Retailers offer more monthly subscription boxes

  • Article by: ALEJANDRA MATOS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 4, 2013 - 8:35 AM

– that tin collector of worthless coupons, bills and Victoria’s Secret catalogs — is now where you can find your monthly supply of gourmet bacon to accompany your morning eggs. You can also receive luxury shirts or wacky socks. If clothes aren’t your cup of tea, maybe a package of artisanal coffee will brighten your day. But it’ll cost you $$$.

This isn’t the Book of the Month Club or the once-common monthly delivery of CDs, which frustrated some subscribers with complicated return policies. It’s a new generation of month-by-month subscription that aims to attract time-strapped connoisseurs, who can opt in (or out) at any time and receive products they want (think fancy spices) or need (socks).

Monthly subscription boxes — filled with dog treats, razors and even feminine products — are arriving at front doors nationwide. Although the numbers are small, the offerings are varied and growing, as more businesses cater to the convenience culture.

The element of surprise also is a big appeal.

Birchbox, a popular subscription service, sends customers beauty samples each month, but subscribers don’t know what they’re going to receive until they open the package. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the United States, Birchbox has expanded to other countries and now offers a subscription service for male beauty products.

There are subscription boxes for just about every interest, ranging in price from less than $10 a month to more than $50. Here are a few:


1. Zingerman’s Bacon Club ($99 for three months)

Bacon ice cream. Bacon-covered chocolate. Bacon gum. Bacon is everywhere, and it can be in your mailbox, too. There are three- or six-month subscription options, featuring a different flavored bacon each month. Think Applewood, Kentucky dry-cured or Arkansas Peppered bacon. That’s hog heaven.

2. Foot Cardigan ($9)

Socks donned with gnomes, the face of the president or corgi dogs will give an edge to anyone looking to step up their sock game. Select a size (either men’s or women’s) and a new pair of wacky socks will arrive each month. If you hate them, the folks at Foot Cardigan encourage you to “make a sock monster” or give them away as white elephant gifts.

3. Hungry Globetrotter ($34.95)

This box delivers recipes, sauces and spices for foodies. Each month, the boxes are themed around various global cuisines. A “South Indian Sampler” box, for example, sent Globetrotter subscribers curry sauce, spices and tea mixes, along with recipes for Madras Curry, Garam Masala Rice with veggies and Yogurt Raita.

4. Manpacks (prices vary)

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