You can get a subscription for pretty much anything these days, from meal kits to tampons. According to a 2018 McKinsey & Company survey, the U.S. subscription market has grown by more than 100 percent each year for the past five years, with curation services, such as clothing and beauty boxes, proving the most popular—and for good reason. “I love that I can bring the store to my closet and try on items with pieces that I already own,” says 34-year-old Sarah Barr from St. Albert, Alta., who has subscribed to Frock Box for three years.
The try-and-buy subscription service was founded by three Alberta-based moms in 2015 and features clothing and accessories. It’s an especially great option for those who don’t live close to a mall. “We have so many rural women as customers, and that’s a huge part of our business,” says Jenna Hill, owner of Frock Box. “We use Canada Post, so we can ship to anywhere in Canada, including PO boxes.”
How subscription boxes work
1. Create a profile
You typically start by providing a slew of information, including your measurements, colour preferences and other personal details (like your occupation) that can inform your personal style.
2. Wait for your box to be curated
In-house stylists and/or artificial intelligence technology will select clothing—plus accessories and shoes, depending on the service—to be shipped to your door.
3. Preview your haul
Many services, like Frock Box and Frank and Oak, allow you to pre-approve the contents of your box before it’s shipped—with the opportunity to swap out pieces you absolutely don’t like.
4. Try it on
Ultimately, you decide what to keep, sending back whatever you don’t want within a specific period of time (typically a week). Two-way shipping is generally covered by the service.
Three subscription boxes we love
With an inclusive size range (0 to 3XL) and thousands of styles—including pieces from Canadian labels like Saskatchewan-based Rebecca King—Frock Box has something for everyone. You’ll receive five items a month (which range from $30 to $300); keep at least one, and the $25 subscription fee is deducted from your total.
Describe your favourite activities and receive seven athleisure pieces (in sizes XXS to XL) from this Montreal-based company as often as you like. You’ll be charged an initial $25 styling fee, which is credited toward any purchases; prices range from $35 to $250.
This sustainable Montreal-based brand is known for its minimalist aesthetic. As part of its monthly service, you’ll receive three items (XS to XL), typically ranging in price from $29 to $150. There’s a $25 fee if the entire box is returned.