Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Choosing the Right Size Box for your Subscription Business

January 17, 2022 Julie Ball Episode 109
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Choosing the Right Size Box for your Subscription Business
Show Notes Transcript

#109 - In this week's episode of Subscription Box Basics, Julie talks about how to choose the right size box for your subscription box business. 

As you start your subscription box business, one of the things that you need to consider is how to choose the right size box. We all know that beautifully designed subscription box packaging can make a difference to your brand and can make your subscribers feel special and the size of your box can definitely make a big impact. Today, Julie will share the importance of choosing the right box size, as well as provide you with tips on how it can make a great first impression with your subscribers.


  • What kind of box you should get? (1:42)
  • Impact of getting the right size box (2:30)
  • Most common sizes of mailer boxes (3:15)
  • Cost of the boxes (3:55)
  • Postage (9:34)


Julie (00:01):

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, grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some, Hey everybody, Julie Ball here, your host and your subscription box business coach. So if you've been listening for a while, you know that I oftentimes tell you to send me a DM over an Instagram, cuz that's where I'm hanging out a lot. That's where I can have a conversation with you. That's where I can answer quick questions. Well, well I quick question that I get all the time is how do I know what size box to buy for my subscription box business? Great question. And that's what we're covering on today's episode of subscription box basics.

Julie (00:53):

So first of all, let's just talk about boxes. I mean just the basics of it. It's, it's just important that you think this through like what box size you're gonna get and what kind of box, all that good stuff we highly recommend using mailer boxes. That's like a rigid cardboard that you can actually ship things in. Like it doesn't need any exterior packaging beyond that. And the mailer boxes are that traditional one that open up on the top and they have those little flaps. It's hard to explain, but I hope hopefully you can visualize what I'm talking about. Think about like what a pizza box looks like, how you open it up and it has the little tuck flap, but in different sizes for your subscription box. So that's the type of box that we're talking about today. Like the traditional tuck mailer, tuck flap, mailer, you ear flat mailer, ear mail, there's all kinds of different, um, names that people call it.

Julie (01:47):

But that's the traditional subscription box that we're talking about. So when you're thinking about what size to get, it can impact so many things. And that's why it's important to talk about it can impact your budget, the rock costs. So of the actual box itself, it can, um, impact the pricing to ship it. It can impact the branding like how you were going to stand out from the rest of the mail and it can ultimately impact the entire customer experience. So that's why I felt like it was important enough to have an entire your episode on this topic. So there's so much to, to unpack here, but I'm gonna try to make it super simple. Grab a pen and paper. I'm gonna tell you some of the most common sizes of mailer boxes that I see out there. And my students are using seven by five by three.

Julie (02:42):

And these are all in inches eight by eight by four nine by six by three, which is the size of the sparkle hustle grow box, my subscription box. And it almost looks like the size of a yoga block, 10 by eight by four and 12 by nine by three. So again, those are the most common sizes that I see in the subscription box industry, as well as in my boot camper who are running their own small business subscription box. Okay. In thinking about those sizes, let's talk a little bit about costs. So typically the larger the box, the more raw materials it's actually gonna use, the more it's going to cost. When you buy this type of box, you are going to get them shipped to you, flat packed. So you actually have to build the box and it doesn't take a lot of time.

Julie (03:37):

It's pretty easy, but it, you need to set aside when you are preparing for your first packout and for your launch. So think about that. When, when you're gonna get these boxes, you are going to pay per box and the pricing not only depends on the size of the box, but how many you are ordering. So just like with my, those things, if you buy in bulk, if you buy more, you can save more. And just to give you a frame of reference, you can expect to spend anywhere from like 50 cents to a couple of dollars on these boxes, depending on the size and depending on how many that you buy. So I would encourage you to talk to your vendors and see where that next price break is. So if you buy 50 boxes, for example, versus buying a hundred boxes, is there a price break?

Julie (04:28):

And you can ask them where their next price break is. So you can plan accordingly and maybe save by strategically buying more. Another thing that will impact pricing is if you're buying plain boxes versus as custom printed boxes. And for the purposes of this specific episode, we're just gonna talk about plain boxes because I know what it's like to start a subscription box business. And so many of you are going to be on a budget and custom boxes cost more than plain boxes. So keeping all of that in mind, you can start your research on places like Amazon or That's the letter, U L I N And there's other places too, like Nashville wraps or paper Mart. There's definitely other places to buy boxes. And I recommend that you price compare so that you can find the best price for what you need, but we still need to cover the actual size.

Julie (05:22):

Like what size should you even buy? Well, first of all, I recommend that you get a couple of different sizes at the very beginning. So maybe limit yourself to two to three sample boxes, head on over to Amazon, grab a couple boxes like that, or call some of those companies that I told you about. Maybe they would be willing to send you a free sample or a discounted sample, so you can figure out what you need, but just limit yourself to two to three different sizes, do not overcomplicate it. So this is how you wanna determine your size. This is, this is the process that I use, figure out what is your hero product. And that is going to be the product each month. That it's the likely going to be the give the most wow factor. And it might also be the biggest product in your box, like physically the biggest product.

