PeriodBox is a UK-based premium monthly subscription service that bundles a choice of tampons and pads with hand-picked goodies and treats.

Every customisable box contains a selection of premium teas, artisan chocolate, a range of high-end beauty samples and a uniquely designed gift or art print by a featured artist of the month.

I talked to Mags Sikora and Daniela Luibrand, the co-founders of PeriodBox, about the business and its plans for future growth.

Please describe what the company does...

PeriodBox is a monthly subscription service aiming to make periods happier and easier.

We deliver exactly what is needed when it is needed: a bespoke combination of tampons and pads to eliminate emergency trips to the chemist and a curated selection of luxury boutique products for much needed TLC.

What problems does it solve?

We want to change the way women experience their period. For most women it's a rather dreaded time each month  - cramps, mood-swings, migraines – the lot!

What they´re really looking for is a comfort and a bit of self-indulgence. That’s where we come in.

The PeriodBox contains a customised combination of branded feminine care products (“stop the flow”), a wonderful selection of luxury beauty samples, a choice of mouth-watering, artisan chocolates and teas (“distract the body”) – all delivered discreetly and at the right time.

PeriodBox is designed to suit different preferences and different lengths of periods by allowing our customers to mix and match tampons and pads by type, brand and absorbency.

No matter what their personal preference is – tampons during the day, pads at night – they can build their box to make it bespoke to their personal needs.

We take care of everything and ship the PeriodBox a few days before the period is due. The box itself comes in a very discreet package to make sure it can be delivered to an office address.

We believe that PeriodBox adds real value to women’s lives. We’re overwhelmed with positive responses we receive from our clients and bloggers. That positive feedback makes us believe we create something good, that we really “change the way women experience their periods”.

What are your goals?

We want to be recognised as a luxury and “feel good” brand that contributes to our customers’ lives by making their periods just a little bit easier and better with each box.

Thanks to PeriodBox, women begin to associate a period cycle with something more pleasant and even with something to look forward to. 

Rather than being considered yet another tampon delivery service, we aim to create an experience of receiving a box that has more to do with receiving and opening a present, thanks to its beautiful wrapping and packaging.

Additionally, we want to introduce our customers to fantastic boutique products and high quality artisan brands, which they might not have a chance to discover themselves.

On the other hand, we want to provide those brands with a unique marketing platform.

Is this a crowded market? 

There aren´t many tampon subscription services in the UK. However in USA, there are few strong players like HelloFlo or LeParcel, which have grown very fast over the last two years.

This shows that there is demand for such a concept and why wouldn’t there be? Almost half the word’s population and around 15m women in the UK use these products once a month.

It is not surprising that this type of business attracts not only new players on the market, but also investors (although usually male venture capitalists like to fund products they can use themselves).

In the USA, subscription start-ups have attracted tech investors, even though it’s a relatively low-tech game.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

As a subscription-based business model, handling payments is not the easiest part of the business. Subscription billing is more vulnerable to payment detail changes such as credit card expiration.

One-time transactions using online payment methods like credit cards are simpler, either the payment goes through and the customer gets the product, or it doesn’t and they don’t.

For recurring payments, you must be able to bill customers repeatedly, and to respond appropriately if payment is not forthcoming.

Another challenge we are facing is lifecycle management. Since we want our customers to be able to customise their boxes and modify their subscription at some point (e.g. change the frequency of received packages), our customer management can become a challenge.

That becomes even more interesting when you deal with increasing number of customers. We’re currently working on developing our own tools to enable good subscription lifecycle management functionality.

Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?

In one year we want to be the leading premium tampon subscription service in the UK.

In three years time we see ourselves growing into a lifestyle brand with our website becoming a community and a place to embrace womanhood. We would also like to open the B2B side of the business as well.

In five years we will have expanded to other markets in Europe and have launched our own range of, ideally, organic female products - our own tampons, pads and liners (similar to the Dollar Shave Club).

How will you make money?

We are a subscription service and charge our customers for their monthly subscription in advance. The price per month depends on the length of the period (more sanitary products) and the chosen subscription plan.

There are monthly and three-month plans available. Prices range from £15.95 to £18.95 per box.

We make money from the margins and we continue working on improvement of our partnership offering. A growing number of customers put us in a better negotiating position when talking to brand we invite to work with us.

Who is in your team?

PeriodBox was founded by Mags Sikora, Daniela Luibrand and Filip Zywica who have all been involved in multiple online businesses and start-ups over the last six years.

The male founding member, Filip, is the creative head of the business. Mags, who worked as an SEO and digital expert for brands like NEW LOOK and Expedia looks after the business and its technology side.

Daniela's background is digital marketing. She has been involved in a few start-ups as a co-founder and consultant and is looking after our marketing.

The three of us, without hiring a single developer, put together PeriodBox website including all the integrations and custom functionalities. A truly shoestring project that we’re really proud of.

Other than your own, what are your favourite websites, apps or tools?

An app that we really like and that both female founders use is Clue. It's a beautifully designed period tracking app. The interface design is sleek and simple and like PeriodBox it doesn't use girlish colours – which we love!

On day-to-day basis organising our work would be much more difficult without Trello. Trello is a great tool that lets us keep track of everything, from the strategy to the minute details (and its basic version doesn’t cost a penny!)

MailChimp has truly put our mailing list on autopilot, whilst using Zapier let us automate some other necessary functionalities, so there is no room for repetition.

Period Box has also been mentioned in our feature on mobile micro UX, and to read more from our Start Me Up series here: My Glasses Club and OffOnHols.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 29 January, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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