An interview with Debi from Boxcitement.
LL: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your brand Debi!
D: Thank you – it’s a pleasure!
LL: What inspired you to set up Boxcitement?
D: My partner Sean and I have both worked in creative industries throughout our careers including graphic design, fashion and jewellery making. Originally I had dreamed of opening a gift shop but I wanted to combine my love of design and making with a retail outlet, rather than selling other people’s creations. We came up with the idea of a monthly subscription as it ticks all our boxes – e-commerce, creativity, a loyal community of customers who we can get to know during their subscription, and the opportunity to constantly design and create new products. It’s my perfect job!
LL: How did you come up with your brand name?
D: I was trying to come up with a name that described getting something exciting, in a box, through the post every month. When we realised Boxcitement was available as a domain we just knew it was the right name and we jumped on it!
LL: What is your design and development process?
D: The design rests squarely on my shoulders, and I am constantly on the lookout for new trends, themes and materials to use. We come up with a monthly concept (such as the space themed box ‘Out of this World’), decide on some products we would like to include and then design the gifts to work together, so that the box has a really cohesive feel to it. Although every box has completely different items in it – from keyrings to earrings – we make sure things like the colour palette and use of illustration are repeated so that everything looks like a complete set – it’s what we think makes us different, as our products aren’t curated and we have the ability to make them work really well together.
We work with a range of small manufacturers, mostly in the UK, and I have a team of makers who I can call on to make the items once they are designed – for example all our jewellery is handcrafted.
Once the products are created it takes a few days to pack everything – we think presentation is really important and everything is beautifully packaged within the box so that the experience of opening each item is lots of fun. We use custom tissue paper, metallic envelopes, kraft boxes and lots of sequins to make the opening experience really special!
LL: Where do you work from?
D: I have a purpose-built studio at home with an area for computer-based design and a space for making. We also hire a creative space nearby for our team when production is underway.
LL: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
D: Goodness – everywhere! Pinterest is a great source of ideas, I regularly attend trade fairs such as the London Stationery Show, and I subscribe to lots of design publications. Sometimes a theme can just pop out of nowhere – for instance our latest box ‘Lost in the Woods’ was inspired by a walk in the Cotswolds with my family. If I see a beautiful bead I will try and design a piece of jewellery I can use it for. Because my friends and family know what I do for a living they are always contributing ideas too. I think having a creative background helps because I have always enjoyed designing and I’m a very visual person.
LL: What advice would you give to any designer-makers just starting out?
D: Be prepared for lots of hard work and for growth to take longer than you think it might – don’t give up if you have a bad day! Make sure you have excellent customer service, and think of every aspect of your product – first impressions count. Make sure your website is fully optimised and easy to use, and that you are regularly engaging on social media – it’s where customers expect you to be.
LL: What is your studio playlist?!
D: Oh dear, this is embarrassing… anything eighties! Depeche Mode will get me dancing whatever mood I’m in…
LL: What is your favourite social media platform?
D: Facebook for engagement, and Instagram for showcasing our designs. Plus I love Pinterest but it’s dangerous as I can spend hours in there…
LL: Who are your favourite designer-makers?
D: I love Nook & Crannie, Emma Garland’s Little Red Apple and Artisan Model Makers, among many others!
LL: What are your plans for the future of your brand?
D: We want to grow Boxcitement to reach a larger number of subscribers every month, eventually move into self-contained premises and continue to develop new design techniques, which will involve more learning and investing in equipment.
LL: Thanks Debi!