maybe it's something to do with fulfillment. What are those things that are causing us the most stress, or maybe costing us the most money and then maybe being able to prioritize in on those things. I can relate to that. When I started Sparkle Hustle Grow in 2016, it was right when McKenna was starting kindergarten. So all of a sudden, I had more time on my hands because, I wasn't stay at home mom all day, but at a very specific timeframe yeah. That I had to get my work done and I had to get personal things done during that timeframe too. If I had to go to the dentist or a haircut , and so it was definitely challenging to figure out What should I spend my time on today to move my business forward? Not just what's fun for me today, or what am I dragging my feet on? There's some of those tasks that are prioritized based off of need and necessity, or based off of what am I good at? And what's fun for me. Yeah. And so I can definitely relate to that. And I wish I would've had something like this, a system and someone to just tell me what to do, because I probably wasted so much time at my kitchen table just figuring out like what next? Yeah. So I love that you guys have put this together. Let's talk a little bit about like, how this even happened. Like why the subscription box Planner, why did you guys decide to create this. Oh, my goodness. It's a fun story. It was actually an idea that one of my pre-launch prep school students had. So this was during the founding member round of that course. And so we had a Facebook group and we were in there, Becky and I were both in there engaging and learning from them... like what did they need? And one of my students was feeling really overwhelmed about the idea of launching and not having step by step directions. What do I do from box to box? How do I keep it all together? I'm feeling really overwhelmed by this. And she just casually was. You think you can make a planner? And Becky and I were like, whoa. And this was like, right before Christmas, like when was it Becky? The end of November? yeah, I think it was actually mid-October or so, 2021, right? Yeah. So we're both in like Black Friday prep mode and, thinking about all the things, it was just crazy. And so we're. That's crazy. Like we can't do that. And then we started to think about it and we were like, you know what, there's not anything like this. There's not anything out there that is, intentional and specific for subscription box owners. Could we do this? so we just put our heads to the ground and really put our focus down and did it over. We like to joke that we say to each other Hey, remember the time we created a product and launched a business in four weeks over Christmas. It's just so hilarious how it all worked out, but it worked. Very well, oh my gosh. I can't imagine that is crunch time. First of all, already. Yeah. So as a subscription box business owner, your hands were probably very full, but you guys put your heads down and and hustled and got it done. And that first round, that first version was awesome. It sold out in less than 24 hours, right? It did. And I think that was one of the things that was so motivating for us was we didn't just create the planner in the hopes that people wanted it. Yeah. And I think that makes all the difference in business, knowing what your community needs and being able to need. It is just the most fulfilling thing in the world. And if we're honest, I think that's why most of us go into business, whether it's subscription box businesses or others. And as we were creating the planner, we were just getting. Overwhelmed with feedback from people who were saying, I need this not just I need this because I need a planner to put on my desk, but yeah, I need this because I'm drowning in my business and I need this because I don't have time for my family. And I need this because I feel guilty about all the things I'm not doing and all the things I want to be doing. And so hearing that from people and hearing exactly where they were struggling, whether. With coming up with marketing ideas or figuring out how to create the perfect checklist that makes their box super simple every single month to create a rhythm that helps their business just flow really easily, hearing that over weeks and weeks from so many sub box owners, Jessica, and I, I think there was just a fire in us. We were like, like bottled that up, right? Yeah. We were like, this has to be created. So there was our energy I love that. And there's so many lessons in just what you said, because if you're launching anything, there's those crucial steps. If you're launching a subscription box or relaunching one that needs new life or launching any other product. Those are core things you need to do. So you validated the concept clearly, because people were saying, I want this, I need this. Here's what I want in it. Giving you answers to questions that you probably had as you were brainstorming and putting it together, and then you are getting that feedback. That's also so important anytime you're launching something, getting feedback, getting people involved in the process. Yeah. So this is, we're talking about your launch. What does this launch look like? You said four weeks from like, when you started talking about it and building it... talk to us about that launch. Yeah. I don't remember the exact dates, but you might remember them more clearly than I do. I just remember it was about December when we were really putting in like the effort of creating the layouts and the spreads and designing it, we did it on our own. We didn't have a designer or anything like that. We were just kinda teaming this together in Canva, trying to figure it out. And then we launched it at the end of December because