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Ashley Conway, Vice President of Customer Experience at Cratejoy has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs launching their subscription box.

Cratejoy is a subscription box platform and marketplace. They believe recurring revenue is the best way to start a side hustle or increase revenue for a small business.

Cratejoy’s platform equips entrepreneurs with the tools they need to be successful including a website builder, customer support team, subscriber management and shipping exports. Their Marketplace is a turnkey sales channel that guarantees to bring more subscribers to merchants.

Their goal is to help people monetize their passions and realize their dreams through subscription commerce.

In this episode, Ashley talks about what it takes to start a subscription box as well as best practices. She also shares how you could win $1,000 from Cratejoy for Small Business week 2018.

Focus on the small wins and you’ll be surprised at how much you can do when you’re not looking at it as one big thing. - Ashley Conway Click To Tweet

In This Episode of the Start Fierce Business Podcast:

  • Ashley talks about Cratejoy – an all-in-one subscription box platform.
  • She shares what it takes to have a successful subscription box.
  • We discuss breaking down big tasks when starting a business so you’re not overwhelmed.
  • We talk about Small Business Week and the resources Cratejoy is providing to celebrate.
  • She shares how you can win $1000 and some other goodies from Cratejoy to celebrate Small Business Week.

Ashley’s Favorite Online App:

(Some of the links listed below are affiliate links, and I will receive compensation for you signing up for service using my links.)

Mentioned in this Episode:

  • Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • Yes! by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, & Robert B. Cialdini

Reach Out to Ashley:

Transcript

Note: Transcripts are created automatically and are not 100% accurate. However, they help our visitors find relevant content using our website’s search feature.

Welcome to the show. Ashley, thanks at me. I’m so happy to be here. It’s great to have you tell me about yourself outside of business. I’m originally from Dayton, Ohio. I am the child of two attorney. So I thought for a long time that I would grow up to be an attorney just like them. But I ended up going to business school and undergrad and then moved to Washington, DC and sort of accidentally landed in the entrepreneurial community first in the wedding industry in the now with subscription boxes. But outside of that, I recently moved to Austin, Texas. So I’ve been really enjoying getting to know a new part of the country and exploring all that this great town has to offer. Okay, well, tell me about crate joy and

Your role with a company? Absolutely. So crate joy is an all in one platform. We help entrepreneurs start run or scale their subscription box business. And so we do that in a variety of ways. Whether you need help with customer order management or web hosting and design, a subscription box focus checkout experience, or helping with marketing, customer acquisition. For the marketplace. We have the industry’s only all in one solutions specifically geared for subscription boxes. And me personally, I am the VP of customer experience. So I work with all the customer facing teams, whether that is through support customer success or sales to really create and sustain long term relationships with our merchants. What does it take to start a successful subscription box? You know, it can seem quite overwhelming to start because not only are you trying to start a business but you’re trying to start a subscription business so you have to really think ahead about

Oh my gosh. how, you know, how do I how do I merchandise or fill the items in my box 12 months out and it starts to get really overwhelming. But it’s actually not that difficult to just start. As long as you have an idea and you have a customer or community in mind, it’s pretty easy to come up with the idea for your box. So we see a lot of merchants come our way and say, Hey, you know, I have a professional connection to the knitting community or, you know, I’ve run a successful successful e commerce business selling crafting items or soap or whatever. And we help them turn that idea, that passion into a subscription box model. And so really, as long as you have an idea for a business or an idea for the type of product that you want to see in a box, or the type of customer that you’d like to serve, that’s about all it takes to get started. Okay, and what’s the biggest mistake that you see people make when they’re starting a

subscription box. I think people try and build Rome in a day. And I make a lot of my my team once they listen to this podcast to laugh at me and make a lot of gym analogies. So it’s like January 1, you waking up and saying I’m this is the year that I’m going to get in shape and thinking about all the things that you have to do in order to lose like 50 pounds, when in fact, you should probably just put on sneakers and go to the gym and the rest will figure itself out.

That is great advice. Because I see a lot of people with all types of businesses. They’re like, I want to start a business and then you ask them in a month. Hey, what did you do? Oh, I haven’t done anything because it’s so hard. I don’t know. We’re sorry. Absolutely. So we have a private Facebook group called subscription school. So it is a community of about 10,000 folks at this point who are in various stages of running a subscription box business and I can’t tell you how many times we see people go I got an idea to start my

box and that I went down a Google rabbit hole. And now it really overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start. So, you know,

I think I think the best advice would be like, take a step back, think about the sequencing and really just take it one step at a time. Focus on the small wins. And then, you know, and you’ll be surprised with how much you can do when you’re not thinking about it all as one big thing. So this interview is kicking off small business we can you tell us a little bit about that? Yeah, absolutely. And we’re really excited to

team up with actually a few folks that we’re teaming up with. So, cabbage ship station, mainstream hub, lead dyno and JoAnn Fabrics. So we’re bringing a week’s worth of tips and tricks for small business owners all around starting a subscription box. So diving into challenges like shipping and sourcing and how do I you know, get new customers? How do I think about my social media? So we’ve got a week’s worth of content and we’re going

Giving away $1,000

plus a small business tool kit. So an Apple Watch social media assessment, a affiliate marketing, business consultation, and then 90 days free of ship station. And so we’re super excited is the first time that we’ve gotten some folks together to do a big a big campaign for National Small Business Week. So I think on our our social channels and in our email newsletter, we’ve got some more information about that. Okay, awesome. And I’ll link to that in the show notes. So if you’re interested, you can check that out. If you could have lunch with one business thought leader, who would it be? And you know, I thought about this question because I wasn’t sure who I would pick my I will say as an aside my mom I’ve been really fortunate to be to have a great like female leader in my life. My mom has been like a great entrepreneurial minded business leader.

