Lifting spirits: what it's like to launch a self-care subscription box service
Helping women to cope with life’s lemons is the mission of best friends Kyra Brown and Priya Shrivastav.
They are great believers in the importance of self-care having both struggled with mental health problems in the past.
Now they want to inspire others to take time out from their busy lives so they can relax and recharge their batteries.
They’ve launched Lemonade Box – a subscription service which delivers items aimed to reduce stress and lift the spirits by encouraging self-care and positive thinking.
Subscription boxes have grown in popularity in recent years with themes ranging from hair and beauty products to food and drink.
But Kyra and Priya say they spotted a gap in the market when it came to encouraging and helping women to put their mental and emotional health first.
“Self-care is something people are talking about more but a lot of women don’t know how to go about it.
“We met at university and we always knew we wanted to go into business together. We’ve both had struggles with mental health at different times and we knew we couldn’t be the only ones.
“We thought about what would help us. We did some research into subscription boxes and there were beauty boxes but there weren’t any for self-care.
“We saw there was a gap there for something to help women that are suffering and lift their mood and improve their wellbeing,” says Priya, aged 22.
The monthly boxes contain five to seven hand-picked products from local businesses and brands across the globe.
Items can include health and lifestyle products, beauty items, healing crystals, aromatherapy, healthy snacks and drinks, superfoods, skincare, bath and shower products and accessories.
All of the boxes contain products that are cruelty-free and so far they’ve all contained items that are also vegan friendly.
“The products are chosen by us and we test them to make sure they are going to help. We want everything to be perfect,” says Kyra, 22.
The boxes can be bought month- by-month, as a subscription, a present for a loved one, or a gift for a stranger in need and they aim to reduce stress and encourage self-care, mindfulness and positive thinking.
“Every month we keep the boxes a surprise so people don’t know what they are going to get. There is an information booklet that explains what the products are, how they can help and how to use them.
“There is also a monthly mission designed to encourage positive thinking and behaviour,” says Kyra.
Inside the box is the saying ‘when life gives you lemons, we give you lemonade’. “We didn’t want to call it something like the ‘happy box’ because we didn’t want to remind people that they might be feeling a bit sad.
“Everybody lives busy lives and it’s important they take time out for themselves. Some people feel selfish for doing it but self-care is so important, you can’t look after others if you don’t look after yourself,” says Kyra.
Since launching Lemonade Box at the start of June, the friends, who live in Oldbury, have attracted a band of loyal followers.
They began promoting what they were doing on Instagram at the start of the year and by the time they were ready to sell their first boxes, they already had 25 subscribers.
That has now grown to around 40 across the UK, Ireland and the US and their August box sold out in nine days.
“People were really excited about what we were going to do and they’ve followed the journey with us and have stuck with us,” says Priya.
“We get messages from women saying they didn’t realise how much they needed the boxes and how they have helped them. Some have cried when they’ve arrived,” she adds.
“When we put together our first box we were very nervous but the feedback has been all five star reviews,” adds Kyra.
They both enjoy communicating with their customers and are always on hand to answer questions and offer advice.
“We like to have a proper conservation with everybody who contacts us and they really like that as well,” says Kyra.
Last month they donated special Lemonade boxes to Your Sanctuary woman’s refuge in Woking, Surrey, which supports survivors of domestic abuse and their children.
They also plan to make a similar donation to a charity in Birmingham in the near future.
“They are used to only getting second-hand stuff so it was nice to give the women and the families living there some treats that were just for them,” says Kyra, who was born and brought up in Chertsey, Surrey.
“We are extremely passionate about helping others and spreading as much love and kindness as we possibly can,” says Priya.
The friends are excited about growing their business venture and what the future might hold for them.
“There is a lot of potential. For Christmas we are thinking of including gingerbread houses which they can all make together. We want it to be a big community,” says Kyra.
“It’s been really nice that people love what we’ve doing, especially as we came from nowhere, it’s been so rewarding,” says Priya.