we really wanted to make sure that people had it by the new year. For their year planning. That's awesome. And I'm sure that you've learned so much and got a ton of feedback from that first version that you did a very limited run of physical copies, and then you offered it digitally as well. And you have updated it for 2023. Let's talk about the meat of the planner. Where do we even begin with what does this planner do for you? Oh my goodness. This planner is just it's my heart. It's honestly a comprehensive system for early stage subscription box owners to help them run, organize and grow their business. So it's a complete system. It's not like to joke. It's not your mom as planner, right? Like it's not gonna be the planner that you buy at staples. And it's got a bunch of blank space, like it's really guided experience to help you move through all of the things that you need to from at the annual level, all the way down to your weekly, daily level. Love it. I'm gonna show you guys if you're watching the video. It's so pretty. If you're listening to the podcast, let me just tell you that the colors of the planner are so bright and inspiring and they just make you feel good. And that's something that's always been important to me. I don't like to get basic notebooks or basic pens. I like things that are going to inspire me, that bring me joy when I put that pen to paper. And it is a hard cover there's gold wire binding there's monthly tabs. Like it is a nice little upgrade from last year and I am so proud of you ladies. Let's talk about some of the actual assets in here that are going to help you get organized. And I love the word that you guys use. Simple. And so I know that you've built this entire system around simplicity. So let's talk about that. What are some of the things in the planner that help it be more simple? So I think my favorite thing about the planner that really inspires simplicity is the fact that you always know what your next step is. And so as Jess and I were designing this, one of the things we wanted to make sure was that anyone using the planner would never have to wonder, okay, what do I do next? So your planner starts with a, an annual spread. And so there are multiple pages right at the front of your planner that are going to help you actually plan out your entire year of your subscription box. Everything from getting your operational cycle down to perfection to planning out box products to figuring out what your most important goals to focus on are. We're dealing with all of that right up front. And then there are quarterly pages that are helping you to think ahead. That's one thing we hear from sub box owners, and I know you hear too, Julie is like, how do I get ahead? How do I get off of the hamster wheel of feeling like I'm just constantly in my business because I've got a new box every month or every other. And so our quarterly planning pages prompt you to be thinking ahead and to be looking forward. And then we start moving into our monthly spreads. And I don't know, Jess, I think that's like a place where a lot of magic happens. It really is. I love it. There's so many different things you can do at the monthly level. We have marketing planning pages where we give you three different ideas to jump off from if marketing is overwhelming to you and you don't know where to begin, there's three fresh, new marketing ideas every month there for you . And then there's like a box planning page where you can really plan out the granular details of your box and your margins and things like that. As well as social media planning pages and email marketing and content, all the things. And I'm like you, Julie, you mentioned earlier how you don't like to have just like a blank boring planner. You want something that's really inspiring. And that was really important to both Becky and I, as we were creating, this is, we don't want you to feel overwhelmed by this like big open page where you have to figure out how to fill it up. Yes. We wanna be able to guide you. It's having, a friend in your corner, that's like saying, okay, this is something that you could work on and here's how you do it. We have over 80 marketing and pro tips scattered throughout the planner that are really designed to just help you to learn as you grow and hold your hand. And I'm so in line with all of these things too, because I've been digging through it. I've got my hands on an early copy and all of the inspiration in there, all of the things that they're literally just fill in the blank, you've done half the work for them. You just have to take that pen to paper. And I don't know if you are you guys like this? When I get a brand new planner, sometimes I just carry it around for a while and I don't actually write in it. Tell me I'm not alone in this. And I'm just like, okay, I'm getting comfortable with my planner. And then finally I'll take pen to paper and it's just It feels like a big moment. And I wanna encourage everyone. Like when you get this is not one of those planners that has to be perfect. Yeah. You write in here, write down your ideas, do not be afraid. This is gonna be a planner that gets messy. Yes. And it's super fun because all of the good color is already there. All the inspiration is already there and it's guided... it blows my mind how simple it is. And I've talked with other box owners too, like in the self care space and in the entrepreneurial space and stuff. And we always talk about affirmations and motivational quotes and such. And I remember talking to Lo from Passion & Growth one time and she said what if the affirmation in this subscription box this month is the only time they get positive reinforcement. I just get chills thinking about that. And you guys have