“Ecommerce was new to me as a firefighter — I was really surprised by how much of the business Subbly could take care of. From automations and analytics to emails and dunning, it’s been very helpful to have everything in one place”

Introducing Burn Box, a subscription box delivers tools, gear, and apparel to some of the world’s bravest people: firefighters. Sourcing all of their products from firefighter-owned companies, Burn Box empowers aspiring and professional firefighters with everything they need to succeed in their heroic profession.

Introducing Burn Box, a subscription box delivers tools, gear, and apparel to some of the world’s bravest people: firefighters. Sourcing all of their products from firefighter-owned companies, Burn Box empowers aspiring and professional firefighters with everything they need to succeed in their heroic profession.

Results within 2 years
on Subbly

$90k+MRR

1,700+

Active subscribers

Burn Box was founded by Thomas Ansu, a former EMT and paramedic who’s spent most of the last decade as a firefighter for the FDNY in Brooklyn, New York. Thomas was initially inspired to create Burn Box after realizing just how creative firefighters could be.

“Lots of my fellow firefighters were already running their own businesses, making tools, apparel and more. Finding hundreds more firefighter-owned companies on social media, I thought it would be a great idea to combine all the products into a monthly package.”

The end goal, however, was deeper than that. Thomas wasn’t just aiming to start a profit-generating business — he also aimed to spread the word about the amazing examples of entrepreneurialism that were emerging from the community of firefighters within which he serv

“Outside of just running a business, I also really wanted to spread awareness and exposure. The dream is to support those firefighters making useful products in their garages, and get their products out to the masses where they can be used to their full potential.”
The way Thomas saw it, current contenders in the firefighter-themed subscription niche weren’t selling anything practically useful — they were just generic boxes with a firefighter theme, devoid of anything that would actually be used in the field.

“A few companies on the market have similarly-themed subscriptions, but they’re limited to shirt of the month clubs, or boxes full of fluff like BBQ seasonings and deodorants. What makes Burn Box different is that as I’m an active firefighter, the offering is much more focused on functionality. We make sure that every single box contains a tool or piece of gear you’d actually want to use.”

But why the subscription model to begin with? For Thomas, the choice was obvious — as there were so many different companies out there producing high-quality kit, a subscription model gave him the chance to support the biggest amount of businesses.

“A subscription model made perfect sense because of the sheer amount of firefighter-owned companies out there. Each company has their own designs, and puts their own creative spin on their tools, and a subscription model allows you to create an incentive to engage with the ever-expanding, diverse range of products on offer.”

Thomas Ansu
Founder, Burn Box
Thomas quickly had to become an ethical yet efficient negotiator, especially as prices for field-quality gear for one of the most dangerous callings in the world could be much higher than their generic counterparts — something which Thomas hadn’t initially thought of as an active firefighter who’d always been issued with his gear as part of his job.

“The department I work for gives us gear and tools for free — I didn’t fully understand how expensive tools and gear actually were. The biggest challenge is getting the products for the right price, especially as the smaller businesses we work with often have to charge high prices just to make slim margins. This often makes it hard to source enough products to make a satisfying box.”

On top of that, as a one-man-business, Thomas also had to wear a variety of different hats to keep everything moving.

“Being a husband, father, and full time firefighter — and then an entrepreneur — was a challenge. I’ve had to do the market research, customer services, website, email, social media, and fulfillment.”
Burn Box’s original debut wasn’t as well-received as Thomas had hoped, with only 40 out of 800 people who’d initially expressed interest during the prelaunch actually converting on launch day. Thomas didn’t give up hope, however, and reached out to some fellow subscription-first entrepreneurs for some advice.

“I started a Cratejoy page, but they didn’t offer commitment terms at that time. The answer to my problems came after I spoke to some established entrepreneurs running subscription boxes — an introduction to Subbly.”

Since switching to Subbly in June 2020, Burn Box has enjoyed a meteoric rise to success, with 1700+ active subscriptions across the USA and Canada and a $90k+ MRR. For Thomas, an all-in-one solution was key.
“Ecommerce was new to me as a firefighter — I was really surprised by how much of the business Subbly could take care of. From automations and analytics to emails and dunning, it’s been very helpful to have everything in one place. The help center and subscription university were also extremely helpful when it came to figuring out how to set up all the features and integrations.”

Burn Box’s success is proof that it’s possible to both empower a community and run a profitable business at the same time, using a subscription model to both emphasize a varied offering and maximize recurring revenue. Powered by Subbly, Burn Box is perfectly poised to achieve its goals — both from a growth perspective, and in terms of their ability to create a positive impact for even more firefighter-owned businesses.“

I’d like to thank the Subbly team for helping a firefighter's dream come true. I’m very excited for what the future holds — especially when it comes to creating upsell funnels, affiliate and referral programs, and optimizing my one-time products.”