Our biggest accomplishment [...] is bootstrapping our business to thousands of subscribers in a relatively short period of time and leaving our full time jobs

Buster Box
Ireland, United Kingdom

Subbly is absolutely humbled to support companies like BusterBox. The founders are a true success story: what started as a part-time side hustle has now grown into a booming, full time subscription ecommerce business. Learn how the founders quit their day jobs, hired employees, and now do what they are truly passionate about. Oh ... did we mention they donate a portion of their proceeds to dog charities? Well done BusterBox!

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

BusterBox is a dog subscription box company based in Ireland. We send out a monthly box of healthy, organic treats and fun toys to dogs all across Ireland and the UK.

What inspired you to start your business?

My partners and I are passionate dog lovers who always struggled to find new and exciting products for our own dogs. At the time we heard about a company in the US called BirchBox who were very successful with the subscription box model.  We decided it would be fun to try a similar concept with dogs and here we are nearly 4 years later.

Every business is on a mission. What is BusterBox’s mission?

BusterBox’s mission is to make dogs happy and save their owners time and money compared to visiting the pet shop. We love introducing our customers to new and exciting products that their dogs will love.

What accomplishment are you most proud of so far?

We appeared on Dragon’s Den (or Shark Tank for our American friends) which was very big for us at the time and we have also won multiple awards over the last few years. We won the Aerlingus Start Up Awards. We got into the finals of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition twice and we were the runner up in the Fingal Enterprise Awards twice in a row. Our biggest accomplishment though is bootstrapping our business to thousands of subscribers in a relatively short period of time and leaving our full time jobs.

Free Webinar: How To Quickly Build a Business With Recurring Revenue

Every week, Subbly hosts a free webinar to teach budding entrepreneurs and business owners how to create recurring revenue. You’ll learn how to build a subscription ecommerce store from scratch and how to start selling subscriptions with any existing store.

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

It took us 3 days to get our first customer. We posted in a number of pet Facebook groups and contacted group members on Facebook Messenger and eventually somebody signed up. I kept saying we would do 300 boxes the first month but I think we only shipped out 12 boxes in the end (haha).

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

The subscription Box model is perfect for our business as it means we can manage cash flow and stock a lot better compared to a [single purchase] Ecommerce business. We know exactly how many boxes are going out each month so we can order the exact amount of inventory required. All of our stock arrives at the start of the month and then its packed by our fulfilment house and sent out on the 15th of each month. A big challenge for a single purchase Ecommerce company is cash can easily get tied up in inventory. If you understand the subscription box model and run it correctly you can avoid this.

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

My partners and I chose Subbly when we were getting started because the platform had everything we needed to make our business a success. I took a look at Shopify originally but I was disappointed with their subscription offering. We had a free trial with Cratejoy but we quickly ran into problems with their web builder. No matter how hard we tried we just couldn’t get the website looking professional. Eventually we came across Subbly and we were very impressed. Subbly’s support were very quick to reply to our questions and we managed to get our website looking exactly how we imagined it would. Countless features have been added to Subbly over the last few years and I believe these features are essential if you want to grow to thousands of subscribers. Features such as commitment terms and 2 week trials don’t appear on other platforms.

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

The lure of recurring revenue attracts a lot of people to this model but they aren't prepared for the amount of work involved. Make sure you do lots of research first and know your numbers before starting. Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) all need to be kept on top of to turn a profit. Once you finally crack the model though it is very rewarding.

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