put in all these amazing quotes and you've put in a list of a hundred affirmations for sub CEOs. Why did you decide to include that? I love mindset work. Just like I know that you do too Julie and Becky, you do too. And I think that one of the things that is so important is like mindset alone is not enough. We need to have proper systems and put in the effort to make things happen, but effort and systems can only take us so far as well. So when we put together systems, effort and the confidence and the right, that's right where that magic happens. Actually, I have a fun story. I'm reading this book right now called the power is within you by Louise hay. And she talks about this concept of how our thoughts and our words are like an electric circuit. So if you think about like a light switch, when you flick the light switch on the circuit works and turns on the light, we don't have to know how it happens, but we know that it's gonna happen. Just like our thoughts and our words are a circuit. So when we speak a word or a thought out loud, it goes into the law of the mind circuit and then comes back to us as. Experience. So if we're constantly saying to ourself, I'm never gonna be able to do this, or I don't know how to make this work. Then that circuit is gonna keep delivering us more experiences where we feel like we don't know how to do things, or we don't know how to make it work. So if we can change our thought patterns and we can use the affirmations, like I am capable of success, we'll be delivered more experiences that support that affirmation and help us to make further progress. I think it's a beautiful juxtaposition of the strength of the systems and the guided planning pages that you guys have built, the visual like that. It's so beautiful. But then that mindset work too, because I a hundred percent think that mindset work is important. If you are running your own business, I think it's important just in general in life. But there's just different level. Of doubt and, imposter syndrome and fear and all those things that come with when you run your own business, because you feel a lot of weight on your shoulders and that mindset work can do so much so important. For sure. So let's switch gears a little bit ... Becky, I know you are like our op gal. Like you are just systems SOPs and in the planner, you guys use task batching, you reference it. Will you tell everyone what task batching is and how other subscription box owners can use it effectively? I know I love batching everything, batch, like all the things, but tell us how you use it specifically and how they can use it in the planner. Sure. So we do reference task batching in the planner, quite a bit, Jessica and I also use it in our own businesses. And now I batch everything. Like I batch non-business tasks, right? If I'm cleaning, I'm doing all the cleaning things at one time meal planning. Exactly . I'm a hundred percent a meal batcher. Yeah. So task batching is really about all, about efficiency. It's all about using the same kind of energy or the same kind of resources to complete more things than you typically could at one time. And so there are a couple of ways that we can task batch. One is by batching. Batching tasks in our business that need to be done at a similar time. So that might be something like batching all of your shipping tasks along with taking inventory because you need to know where you're moving forward with that. And so maybe you do all of those things together at one time in the month, and maybe that's also the time where you take photos of. Box because you have everything out anyway. We can also batch tasks that take a similar space. So for instance, I think all three of us work remotely, right? So a lot of us are working as CEOs or entrepreneurs in our homes. Maybe there are certain things that we really need to get out of the house to do. So for me, that's often writing emails. So if I need to write marketing emails, I like to be out of. Space because it's way too easy for me to get distracted. That's good. Love that. Yeah. Sorry. Yeah. I never would even thought of that, but you're right. Like when I need to get creative, I need to get somewhere else. I'm so glad you brought that up. It is just so easy to kinda get stuck in our space. So if I'm, for instance, needing to write marketing emails, and I know, okay, I'm going to a coffee shop or I'm going to a co-working space. I'm going to pull together as many tasks as I can that would be best done in that space. And that is typically something that I'll do every month. I'll know, okay. This is my coffee shop day, and this is when I'm going to be writing my marketing emails. And it's also when I'm going to do my social media scheduling because , if I'm in my house and I have to schedule social media, I know Netflix is gonna come on. It's not gonna be my best work. So I'm gonna write my marketing emails and schedule my social media. And I'm going to use this time every month to reach out to 10 subscribers and see how they're doing, because I'm already in this space and I know it's the right space for me to complete these tasks. Same goes with being in your shipping space, right? If you complete certain tasks, always in your shipping space, let's do them all together at the same time. And then finally is just energy, right? There are certain tasks, like you said, Julie, like maybe they require creative energy. Yeah. Or maybe they required really focused energy. And so we can batch those together at the same time. So that's one way to batch. You can also batch day, week, month, and even quarterly and annually. So you can say, okay, every morning I complete these 10 things together. Maybe your daily task batch is I check my email and I get it to inbox