I am really proud of the person and entrepreneur I become day after day. It took me 9 years to understand and accept that if I wanted to fulfil myself as an entrepreneur, I had to invest money in training

Quebec, Canada

Subbly applauds persistent and passionate founders like our friend at BOOBOX. She has done it all: tried, failed, tried again, pivoted, invested in herself, and succeeded. Learn how this entrepreneur fell down, dusted herself off and built a thriving subscription business using Subbly...doing everything on her own terms.

Tell us the name of your company and briefly describe your business and product.

BOOBOX is a 100% dematerialized ebook subscription. Subscribers receive 3 to 9 ebooks by surprise every month depending on what subscription level they choose. Our customers tell us their personal preferences and BOOBOX sends them digital novels by surprise throughout the month. We also offer an exchange option so customers can get a different book if they don’t like what we chose for them or if they’ve already read it.

What inspired you to start your business?

One year before founding BOOBOX, I had a website that reviewed ebooks. Sometimes we sent indie ebooks as a gift to our mailing list. It was a great way for indie authors to get exposure plus the people who received ebooks by surprise were really happy with this initiative. I wanted to do more for them; I wanted to send specific novels that matched their literary tastes. But I realized that this would be a completely new business. The idea of BOOBOX was born. I immediately closed my current website (which was a financial fail!) to start BOOBOX.

Every business is on a mission. What is your mission as it relates to BooBox?

The internal mantra of BOOBOX is “change the game, make the rules”. I’m passionate about the restrictions in the French book industry. Many European countries have a fixed price book system which is supposed to help small publishers and writers make money and maintain competitiveness with large players like Amazon. But I’m not in favor of that kind of government intervention. In my mind, we can do things by ourselves, be innovative and build attractive offers for our customers without being regulated by politicians. This is why BOOBOX is based in Canada where this kind of law is not applicable. It allows us to offer our subscribers more books and better prices. Big companies like Amazon are powerful, but that means that new and smaller companies must work hard and smart to be more competitive.

What accomplishment are you most proud of so far?

I am really proud of the person and entrepreneur I become day after day. It took me 9 years (9 years!) to understand and accept that if I wanted to fulfil myself as an entrepreneur, I had to invest money in training. The results were immediate. While my first experiences were failures, BOOBOX is on a completely different path. My determination and my new maturity on this project has completely changed the game.

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How did you get your first customers and how long did it take?

I launched a beta version of BOOBOX in October 2018 with no publishing partners. At first, I just wanted to test people's appetite for this brand new concept. So I recruited a lot of micro-influencers on Instagram (between 200 and 3000 followers) to promote BOOBOX with a coupon code. Micro-influencers talked about BOOBOX on Instagram and 1 month later, I had my first 100 subscribers (!!) but I wasn’t prepared to serve them. So I momentarily closed the subscription process to give me time to find publishing partners and to learn to run my new business. I had the first books ready to be sent to the early subscribers two months later. I held off on getting new customers for a couple months so I could train myself with a sample of 100 subscribers. After almost a year, 30% of my early subscribers are still there and we’re growing each month!

Why is it necessary for you to have a subscription billing model and not just one-time purchases?

In my mind, the subscription billing model is ideal; you just have to convince your customer one time and then, you have revenue every month from them if you continue to deliver value. It also makes advertising more affordable with platforms like Facebook Ads (essential to grow your business) if you are a beginner. Even if you are not profitable enough in the first month because of the advertising costs, you will be from the second or third one. Only the subscription model gives you that advantage.

What made you decide on Subbly to support your business instead of something else?

Simple. Subbly was the only performing platform available for Wix websites (I am a hardcore Wix fan for 9 years now). Before I found Subbly, I thought the only way to run my subscription business without any developers was Shopify or Wordpress because of all the apps available on those two popular platforms. So I tested it and spent a full month trying to customize it for subscription. I hated the experience! So I came back to Wix and tried to find a subscription platform to easily integrate with it. Then I found Subbly and its wonderful support team (hello Andrija!). Now I have my Wix website integrated with the amazing Subbly checkout and I couldn’t be happier.

What is your advice for someone who is just starting a subscription business?

Marketing and customer acquisition are critical and you might not be able to do it all on your own. When you find a good mentor, business coach, or training program that connects with your personal and professional values, don’t hesitate to invest in yourself. Free videos on YouTube will likely not be enough and seeking out help is the best way to accelerate your growth. However, beware of the self-proclaimed “gurus” who make promises to turn you into a millionaire overnight. There is no replacement for hard work, learning through failure, and persistence.

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