From the Founders

starting over

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What does it mean to start over? This is a question we all will ask ourselves multiple times in our lives. Regardless of what hat you wear—woman, mother, sister, friend, entrepreneur— it isn't the easiest question to answer. When my former co-founder Jacque and I started blackbox we envisioned a subscription box filled with products made by Black makers, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We wanted to see a representation of ourselves and our community in the products that we all use daily or the ideas we all consider at some point in life.

About 8 months ago, blackbox took a hiatus. In that time, Jacque has moved on to fully focus on her growing family and now—rebranded— myblackbox co. is solely a content platform for Black business owners. I'll continue sharing your stories and showcasing what makes you unique to people who want to learn, try, and fall in love with the hundreds of different options available when it comes to beauty, food, fashion, home, and art.

There was so much work and excitement tied into what Jacque and I started with the subscription box service. I know she loved what we were able to bring to you each month for the full year the service was available. I don't doubt you'll see more from Jacque as entrepreneurship is in her DNA.

What can you expect now?

Stories. Original and curated content. An outlet. A platform. A safe space to embrace something other than the status quo. The myBOB stories will continue. Curation of content from others will continue. Businesses owned by Black creatives and makers will forever be given an outlet with myblackbox co. We're all a part of a platform and a movement that isn't stopping any time soon. With the limited number of safe spaces we have in this world, in this country, I hope to continue to bring surprise, intrigue, appreciation, and empowerment through the content shared from myblackbox co.

want to be a part of this?

Easy. Reach out via the contact page. Whether you're a bare-bones, newly started or finally getting your legs under you Black owned business, I would love to hear from you. And for those who are supporters who have not started—or are inching towards, Black owned businesses please also reach out. The more empowerment we give and share, the better the stories and experiences.

Lastly, before blackbox focused on being your box full of hue. Well, now myblackbox co. is focused on hueful stories. What does yours add to the fabric of Black entrepreneurship?

Brittinee

Founder & Marketing Director

from the founders: 2017 Recap

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And, 10...9...8...

That's right! 10 months of blackbox, 10 months of endless Black-owned goodness, 10 months as a fully functioning business! We launched our website in January, shipped our first box in March and are wrapping up our first full year in business this December. 

Planning and launching a new business isn't easy, we started building the foundation of blackbox in September 2016. We planned out the logistics of what we were trying to accomplish, built out our website to launch, connected with tons of Black-owned businesses introducing our idea and concept, started a total overhaul of our branding and social media and countless of tasks that we don't have time to mention.

There were many late nights planning, working, building, tweaking and finalizing. There was a late night jam session that lasted until almost 3 am, about a week prior to the launch of our website, to make sure everything was on point and functioning before we opened for business. It was hard. It is still hard. But it is worth it!

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Over the course of our first year in business, we have learned so much. Our brand message and voice has strong legs, and we continue to grow our social and subscriber base. We have certainly learned that growing a subscriber base for a subscription box is not as easy as it looks. Especially when we surprise subscribers monthly with the products being included versus sharing the featured products beforehand.

We recently had our end of the year recap meeting and discussed what worked, what didn't, and what we could improve on and/or change going into the New Year. We will certainly be hard at work with some of the new ideas we want to implement.

As far as the businesses we were able to partner with this year, what a pleasure working with every single one of them! We are proud to discover such quality, diverse work within the Black business community and be able to share them with you in blackbox, on our social channels with our my B.O.B. features, and our extended features on this very blog.

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Some important updates we had during the year were to switch our website provider which allowed us more control of our online presence and improved our look. We also gave our subscribers the ability to manage subscription accounts directly. Our brand awareness has grown significantly since first publishing content across our social channels in September 2016.

We are honored with all the support from our followers and most importantly those who have been able to support us—and the Black owned businesses we feature—by subscribing to blackbox monthly, or by purchasing a one-time box.

We are excited for what 2018 has in store and look forward to seeing you on the other side of the New Year!

 

 

from the founders: Hold Up! Sit Down, Be Grateful.

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This post was written by Co-Founder Jacque.

With everything going on in the world, it is easy to get caught up in all the negative things that may surround us either locally or afar. However, we must take a moment to hold up, sit down, and be grateful for all the positive things that have occurred throughout this year and opportunities manifesting in the future.


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When is the last time you've taken a moment to breathe, sit in a quiet place and reflect on all the things you have to be grateful for? If you're anything like us, it may have been a little while. It's so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life and the continual daily grind, that we find ourselves worrying and thinking about all the things we don't have, rather than the things we do have.

Look around you; do you have any family, friends or even co-workers/acquaintances or your mailman that you are grateful for? When is the last time you've told that person you're grateful for them? We all know it is better to give than to receive. So share a little thankfulness to others and see what a positive impact it makes on your mood and outlook in your current situation. Some fun ways to do this are face-to-face, thank you cards/notes, dedicating and sharing a song with someone, giving a gift, or even a hug!

Another idea is to sit down and write out all the people, things and experiences you've had over the course of the year that you are grateful for. Reflect on each item as you write it down. It's even more beneficial to write down how the people. things and experiences have impacted your life. This will give you a deeper connection and appreciation for each item you are writing. You could carry a small notebook or journal with you and add to it throughout the day or you could reflect on a scheduled basis (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) and add to it then.

The more you do both of these exercises, the more it will allow you to focus your time and energy into the positive things in your life as you grind day-to-day and not be worried about what you don't have. It will help you be even more thankful when you do achieve what you are working towards and giving back to others along the way.

The next time you find yourself down, worried about the headaches of life, focusing on the things you don't have, or at a plateau, find a place to hold up, sit down and be grateful by reflecting on the people, things and experiences in your mind or by reviewing your notebook. Do this regularly! Remaining positive, humble and grateful for all things, especially the little things will attract more of those types of people, things and experiences into your life!