zero. And then I clear out all my social media comments, and then I clear out my Asana or I write in my Subscription Box Planner. And so you can develop batches that way too. So many ways to task that there's no perfect way. They're all of. It's so efficient. And don't, we all love a good inbox zero. She really does. I just got back from vacation, so I'm working back toward it, but it is just the best feeling. Yes. It's funny that we're talking about task batching, cuz as you were explaining different ways that you can use it. I was thinking to myself, like I think I used this type activity a lot in my daily life without even realizing it. So for example, our washer and dryer, they're in our basement. We also have a fridge down there. So I'm like, okay, everything I need to do, that's in the basement. I'm gonna do it all at once. I'm gonna go switch the laundry. I'm gonna go grab the coffee, like to bring it upstairs. ..Because I keep Iced coffee in my downstairs fridge. have this Dunkin donuts, iced coffee habits where I buy, look at me at getting off track. I buy the iced coffee in a container, like a jug at the grocery store. And I just stash them downstairs. There's all kinds of other things that I'm batching. Yeah. And I know that might all sound just like really off the wall and whatnot, but it's the same concept. It is. And we all do this in our lives. Like we all do this on some level. Yeah. The difference is within the Subscription Box Planner, for instance, you are going to find some guidance on how to batch some of these things together. So there's a monthly rhythm workflow that Jessica and I have developed that really helps you to get clear on when certain things are happening in your operational cycle. And that in itself can help you start working toward batching, right? Because you can see how your different cycles stack up against each other. And maybe, when I'm doing one thing for the January box, it's also the time I'm doing something else for the December box. So how do we make those two things work together more easily? I like that. I did a lot of batch sourcing and not only was it efficient because I could sit down and look at a bunch of products all at once, but it was also cost effective because if I saw that they had three items that I might use in the next, three to six months, if I said to them I would like to buy this product, but if I add on these two products in the next six months, and I commit to that on a purchase order or if I just commit to that verbally via email or whatever, can I get a better price? And it gave me negotiating power. Vendors wanna see their products featured more often. And a really quick example of that was a publisher that I used. They were a business book publisher. They had a series of business books and they would give me their whole catalog and I would tell them the ones I was interested in, I'd get my samples and I would pick four for the year. And I would say, okay, save these in the inventory. Give or take I'd say I need this many but I need the opportunity to be able to lower that or raise that by at least 50. That was my wiggle room and they gave me a better price because I committed in advance to those. So that was like batching the buy, even though I didn't buy that book quite yet, I was committing to it and, I had done business with them, so they trusted my word and I followed through. And so you can even save money when you're batching things. Totally. I love that example. I think that is really important to think about when you're thinking about products sourcing specifically and other types of batching, like not just discounts, but maybe they would give you free shipping or other kinds of perks as well. So that's awesome. Yeah. Okay. So there's a few questions I wanna ask you and then we're gonna tell everybody, like, When they can get this where they can get this. And we're gonna tell 'em about the juicy bonus that we're giving. Cuz we at Subscription Box Boot camp are a proud affiliate of the Subscription Box Planner. We only promote things that we use ourselves that we know that we love and that work. And so we are so excited to be an affiliate. And , I'm gonna tell you about that bonus in a minute, but before we close out Jess and Becky, I want you both to give just like an idea of what are your favorite things about the planner? Narrow it down to maybe one or two. I know it's tough because it is really beautiful and there's so many good guided planning pages and there's so many fun surprises, but what are some of your favorite things? I think like tangibly, one of my favorite things and upgrades this year are the monthly tabs. We didn't have tabs last year. And so this year they're just they're beautiful. They're like ombre, very bright and colorful and that's really helpful for easy navigation. Yes. But then inside the planner, I think for me, my favorite part is the marketing and pro tips. I think it's just so helpful to have expert advice at every corner to help you to kickstart ideas. There's so many different things. You're going to learn a tremendous amount about website optimization, product sourcing, marketing, all the things I can't wait for you to dive in. Nice. So you won't get overwhelmed , with a blank page. You're gonna have these great tips you started and the guided planning pages. Awesome. Yeah. Becky, what about you? So my favorite upgrade this year has got to be the cover. I am in love with how beautiful it is. I love that it's a hard cover. If you can't see, go over to Julie's Instagram page, because you can find it there and it is beautiful. That's my favorite upgrade. It's like, how do you choose your favorite? I love all of the spreads in the planner, but for just the one that speaks to my