subscription box

Is the Subscription Box Model Fading? Not in the Clothing Industry

Thanks to Pixabay on Pexels for the featured image

In the last decade, new subscription box businesses have popped up all over the place in a variety of genres. Businesses use the subscription box model to sell everything including makeup, dog toys, books, coffee, and even random surprises.

There are some who believe the model is saturated in popular industries. However, as of April 2018, the U.S. subscription box industry saw an 890% increase since 2014.

This data comes from a report presented at the Subscription Summit by Hitwise senior analyst John Fetto. According to Hitwise, the top subscription sites in 2018 were Ipsy, Blue Apron, and Hello Fresh. Not surprisingly, the famed Dollar Shave Club came in at number five. Birchbox—the box that started it all—came in eighth.


With multiple boxes in the same industry, it seems there’s little room for new players to thrive. However, the data suggests leadership in any subscription market is up for grabs, since consumers don’t act with brand loyalty in the subscription market. Also, the data shows that 20% of the subscription market is made up of products other than apparel.

The Fashion Industry Isn’t Likely to Ever Become Oversaturated

At first glance, the apparel subscription market might seem oversaturated. This opinion seems especially true since Gap pulled the plug on their subscription services just one year after launching a subscription box for baby outfits and Old Navy branded pajamas. If a popular brand couldn’t make it work, does that mean it’s a tough market? Not exactly. The company hasn’t announced why they stopped offering subscription boxes.

What’s more, there are plenty of successful clothing subscription boxes that aren’t household brand names. Success isn’t just about having a famous name. It’s about cornering a niche with unmet needs.

Successful Subscription Companies Target Niche Markets

Subscription companies in the fashion industry are meeting those needs by targeting niche markets. Further, some companies distinguish themselves by incorporating charitable donations into their business model. One of those companies is kidpik, a niche subscription service offering cute outfits for girls tailored to their style preferences.

It’s a Subscription Box Just for Girls

Kidpik is a subscription box for girls ages 3-12. In addition to accepting free returns, kidpik will donate unwanted items when the subscriber buys the whole box. To sweeten the deal, buying the whole box comes at a 30% discount.

Another subscription fashion box cornering a niche market is Rockets of Awesome. This subscription box provides seasonal clothing for boys and girls ages 2-14, tailored to their preferences. What’s more, all designs are created in-house, and the styles are highly unique.


Other clothing subscription services are targeting different age groups. And some give parents the ability to select the clothing before the box gets shipped to avoid surprises.

Are You Considering Building a Subscription Box Service?

If you’ve been considering launching a subscription box service, you’re in good company. The market is always open to new ideas. Also, it’s possible to overtake any market as the leader.

Here are some key points Cratejoy makes about starting a subscription box business:

Start with a Great Idea

All successful subscription boxes start with a good idea. What’s more, your idea needs to meet the needs of a specific and detailed market.

What is your niche market? While you might find success in a general market, specificity is better. For example, the Unicorn Dream Box is filled with unicorn-themed toys. It will capture the attention of unicorn lovers everywhere. Unicorns are popular, so they’re in a good niche.

Also, the Sensory TheraPLAY Box is full of toys to engage a child’s senses. This doubles as therapy for many kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Research Your Market

Who is your customer? Who are your competitors? What can you do differently? Or should you choose a new niche?

Price Your Subscription Box

Price your subscription box based on real numbers, not what sounds good. Moreover, it takes at least a 40% profit margin to be successful. High-end goods will obviously cost more, and customers will expect to pay more. Use this pricing calculator if you need help calculating your subscription box price.

Fashion Can Be an Evergreen Subscription Box Model

If you want to launch a subscription box in the fashion industry, choose a niche that has an unmet need. However, be ready and willing to change that niche, as fashion trends are always in motion.