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April 27, 2016

Birchbox Imitators Find Their Way to Pleasure Products Industry

LOS ANGELES—The art of shopping has come a long way in recent decades, especially when the internet made it possible for people to shop without leaving their homes. But one of the latest innovations is the advent of Birchbox, and its many imitators, so it should be no surprise the business model has found its way into the realm of sex toys. Birchbox is a New York-based online monthly subscription service that sends customers a box of four or five selected samples of makeup and other beauty-related products. The company started in 2010, and since then other entrepreneurs have used the model to sell everything from dog toys to food to pop culture toys and now sex toys. Not surprisingly, a few have already come and gone (Tuck-In Box, Blush Box), but others seems to be getting the hang of providing everything from lingerie to lubricants to vibrators and more to those who might be too shy or too busy to shop at their local adult boutique or maybe those who can’t be bothered to find their own items at any number of online adult retailers. We joke, but in theory the boxes can be a good idea for people with a little extra discretionary income and a willingness to experiment. In the case of Spicy Subscriptions, subscribers get a uniquely themed box of items to spice up their love lives. The Spice Box come with up to full-sized products, one or two toys and two or three trial products. The curated collections include everything from vibrators to massage candles, oils and other romantic items. The boxes can also feature bath and body items, romantic accessories and other unique products. Spicy Subscriptions takes it a step further by rewarding customers for recurring purchases, referring friends and giving feedback on the samples; subscribers earns points through the program and can use the points to receive full-size products. The Spice Box sells for $34.95 per month, while a Toy of the Month subscription goes for $24.95 and the Lube of the Month option is $10 per month. The Fantasy Box bills itself as a “luxury service designed to help couples explore new dimensions of their relationship in a safe, stress-free, fun way.” In the themed boxes (which can include sized lingerie) are instructions for each person and products needed to “play out the scenario.” “Sometimes he’s in charge,” the site reads. “Sometimes she is. Sometimes it’s both. Either way, it’s going to be hot.” The fantasies come in one of four themes: Sensual, Control, Costume or Playful. The site also sells other boxes available only through the online store. The subscriptions start at $39 a month. The Pleasure Pantry starts off by asking subscribers to give a few details so their boxes can be tailored to the right sizes, pleasure and sexual preferences. The boxes include everything from adult novelties and toy stop lingerie and can be customized to suit particular tastes and desires. Unlike most sexually themed subscription services, The Pleasure Pantry offers boxes for a number of couple configurations: Boy/Girl, Boy/Boy, Girl/Girl and Bridal. Boxes start at $29 per month. Unbound is slightly different than other sex toy-based box subscription: The curated collection is shipped on a quarterly basis. Unbound boxes feature full-sized, high-quality items selected from all over the world. The boxes ship the first week of February, May, August and November. Boxes cost $65 each. Just as there’s a chance subscribers will find new items to love in these boxes, there’s just as much of a chance they will find themselves paying for something they already own, don’t like or don’t want. It remains to be seen if these services will learn to use feedback to their advantage and become major players in the industry. Pictured: Contents of one of the quarterly boxes from Unbound

 
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