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The Whole Box

A young New Orleanian is tackling her student loans with a successful subscription box company.



Fruit of the month and coffee clubs have been around for years, but new on the scene is a thriving e-commerce business: subscription boxes. The model is simple ―a subscriber is billed on a recurring basis and receives products at the same time every month.

Two of the most recognizable services are Birchbox, which offers beauty, grooming and lifestyle products, and Blue Apron, which offers chef-designed meals you prepare at home.

Recently joining this trend is New Orleanian Katie Paganuzzi, who began her business, The Whole Box, last September. Paganuzzi has a full-time job but was looking for a little extra income to help pay off her student loans. One day she and a co-worker were discussing some options and decided an online business was the way to go.  

So Paganuzzi began exploring subscription boxes and thought about what kind of box she’d subscribe to and use. She tries to eat healthy and was a fan of the Whole 30 Challenge, a program that strips sugar, grains, dairy and legumes from your diet for 30 days.

“Doing a Whole30 challenge, or clean eating in general, can be challenging,” she says. “You have to check ingredient labels and food prep, and a lot of people tend to eat the same things over and over again. I wanted to find a way to introduce people to new items that would keep their healthy life interesting."

Her box is filled with five to seven gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, dairy-free items and includes such things as salad dressings, almond butter and coconut creamer. She also includes some samples and coupons.

“I reach out to manufacturers that offer clean food items,” she says. “I get most of the items for free in exchange for the exposure that we bring.”

Vendors love working with subscription boxes because it creates brand awareness.

Paganuzzi says she thoroughly enjoys her “side hustle,” as she calls it, even though the success of the business is making it harder for her to everything done in her “working hours” — between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Paganuzzi is beginning to branch off a bit and she is now helping others start their own subscription boxes.

Oh, and by the way, she says she doubled her income and put a huge dent into her student loans.

You know I was thinking of starting a subscription box business too, one that would cater to my favorite thing to do ― reading a good book in a hot luxurious bath. Unfortunately that niche has already been filled by Bubbles & Books, a monthly subscription box that offers “one romance novel, all-natural artisan-crafted soap, candles and teas.”

I’m in.

 


The Whole Box

thewholebox.com

katie@thewholebox.com

 

 

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Labors of Love

Small Business Snapshots By Pamela Marquis

About

After more than 40 years, Pamela Marquis thinks she can claim New Orleans citizenship. A frequent contributor to Biz New Orleans and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles, Marquis has decades of experience as a freelance writer specializing in business writing. Marquis spent many years working in the non-profit world and holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri.

Living in and loving the 7th ward, she spends her spare time walking her foster dog, playing with her brilliant granddaughters and dashing grandson and gardening. 

 

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