50 Spotlight Stationery subscription boxes

Our 50th subscription box!

Back in January 2016 when Rob and I were packing the subscription boxes for our first month, two things struck me; one,  folding flat-packed cardboard cartons takes FOR EVER and two, how lonely our single file copy looked on its shelf.

Today, that box – bottom left, “Spots, Circles & Spheres” theme – has 49 other boxes keeping it company.  And modesty forbids me telling you how many cartons I can fold per minute these days!

Fifty months. Fifty themes. You have no idea how much it pains me to say that we have subscribers in… forty nine countries! But there are four days left in the month, so there’s still time for a stationery lover in, say, Monaco, to sign up. Just saying…

Given that Spotlight Stationery was always intended to be a side project to run alongside the graphic design business I’d had for 30 odd years, no one was more surprised than me when it became obvious that the design work was going to have to fit in around running the subscription business. Today there’s no room for it at all and I can honestly say I don’t mind a bit. The subscription box business model has its stresses, but “When is the next project going to land?” isn’t one of them.

Ever since we started Spotlight, Rob and I have been helped by other stationery business owners, suppliers, large brands and artisan makers. The stationery community is so friendly and supportive! We’ve benefitted greatly from so many people willing to offer advice and encouragement and we’re very grateful. And it goes without saying that we have the BEST subscribers! A quick honourable mention for Toru in Japan, who’s had two boxes from us every month since we started!

Not only subscriptions… 

In November 2017 we took on an online stationery shop, Stationery & Art. We spent a couple of months sorting out the product list and re-branding (dusting off my old skills…) and launched in January 2018. It’s a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin stationery shop and is a great complement to the subscriptions.

I’m not sure what made us think that two stationery businesses wasn’t enough, but in September last year we started up Spotlight Seasons. It’s a quarterly collection of beautiful stationery which is too large/heavy/expensive for the budget and size/weight constraints we have for the subscription boxes. We were thrilled with the take-up and our customers’ reaction to the Winter Collection. I’m in the middle of packing up the Spring Collection now…

Four years. 50 subscription boxes. Three stationery businesses. How did that happen? No idea, but if you’ll excuse me I have to go now, I have more boxes to pack.

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