What or who are you grateful for? Share in the comments below!

From the Founders: Do You Have What It Takes?

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This post was written by Co-Founder Jacque. Note: Products shown have been previously featured in blackbox.

While it's such a joy to see the final product selections in each box come together every month, there is a lot of work behind the scenes finding and curating products to be featured in blackbox.

Every month we reach out to over 50 businesses to introduce our brand and to learn if they would be interested in having a product featured in an upcoming blackbox. With five product categories to source products, there is a ton of time spent scouting businesses and products that meet our quality standards. 

So what exactly does it take to potentially be featured in blackbox for one of our categories? Keep reading to learn more!


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Bath & Body:

This category is the most plentiful of our five categories. It is easy to find many Black owned businesses that make a wide variety of soaps, hair and skin care, and beauty products. The hard part however, is finding those that are a great match for blackbox. We look for well packaged products with great branding. Most importantly, the product must work well for its intended use. The business' website also has to be functional and neatly presented since we do write-ups and promotions of featured businesses too. We do look for unique products within this category as we do not just want to feature your typical bath and body products.

Food & Drink:

This is one of our favorite categories because we love to eat! The challenge with this category is finding items with longer shelf lives that travel well. Because we order, pack, and then ship blackbox to our subscribers, there is some time between a food item being made and then being consumed by our subscribers. Also, depending on the time of year, weather plays a huge part. We have to ensure subscribers aren't receiving a stale or less desirable product in their box. The best part, of course, is tasting all the samples! As you can imagine, having a yummy taste is one main requirement. Packaging must also be well thought out and suitable for shipping as size plays a big part too. We also look for longer shelf life items that ship well throughout the year. Lastly, we try to consider healthier options, but do throw in sweets and other goodies as well.

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Fashion Accessories:

Behind bath and body, this is our next most plentiful category. There are lots of Black owned fashion accessory businesses to choose from. However, just being Black owned is only one part of our selection process. In this category, we look for uniqueness and trendsetter fashion accessories. This is a broad category, so we look for handcrafted items and sometimes include Afrocentric finds as well. Accessories must be of high quality from the look to the feel, have strong packaging, and exemplify creative craftsmanship.

Home & Office:

This category is certainly one of the tougher categories to curate for. It would require a really big box for some of the items we love from this category. However, that is the challenge -finding quality products on the smaller side to fit into blackbox. For products in this category, we definitely want to find those that are different, yet serve an easily usable purpose. 

Art & Literature:

This is a fun category to curate for because of the variety of artists and authors to choose from. However, we have to carefully select when featuring products from this category. We want to avoid featuring the same types of products, so we look not only for art prints, but wearable and usable art as well. For literature, we are interested in pleasure, fun, personal, and educational reads - preferably paperback, but we would be open to an e-book as well. 

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And there you have it! An in-depth look at what we look for in each category of our featured Black owned businesses. Do you have what it takes to be featured in blackbox? Should we know about your brand? Submit your business for us to review via the CONTACT page today!

From the Founders: Together We Support Black Business!

This post was written by Co-Founder Jacque.

We can't believe how fast time has flown since we launched in January of this year and then started shipping boxes in March. Because blackbox purchases directly from the Black-owned businesses we feature, your subscriptions help support 4-6 small businesses every month. 

Since March, we have featured over 30, yes over 30, Black-owned businesses! We know it's not always easy to search for Black-owned businesses for different products you may be looking for. That's why our 5 categories cover everyday life: bath & body, food & drink, fashion accessories, home & office and art & literature. We make it easy to discover and support Black-owned by simply subscribing to our service.


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Our curation process is pretty involved. Every week Co-Founder Jacque is working hard on discovering small Black-owned businesses with quality products that meet our price points per category to potentially feature in an upcoming box. She searches online, via Google and social media mostly and often gets referrals from our followers as well as submissions through our website. Our main focus is small, indie Black-owned brands. While we are proud of and happy for the Black-owned businesses that have grown large and possibly made it into the mainstream, we want to find those "unknown" small businesses to showcase to our audience across the US.

It feels great connecting with so many hardworking Black business owners and discovering their collection of products and discussing the work they've put into their brands. We look for usable, unique, high-quality items for everyday use when curating for blackbox. And it's actually harder than it appears when speaking with so many great businesses about their products and only being able to feature 4-6 items per month. With such a great selection of products to choose from, we take our time with each month's collections to ensure we are sending quality items for our subscribers monthly surprise.

We have loved each and every business and product that we've featured thus far and it has been a pleasure working with our talented Black community. Again, we've featured over 30 Black-owned businesses so far and we are just getting started and we go into our 7th box for October.

There have been a few subscriber favorites in our journey of discovery. If you're reading this, then you're in luck as we have some exclusive discounts for our readers on some of the faves from previously featured items in blackbox:

Shanieism - Saving My Coins Purse (25% off any purchase w/code: BLACKBOX25)

Coco Bubbly - Hair & Scalp Oil (30% off Hair & Scalp Oil, click link)

Southern Elegance - Pineapple Sage Candle (20% off any purchase w/code: SEMBB)

Pink Mahoghany - Home Fragrance (20% off your order w/code: PMBLKBX17)

Every month we reveal what's in the box via our social media after our subscribers have received their boxes for the month. It is very important for us not to spoil the surprise in store when you join as a monthly subscriber. We also go in-depth about our selections for each month's box in our Inside the Box blog series. We encourage you to check back often as we add more content to our blog and added features to our website.

As we continue on this journey, we hope you join us and support blackbox. Remember, supporting us = supporting 4-6 other Black-owned businesses every month! We can't wait to share what we have discovered. Subscribe today!