Quarterlies We Love
In a world continuous choice, the ultimate indulgence now is not having to choose.
The subscription model is being reborn thanks to online tastemakers and well-edited quarterly collections straight from the curated popup retail playbook. This new form of eCommerce outlines a defined theme without allowing the purchases to know the what products are contained within in their shipments until they open each mailing. By preserving the element of surprise, quarterlies are quickly immerging as a decisive and eccentric component of eCommerce.
Here are two examples, appropriately named Quarterly and Svbscription, to give you an idea of how lifestyle, storytelling, and limited-time-offerings aim to reshape they way we think of experiential shopping.
Quarterly Co. wants to connect shoppers with original content and hand-selected items from influential contributors. The offerings and themes range from items for your kitchen and table (by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs of Food 52) to design objects with problem solving combinations (by Josh Rubin & Evan Orensten of Coolhunting) and range from $25-$100, per mailing, every three months. Per the website:
"Each product will reflect on the person who selected it, and help inform your understanding of them. So maybe you’ll get the same kind of notebook that your favorite author used to plot her recent bestseller. Or maybe it’s the tea a musician was drinking while he penned a famous track. Or perhaps it’s a secret family cold remedy an artist used while working on a masterpiece. The point is, every object—while uniquely brilliant in its function—will also have a story, and through that story take on new meaning."
To best experience the ideals outlined by Quarterly, we subscribed to contributor Joel Johnson’s theme (above). Each of his mailings will be inspired by his late grandmother, Bessie Vivian Hildebrand, and we're incredibly touched by how the first shipment (called #BVH01 to correspond with a twitter hashtag) gave new meaning to common kitchen products with a simple series of memories.
Svbscription is a luxury quarterly service targeting a male clientele. Every three months, members receive a new parcel with a unique them of curated products and experiences that intersect design, culture, technology, apparel, and entertainment. The cost of one box is $330 and a yearly subscription is $1150.
The latest theme explores and reconstructs the notion of the collection for the modern man with enough vagueness to leave the potential subscriber baffled. Below are photos and a description from "V4 – The Collector’s Edition".
Either casually, formally or unconsciously, collecting is an act we perform throughout our lives, culminating in the ownership of prized objects, rare finds, precious discoveries and vast archives of everything from magazines to memories. Yet in a world where we suffer from the the [SIC] tyranny of abundance, overwhelmed by choice and selection, those things we do select to fill our bookshelves and minds say more about ourselves than they would have said for our fathers and grandfathers. No gentlemen — in this modern age it is no longer enough to be simply gifted with a sense of good taste. Without the right training and tools, any man can fall from the heights of refined collector to the annals of verbosity, over-consumption and dare we say, hoarding."
While most shoppers might be turned off by this type of merchandising, it's obvious from the previous versions — all of which are sold out — that the concept connects with an affluent customer willing to spend $330 on a lifestyle sans actual product photos.