I started Sober Friends Club to help people in recovery connect around products and content curated to support and inspire a sober lifestyle. The idea for a monthly subscription box came from my background in business and the current popularity of subscription boxes. The goal was never to make money from the project, but to give back to the recovery community and to help people connect in a more meaningful way. Over the course of getting this project from idea to reality, I created a business plan. The business plan was created to help myself get organized and to force me to put into writing just how the project could work. I started working with the numbers in a financial model and realized that at the price I wanted to offer the boxes for, the project could not work financially. So based on those numbers and the cost of products in the sample box I created, I established a price which would allow us to operate.
Admittedly, the business side of me took over. I got caught up in the numbers and strayed away from the purpose of the project, which was to get the boxes in the hands of people who wanted and needed them. While I still don’t think $34 or less per month is too outrageous for a little sober support and inspiration, I do understand that most people are on a budget and this box is a commodity. Plus, I feel icky doing sales marketing and asking people for money for any reason, much less those who are trying to overcome something so serious. Therefore, I started thinking of ways to lower the cost.
Without boring you with all the financial model details, it comes down to lowering the cost of the products included in the box. Through building working relationships with product vendors to get discounted and donated products, I can lower the cost of the box. It takes a considerable amount of time to search for products that would be a good fit, contact the seller, and negotiate a mutually beneficial deal. That’s where I’m fortunate enough to have a great partner in this project who is leading the sourcing charge. Without her help from the inception of this project, the Sober Friends Club would not be to market yet. She has also done an amazing job with designing our logo, doing product photography, and creating most of the graphics we use in our marketing campaigns. All without asking for a dime in compensation. My passion project has become hers as well. If you get a chance, please take the time to thank Amanda S. or compliment her work.
This project also would not have come to fruition if it weren’t for a couple of fantastic vendors that I met in the online recovery community. Author Lisa Boucher of the book Raising The Bottom, graciously donated signed copies of her book for our pre-sale box. Dawn Comolly of The Sober Fish Story gave me a great discount on her amazing sober greeting cards and even included free shipping to the U.S. from the UK. It’s great partnerships like these that I am talking about and will be key to the success of the Sober Friends Club!
Now, let me explain my personal position. I want to clarify that even though the boxes at the old price would’ve made a small profit, I had no intentions of actually profiting from it myself and would’ve put all profits back into the business to get more boxes out. But, I went ahead and lowered the prices on ALL of our subscription plans and included FREE U.S. shipping. That pretty much wipes out any profit margin and depends on working out more great vendor relationships. I would like to eventually get us a little compensation for our time as sourcing products, negotiating with vendors, ordering supplies, putting the boxes together, and all other work involved is very time-consuming, but for now, I’m willing to donate my time & energy to the cause and Amanda is willing to do the same. I’m a full-time college student and money is tight. I don’t have the funds needed to start a business like this, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. I truly believe in this project and that it will succeed one way or another.
With that being said, in order for this new, lower cost model to work I need to show that there is a large number of people interested in receiving a Sober Friends Club subscription box. I’ve set up an e-mail list to collect contact information for those interested. PLEASE take a moment to sign-up for notifications about the Sober Friends Club project. Your information will not be used in any way other than to provide news & updates for this project. The more who show interest, the more affordable and better quality items I can get.
If you would like to help our cause by donating a few bucks, please contact me. Thank you all for your support and keep OWNING that SOBRIETY!