heart the most is probably the month in review spread. So at the end of every month, you'll be asked to do a really a two part review if there's a review and a reflection. And the review is really that data side of your business. It's asking you to track your most important metrics. I love the numbers. I love the data. So if you've ever struggled with that, if you've ever wondered, like what should I be tracking in my business? How can I meet my goals for next month? There is help for that in the planner. And then there's also a reflection that helps you really spend time thinking about what went well, what you're proud of, what you wanna do differently. And so those two pages just like light me up every month. So you're not just sprinting to the next month. You're taking a minute to soak it in. Celebrate your wins, figure out some of the things you could have done better and make a plan. As you were talking, I was just kinda sitting here like breezing through this, and I just randomly opened up to the coolest page. It is a Black Friday checklist. How cool is that? and then in addition to the monthly spreads in the back, you have these weekly plans as well. And so I think that's really important because there you can map out your task, batching hour by hour. If you want, you have your focus, your top three focus must complete tasks for the week and all these just like great checklists and like checks and balances. You guys did such an amazing job. I cannot wait for our audience to get their hands on this awesome planner, the Subscription Box Planner. So when does it come out and. You did a limited run again, right? We did. We did up it a little bit from last year because we sold out so fast. We wanted to make sure we had more available. But quantities still are limited. So if you want a physical copy, we are definitely encouraging you to save the date for October 1st. That is when they will be available for pre-orders. And spoiler alert, fun fact. We are actually shipping these worldwide. So wherever you live, you can still get a physical copy. If you'd like. That's amazing. And I think it's brilliant. If you don't get your hands on the physical copy, will you still have the digital version? Yes. We'll still have the digital version available for anybody who would prefer to use it that way. Okay. I'm more of a pen and paper person. Like I love putting my hands on the physical planner. Yeah. And diving into that. So, if you can relate to that, then save the date for October 1st. You can get more information at. Subscription box planner.com/julie. You'll get all the details on the planner as well as our juicy bonus. What's better than just the Subscription Box Planner, but pairing it up with our Year in a Day Workshop. So as a bonus for using our link Subscription box planner.com/julie. When you use that link, you're gonna get free access to my Year in a Day Workshop where I teach you how to plan basically an entire year's worth of five star boxes in just one day. This is the actual presentation that I presented at Sub Summit 2021. We've condensed it into a really easy to get through videos with lots of examples. We have printables to help you do this. This is how we planned Sparkle Hustle Grow every single year. And it can you imagine what it feels like to look at your year and know what you're gonna put,, for the most part in 12 months of boxes. And so that's what this framework is gonna do. Pair it up with your Subscription Box Planner and you will be set. So the bonus is a $197 value, and you're gonna get it free if you use our link for the Subscription Box Planner. Yay. I'm so excited. This is a really great pairing. And what you two ladies teach is so in line with what I teach in Subscription Box Bootcamp, in the Year in a Day Workshop and in general, how I run my own business. So it is just so complimentary. So whenever you guys said, do you wanna be an affiliate again? I was like, yes, absolutely. And we wanna definitely give our buyers that special bonus. Love it. That's so generous of you. I know it's going to be super impactful. So I have one more question. When someone buys the planner, when are they gonna be shipping? Because everyone wants to know when they can get these beauties in their hand. That is a great question. Yeah. So we're opening for pre-orders October 1st and the actual physical planners will ship in mid-November. Okay. So they will have these before the end of the year, and we'll be ready to crack them open in advance if you want, or on January 1st to start the new year. Yes. They'll be ready to roll. Awesome. Where can people follow you? I know you guys have Instagram accounts, right? So what's the handle on that? I'd love to hang out with you. It's at Jessica underscore Principe. Okay. Becky, do you have one to share? Everyone can find me at real Becky Hoy or at beckyhoy.com. Awesome. We will make sure that we put all those links in the show notes so they can follow you. Sure. You're gonna be doing some sneak peaks, right? oh, lots of them. If you wanna binge on them, they're all there for you. awesome. Yay. And I wanna do some too yay. Thank you both so much for joining me on the podcast today. I'm really grateful to be an affiliate for this awesome planner. And I'm really grateful that the two of you, like your brains came together to create this. I think it's just such good synergy and you've created a really amazing product for our industry. So thank you. Aw, thank you so much. Thanks for having us. We really appreciate it. Yeah, everybody. Thanks for listening today. Check out those show notes for all the links and stay tuned. We can't wait to get the planner in your hands. Thanks for listening today. And we'll see you in the next episode. Bye. Bye.