Julie (06:11):

And I'll give you a quick example in sparkle, hustle, grow the hero product full. Our box is the book. Every single month, we include a personal development or business training book. Now I did a lot of research before I determined the box size, but the majority of the books that I was reading and that I wanted to include in future boxes were about five and a half by eight and a half. So it just made sense to use a six by nine by three inch box, because I knew that the majority of the books that I would wanna include would fit within that box. Now, have I had to pass up on some books that didn't fit? Yes. That's a discipline that you have to have when you choose your box. There may be products that don't fit and that's okay. You need to make decisions based off of that.

Julie (07:03):

You're running a business, not a hobby. Okay? So these have to be profit driven. They have to be mindful of the dollars and cents. So figure out first, like what is physically going to be the biggest product that you feel like you're gonna in most boxes. And that's gonna give you a really great starting point. Now you also need to think about how many products are you going to put in there? And this is where you wanna do a mockup, like grab a couple of those products, including that hero product, the biggest product, and a few of the other items and mock up a few ideas of what a box might look like. You wanna also think about. Will you need additional packaging? For example, are you shipping anything that's fragile? If so, you will probably need to factor in space for bubble wrap. And what about crinkle cut?

Julie (07:55):

Do you need crinkle cut to keep things in place and here here's the thing, guys. You don't want to get this huge box where you're gonna have to fill it up with tons of filler, like crinkle cut. That's not gonna be a good experience. You want to deliver a box that feels full of product. So keep that in mind as well. So now after you mock up a few of those, put them in two to three different size boxes and see what it looks like. Go ahead and add some crinkle. Cut, go ahead. Add any other filler that you think you're going to need and take a step back and look at that. Like what feels good, which looks better, which feels full and not just like filled with, um, crinkle. Cut. What actually feels good for the product. And my biggest tip here is to get the smallest sized box that allows you to fulfill your mission.

Julie (08:47):

That allows you to put the number of products and especially that hero product in the box. So you've mocked up a couple boxes. You've narrowed it down to a couple different sizes. Now I want you to think about postage. Postage can get out outrageously expensive. If you don't strategically plan here in the United States, we recommend pirate ship for buying your postage. It is the place where we have found the best. We love their customer service. It integrates with so many of the cart softwares. It is five stars. So if you go to pirate, you can type in the different box sizes. And it is going to give you an estimate. Now keep in mind though, if you use USPS, United States, postal service, cubic rate shipping, it not only takes into account the size of your box, but also the length of transit. So just grab a couple of zip codes, maybe one in California, one in Florida, one in Maine, maybe one in Washington, and then one in the middle of the country have a handful of zip codes that you can just type in and see how the pricing of the postage is impacted based off of how long it needs to travel and the size of it.

Julie (10:05):

And then use all of that information to make a really good decision about what size box you use. Now, here's the good news. If you're buying plane boxes and you were going to dress it up with a branded sticker or some custom packing tape, which I'll, I'll talk about that on another podcast episode. But if you are using plane boxes, have no fear. If you need to switch it up, it's super simple. If you need to buy a bigger box one month, that's fine. You can do that. Just plan ahead. Know how postage is going to be impacted with a larger box, know how the raw cost of the actual box itself, how that's gonna be impacted, just do some research, mock up some boxes and don't overcomplicate it. Just make your decision and move forward with it. Knowing that you can change. You can pivot if you need to.

Julie (10:59):

Okay. Let's recap. What we talked about in this episode, we are talking about mailer boxes, those rigid cardboard boxes that you pack all your goodies in, slap a label and ship off without any exterior packaging. It's super important to choose the right box size because it'll impact your postage it'll impact the cost of the product. And it can impact the experience. We talked about some common sizes about how to determine your box size. And I gave you some tips to help you through it, to mock up your box with multiple sizes, to discipline yourself, to make decision based off of the fact, this is a business, not a hobby. And lastly, don't overthink it. Be strategic, be resourceful, but don't overthink it. You can check the show notes for links to the pirate ship rate calculator, as well as some of the other vendors I mentioned, hopefully this was helpful, especially if you're in the idea stage or the pre-launch stage, and you're trying to figure out what the heck size box you're going to use it.

Julie (12:05):

You can definitely get in those decision paralysis modes. And I'm telling you don't overthink it. Use this information that I shared with you in today's podcast and continue to move forward, progress over perfection. If this podcast or other episodes have been helpful for you, please subscribe, rate, and review. It would make me so happy. I'm sending you so much gratitude in advance for your reviews. It helps this podcast get in front of other people, just like you who have this big dream of starting a subscription box business, but just don't know where to start. So subscribe, rate, and review, and we'll see you in the next episode.

Speaker 2 (12:55):