Everyone loves getting presents in the mail, and sourcing goods close to home is as hot a shopping trend as any these days.
Now, a pair of Somerville entrepreneurs are combining the two, with their latest venture matching appreciators of all things crafty and tasty with Boston makers. It’s Boston in a box, delivered to your front door.
For $39 a month, the start-up offers a packaged mix of goods, from candles to chocolate to earrings to artisanal salt, offered up by a group of nine small businesses.
The idea, said Boston & Bale co-founder Michelle Wax, came during a bike ride in Cambridge and a chance encounter with a farmers market.
“We found, on a tucked-away street, a farmers market we’d never even heard of and found lots of great items we wouldn’t have found in our daily lives,” Wax said.
This is a second entrepreneurial effort for Wax, who also runs a cookie company called Kitchen Millie. Expect to find some of her treats inside boxes, she said.
She preferred not to talk about the number of users, but production is on the super small side. Wax and co-founder Elise Beck, who are also roommates, run the operation out of their Porter Square apartment.
But Wax said Boston & Bale are dreaming big, aiming to offer delivery services in other cities and hoping to move to a larger facility.
Wax and Beck are riding a wave of new stuff-in-a-box services around the country. Companies like BarkBox (for dogs), Birchbox (for cosmetics aficionados) and NatureBox (for snackers) seem to have tapped into an urge consumers have for the goods boxed and assorted.
“Each month it’s like a gift to yourself,” Wax said, who added she has signed up for a few similar companies’ offerings. “I liked it because I didn’t know what I’m getting and it’s an element of surprise. That’s what we’re trying to convey as well.”
Boston & Bale’s version comes tailored to buyers’ tastes and is packed with little cards that include information about the crafters and cooks featured in each installment – a way for independent makers to connect with consumers on a more personal level and build a fan base.
It’s a win-win for Boston-area small businesses, said local confectioner and company partner Pure7 Chocolate founder Carrie Rahl.
“It’s great exposure for us,” said Rahl, who is based in Carlisle and makes chocolates sweetened with honey. “I think people are starting to look more toward wanting local products and Boston has got so many great food companies.”