The subscription economy is vast and getting bigger every day. SUBTA Annual Report 2019 expects that, in 2023, up to 75% of all direct customer sales will be offered as subscription services. The current 5-year based Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of subscription businesses is above 17%.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to select some of the most unexpected subscription businesses out of a huge number available worldwide. I’m aware that their “incredibility” is subjective. Drop me a note if you have some “cool stuff” to recommend.
Category: box experience / food
Price: starts at £26.99
About Vintage Teatime: Experience every month the delivery of a carefully curated assortment of name-brand teas, premium posh biscuits, together with uplifting reading. Accompanied by genuine patterned china tea-for-me set, complete with a cup, saucer and plate, the Vintage Teatime experience provides all the necessary ingredients for a relaxing afternoon tea time in a “very British” style.
Price: strats with USD 1,950 per month for frequent fliers
About SurfAir: California’s private air travel membership targets business travelers and offers them unlimited flights for a monthly subscription fee. Surf Air arranges travel and other services solely as a manager and does not own or operate any aircraft.
Category: box experience / lingerie
Price: starts at £35 per month
About Empress Mimi: Empress Mimi reimagines lingerie as wearable art. Their products such as bras, bralettes and bodies are layered with high performance power mesh, soft embroidery, applique and lace. Founded in 2017, the UK-based company is self-funded and run entirely by women. Out of responsibility for the environment, Emporess Mimi offers only 12 designs each year.
Two subscriptions are currently available, the Queen Box and the Empress Box, both of which come with a size guarantee.
Dispensary of Hope
Category: pharmaceuticals / social enterprise
Price: see example with Good Sheperd Pharmacy
About Dispensary of Hope: Dispensary of Hope is a charitable non-profit medical distributor, which collects and distributes donated medication to clinics, community health centers, hospitals, and other medical institutions. It does not purchase medication, but receive donations in the forms of newly manufactured or “short-dated” drugs from manufacturers and distributors. It then provides these drugs to distribution network partners for an annual subscription fee.
Interestingly, some of these partners themselves adopt the subscription business model. Take, for instance, Good Sheperd Pharmacy, a “membership pharmacy”. In exchange for the annual fee of USD 12,500, it obtains its needed drugs from Dispensary of Hope. It then provides these drugs to under-insured patients who are members of the pharmacy. Monthly membership starts at USD 25, + USD 10 per shipping.
Category: box experience / food
Price: starts at USD 11.99 per month
About Piquant Post: Piquant Post offers on a monthly subscription basis a variety of freshly grounded spice blends in small batches, accompanied by dedicated, chef-developed recipes that feature a new region every time.
The 3 or 4 new spice blends come free of “bad stuff” like preservatives or fillers and allow to cook delicious dishes without running around in search for exotic spices.
Price: starts at USD 8 per month
About MeUndies: MeUndies offers, in its own words, not only the world’s most comfortable and sustainable underwear, but combines it with a unique shopping expereince of matching underware pairs for couples. It describes its approach as ‘different cuts for different butts’. Beside a subscription, customers can also purchase individual or visit the 2018 opened first flagship store in Los Angeles.
Category: luxury accessories
Price: starts at USD 275 per month
About Vyrent: This luxury watch subscription business allows customers to get access to multiple high-end watches over the course of their membership.
In contrary to similar (mainly watch rental) companies, vyrent follows an unique marketplace approach: different retailers and wholesalers are offering their own watches and setting their own prices; vyrent do not own any watches.
BoneBox by Skulls Unlimited
Category: box experience
Price: starts at USD 24,99 per month
About BoneBox: Skulls Unlimited provides legally and ethically obtained natural bones and bone replicas. Beside individual purchases the customers can subscribe to a BoneBox containing natural animal bone products (no replica) such as skulls, teeth, bacula, claws and others.
Skulls Unlimited also offers a purchase, where private individuals may offer Skulls Unlimited skulls and skeletons.
Rent the Runway
Price: starts at USD 89 per month
About Rent the Runway: Rent the Runway helps women to cut down the amount of clothing in their possession by providing a subscription to evening gowns as well as everyday wear. Starting with 1 swap (4 items) per month, the subscription can be upgraded to unlimited swaps. You also have a chance to purchase your absolute favorites. Membership includes insurance for minor damages and signs of wear.
As the company states, an average woman in the US throws away about 37 kg of clothing per year. Hence subscription-based wardrobe contributes to less clothing waste. Garments no longer suitable for the clients are re-sold or donated.