For a number of years, so if she was busy,

I would probably I started searching to see I went to Miami University in Ohio. And I was looking at like, Oh, you know, maybe there are some female entrepreneurs that went to Miami. And in fact,

the COO of Instagram, Marty Levine. Not only did she go to Miami, but she also lived in Washington, DC for a number of years. So I would probably go to lunch with her and say, Hey, I’m you know, I’m just like you. How do I

tell me all your secrets? I can replicate it or here. Exactly, exactly.

What’s your favorite business book? It’s funny reading. Sometimes it’s like starting a business. You really have great aspirations for doing so. And then you find yourself a month later. They can’t live dizzy. I never I never read that book. There’s this book called Yes it is.

by Robert Cialdini, he’s written a number of books on persuasion techniques. And the thing that I like about I call it the book. The thing that I liked about the book is that it’s 50 small chapters with very specific persuasion techniques for each chapter. So you can read like five or seven pages and learn and do persuasive technique that you can use in the real world. I made I made my team we did a we did a big

Gosh, it’s almost like a book report. They’ll laugh at me again,

each person had to read a chapter of the book and then talk about how to use that persuasion technique in real life. So it’s something as simple as like there’s one chapter that’s just about the word because so you’ll find that if you you if you back up why you want some somebody to do something with the reason they’ll say yes, more often. So like if you’re in line at the grocery store, and you ask

The person in front of you like, Hey, can I cut in front of you? Because maybe you only have two items, and the other person was 15. And they’re more likely to say no. But if you say, hey, do you mind if I cut in front of you? Because I only have two items, they’re more likely to say, Oh, sure, of course. So even something as small as the word because, like, they have a whole chapter on that. So I really like the book because I find that it’s very practical. Okay, awesome. I’ll have to check that out. And you know what? Yeah, in your defense to your team,

at least you only asked them to read one chapter each. Exactly like you can do five pages.

I love to read. I don’t like reading business books. I prefer to listen to them on audio just because they’re boring and they half the time they put me to sleep marketing books are okay. Mm hmm. But most the stuff it’s just like the reason suddenly I just listened to it on audio book because I are boring. I do prefer I prefer

reading fiction book I’m with you on that one. Although I will say another Actually, I read. I read a book recently called everybody lies. It’s by Seth Stevens Davidowitz and I hope that i’m pronouncing his name correctly. He was a data science data scientist at Google. And so his whole book talks about how we’re more honest with Google than we are with like in society or with our friends or things like that. And so it’s all about how Google searches can actually predict trends you know before they catch on so super interesting to talk all about like different different areas and pop culture and politics So that was another another fun one that’s super interesting. I read an article once about about people lying and it was really old but it said that people are more likely to lie to you on the phone or in purse well on the phone after that is in person.

via text message, and they’re least likely to live via email because you have a trail. Oh, that’s so interesting. I think it’d be the opposite. Because you’re like, you don’t have to face them. So there’s like that more anonymity when it’s over email. But I guess you’re right. You know, paper trail, right? Exactly. You can forward it to, I don’t know, their boss, or if it’s a customer, right? They can forward it to your boss or something. Oh, that’s funny. That’s interesting. Mm hmm. What’s your favorite internet resource or app that just makes your life easier. I love Google Alert. So I have Google Alerts set up for all sorts of different things. I have them set up for crate joy. I have them set up for some of our competitors. I have them set up for subscription box, all sorts of different terms. And I always get excited when I see that my email and I find that I’m able to catch up with what’s going on in the community in a much more efficient way.

than, you know, trying to read, like Mashable or Tech Crunch or keep up with blogs, like all morning I can get overwhelming. So I like

I like Google Alerts quite a bit. And then civilian internet resource I use all the time. But I recommend to small businesses. I really like Amex open forum. So American Express business has a content website called Open Forum. And I just think they do such a good job. Their articles are always like really well thought out. The topics are like super interesting and the contents really accessible. So I always recommend to folks if they haven’t checked out open forum. That’s a pretty good one for small business. Thank you haven’t heard of that one. I’ll check it out. Further. Google Alerts do you interact with some of the content or is it mostly for you to do research and for education purposes, and a lot of times is

for research, but I find that quite often, actually, more often than not our own customers. So our merchants will be featured in the news. And so I’ll send a little congratulatory note to them saying, Oh, I saw you were in, you know,

Business Insider, or I saw you are on like the, you know, Grand Rapids local newspaper. And sometimes, you know, they’ll know about it, and they’ll say, yeah, we’re so excited. And then I’ve had a couple times where they’re like, Oh, my gosh, I didn’t know that I didn’t even have it and they get really excited.

So it’s a good way to connect with them. Our customer base as well. Where can listeners connect with you online and where can we connect with great joy online? Yeah, so I mentioned before subscription school is a very active and thriving community. It is where employees from crate joy also spend a lot of their time I’m in there as well. Just talking about all things subscription box and growing your business.

And being an entrepreneur you know of all different stages I’m personally on LinkedIn

and you know I don’t use Twitter and Instagram as more for like me and my personal life so if you want to see me exploring the Austin area or going to a boxing class you can follow me on Instagram

and create joy is active on Facebook definitely for our subscription school and Twitter and Instagram as well so crate joy biz is our b2b handle all over the place okay perfect well Ashley thanks so much for sharing your story with us today absolutely thanks so much.

Cindy Rodriguez is the host of the Start Fierce Business Podcast. When she’s not interviewing awesome entrepreneurs, she’s working on growing her startup, going to Disney World with her daughter, or reading a book.

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