#009 - In this episode, Julie gets a little personal and shares the story of how her grandmother earned the status of being the OG (original grandma) of subscription boxes.
Sparkle Hustle Grow
Subscription Box Bootcamp
So you want to 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 and welcome to Subscription Box Basics with me! Julie Ball, your subscription box coach. I hope you have been enjoying all the juicy information I've been sharing about how I run Sparkle Hustle Grow my subscription box for female entrepreneurs. But today's episode is a little bit different. I'm getting personal and I'm sharing the story of Mid the OG the original grandma of subscription boxes. You're probably like, "What? Your grandma ran a subscription box?". Well settle in and I'll tell you a little story. I've been wanting to record this episode since I launched, but I was kind of scared and I really wanted to do it well. And I can talk about business all day long, but this one requires me to talk about my feelings because it's about my grandma. And she sadly is no longer on this earth with us, so it may be tough. But I just have to tell the story and honestly as I was putting it together, I could not believe that I haven't told it to anyone but my own family and my own team. So here you go. The story of the OG original grandma of subscription boxes for the first time in public. Let me first paint the picture. Mid was my mom's mom. She was an amazing grandma to me and I have such fond memories of her. She was strong in her faith and involved in her church where she helped make amazing food like perogies and nut rolls. Some of my favorites. She was an entrepreneur in her own right. She'd make holiday cookies and then take them to the local health center and sell them to the employees. Then should use that money to buy gifts for patients or donate it to the activities fund Mid was married for over 50 years to my pap who was named George. Over 50 years. You guys what? That's just amazing! They lived right up the hill from us and my brother and I would go swimming regularly there with my cousin Seth when we were all very close in age. While we swam, the ladies played cards oftentimes with the Steelers game in the background and all those sounds of the game and the card shuffling. They still really give me nostalgia to this day. Mid had a small frame, she was tidy, stubborn, kind of like me, tough and always seemed well put together. She was a great family dinner host, especially on the holidays and when I think back on the foods that she prepared for those family meals when I now eat them as an adult, it makes me say, "This tastes like home". Through her adult life, she was a stay-at-home mom for the most part and when my mom and my aunt were older, my grandma who we called Mahola, which is the word mom plus a shortened version of her last name, Varhola. So I'll reference her as Mahola from here on out. So Mahola in her thirties decided to get a job in retail at a clothing boutique since her kids were older, you know, she had to learn how to drive just so she could get to work and back then it was not quite the norm for the woman to go to work. But she did it anyhow and it just showed that she went after what she wanted despite the status quo, which I love. She's quite trendy. So a gig at a local boutique made sort of a , you know, a natural fit. She was the best shopper around. The nearest good mall when I was growing up was a solid 45 minute drive and my pap would drive us girls there and then sit and wait for us taking our bags to the car every time we brought them back to him while he sat on this bench in the mall chatting with the other guys. We would seriously shop till we dropped using coupons and seeking out the best sales. She helped me pick out shiny outfits like at the Limited Too, JCPenny, Kaufmann's, Kohl's . We both agreed that when we looked good, we felt good, you know, competent. I think back as Black Friday comes around every year now and remember that we would seriously get up at 4:00 AM for our annual Black Friday trip. So it's pretty evident that I got my retail therapy tendencies from that side of the family. But it was so much fun and not the crazy town that Black Friday now is. But anyhow, shopping was one big way that Mahola and I bonded and we had to so much fun with it. Okay, so hopefully you have this picture painted in your head now of this incredible woman and it just makes me smile just getting to talk about her now. You probably want to know why she's the O G of sub boxes. Well, I'm about to tell you. You already know that she was my shopping buddy, my shopping mentor, if you will. So let's take it back to 1997 when I started college at Penn State, this was the first time that I'd be away from my family for an extended period. So of course there were lots of emotions and so as a way for Mahola and I to stay in touch with, send each other mail for me that mostly meant writing letters and sending cards to her. And I did this a lot. I knew that it made her feel really happy when she would hear from me so I kept cards in stamps handy. And keep in mind that this is before I had a cell phone so there was no FaceTiming and I had just got my first email address that first year in college. But it didn't matter because she didn't have a computer. So it really didn't matter overall cause I really liked sending mail anyhow. And so did she. Since shopping was kind of our thing, she'd send me surprises in the mail, things that she had purchased for me. And many times it would be a surprise piece of clothing. And funny, if you think about it, that's pretty much the whole Stitch Fix model, which I'm of course a happy subscriber to. Anyhow, she'd send me a shirt or a pair of pajamas or something fun like that. But you know what article of clothing was the most fun underwear or as we call them gotchies. Yep, you heard that right. She's send me cute gotchies in the mail. In the winter, I'd get gotchies with snowflakes or candy canes. For Halloween, it would be pumpkins. On Valentine's day that have hearts on them or maybe simple red lace. You get the point. Nothing racy, just cute. I'd get a new pair, two in the mail every month. It was so fun and she got the biggest kick out of it. Like it was her goal to never send the same pair twice. We had so much fun with it that in years two, three and four in college, she also sent them to my roommates. Yup . She asked me everyone's size and was sure to have a fun new pair of gotchies for each one of them every month, which was kind of a lot because in my sophomore year I lived with five other amazing girlfriends. And so when a box from Mahola arrived, we'd all get so excited, would sit around the table in our apartment and open the box just giggling with excitement. I know it sounds kind of silly, but we were broke college students and because Mahola included the whole girl gang and on it, it was kind of like a bonding moment that we all got to share with her. It was just so much fun. So you see that by sending us new gotchies in a fun box in the mail every month. My grandma earned the status of the OG the original grandma of subscription boxes. Can you believe now that I send out monthly boxes for a living hoping to delight all of you each month like she delighted us. It's so crazy to think about how things come back around. Who would've thought it? Well I hope you enjoyed this personal story and at the least got a kick out of it cause I said the word gotchies like 10 times. I'd love to hear how your grandparents or maybe your parents did something for you that impacted your career choice. If you have a story like that, share it in a review and while you're in there be sure to subscribe so you don't miss future stories. Like how a boy band concert changed my life. Also, you don't want to miss future trainings of course. In fact, you don't want to miss the next episode because I'll be dishing on all the tech we use. That episode alone will save you hours of research and will prevent you from getting decision fatigue, which is the worst. So be sure to subscribe to this podcast and I'll see you in the next episode.Speaker 2: