Updated: Apr 22, 2019
I've recently been getting a lot of questions about sourcing. Specifically, how to source products when you’re in the beginning phases of starting a subscription box and don’t have the proverbial “leg to stand on” when reaching out to potential partner brands.
One of the best solutions to this issue is to create a media kit that contains pertinent information about your brand (such as demographics and psychographics) and, a list of the marketing you'll be offering your potential partner brands. This way, the brands you source from can better understand how their brand aligns with yours and, what they’ll get in return for negotiating with you on product cost.
That being said, I'd like to walk you through the discovery process behind the contents of a media kit. For some of you, this might ring a bell as the steps you went through when developing your actual branding – honestly, it’s pretty much the same process. We’re just taking it a step further in the direction of sourcing.
Getting Started with your Media Kit
(We’ll use Lilee, the luxury lifestyle box I created, as our case study.)
When I started Lilee, all I had was a name and an MSRP ($49) for the monthly box. I knew I wanted the box to be a little more higher-end than what was available in the current market – I’d done my research and knew there weren’t any monthly sub boxes out there at that price point. However, I had no idea what should go in the box. I’d been sourcing for a beauty-themed box, but I knew this had to be something bigger and more robust – with a LOT more to offer.
Step 1: Brainstorming
My first step was to sit down with my notebook and just start writing down words and phrases about who Lilee “was" if she were a person.
This, of course, was all made up in my head… which is kind of the fun part, really. Sure, you have to do your research about what the market will bear – like my knowing that there weren’t many boxes at this price point or renewal schedule – but YOU get to decide who your target customer is. (This can, of course, change over time, but that’s another blog post altogether!) Once I had these ideas down on paper, I read them over and just sat there for a while letting it all digest - something I call letting the information get "tacky" so it sticks together better in your head (again, a whole other blog post). Then, it occurred to me that I should start thinking about where Lilee would shop. If I knew that, it might be easier to figure out which products should go in the box, right?
This is when my “aha” moment happened. After writing down stores like Nordstrom and West Elm, I wrote down Anthropologie – and I seriously felt my heart skip a beat! Of course! Lilee should be like getting a little dose of Anthropologie delivered to your door every month...and, I knew that women that shopped there had enough expendable income to afford the $49 a month I wanted to charge! (In the end, I added Whole Foods & a high-end spa to this list for a true mix of lifestyle items.)
Then the research began. I started looking online for everything I could find about Anthropologie. I needed to know who their target customer was: her demographics, psychographics, her daily activities, whether she was married… and did she have kids? Luckily for me, I came across a stellar interview with the founder of Anthropologie that literally had ALL of this information included. HOORAY!
Step 2: Formalizing your thoughts
While there’s a TON more to this part of the story (I promise to share at a later date), my next step was to take all the chicken scratch from my notebook and make it into something presentable. For each product offering your business has, you want to pull together info in a “one-sheet” to market to potential vendors and clients. Thus, the first Lilee one-sheet was born!
Here’s the first rendition of the Lilee one-sheet:
Step 3: Figuring out what you have to offer
Next, I would need something to offer these new partner brands. I wanted them to negotiate on pricing when, essentially, I had very little to offer in return. We’d already started our prelaunch campaign and social media, so there was something for vendors to see that Lilee was a real, thought-out concept…and for me to share their story with our followers.
Here’s the info that I included with the one-sheet when emailing potential partner brands.
Lilee always features full-size items - the only requirement being that they fit with the monthly box theme and in a 6″ X 10″ x 4″ box. While you’re always welcome to donate product, we do have a budget with which to help cover some, if not all, of your production cost(s) – our standard spend is typically around 85%* off MSRP. We ask for the product to be in our Houston, Texas warehouse by the beginning of your feature month and boxes typically ship on the 15th of each month.
We are currently sourcing for our first box with the expectation of at least 50 subscribers the first month and growing.
Included Lilee Marketing
Product listing on the Lilee enclosure card with custom informational copy and brand-specific social media hashtag
1 tutorial or infographic on the Lilee blog – if applicableInclusion in
1 box-specific email blast – listed with other brands
1 Instagram post1 Facebook post
1 Facebook giveaway (product donation required)
Brand acknowledgment and promotion via our blogger affiliate network
Management of all social media postings and interaction with followers/subscribers
Supplemental Lilee Marketing Offerings
Pay for play or, in exchange for competitive pricing.
Special brand-specific feature with 1-5 of our blogger affiliates (product donation required)A second month of the following features:1 Tutorial or infographic1-2 Instagram Posts1-2 Facebook Posts1-2 TweetsAdditional Facebook giveaway(s) (full-size product donation required)Boosted Facebook posts
A note about the 85% off I mentioned above.
When you break down standard retail pricing, it can work two ways. One way has a buffer built in for distributor pricing, while the other does not. Here’s how that “85% off MSRP” works.
If retail price (MSRP) = $100, then wholesale cost = $50 and distributor cost = $25. So actual product cost should be $12.50 to $15.
If you’re not working with a brand/vendor that has their pricing structure like that, the pricing structure will look more like this.
If retail price (MSRP) = $100, then wholesale = $50, and product cost should be $25.
Step 4: Make it all into something eye-catching!
As Lilee gained traction, I worked with my graphic designer to create a formal media kit to share with vendors. (I've also since created media kits like this, myself, using both Google Slides + my favorite desktop publishing app, Canva.) This time around, we had some influencers on the books as well, so I added them into the mix, too. Oh, and don't forget to put your business name, email, etc. in the back cover so you're easier to get a hold of!
Here are some of the highlights from our final media kit:
Ready to start working on your own media kit? Let us help you get off on the right foot with our $299 S.W.O.T Analysis!