In 2016, Steph Taylor made a huge life decision and quit her safe corporate job at a Big Four accounting firm to pursue her newly formed e-commerce business The Sugarfree Box.
Within 11 months, she has managed to grow her email list to 3,000 subscribers, gained 500 sign-ups in a day for her “7 Day Sugar-free Challenge” and can already support herself financially through a combination of subscription sales and working part-time in digital marketing for a new legal startup.
However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Steph, who made some fundamental changes to her business after 6 months and soon figured out that changing her product would be the best thing she could ever do for her business.
Reconsider your revenue model
Most subscription-based models out there are based on a monthly cycle. Sticking with the norm, Steph did the same with the Sugarfree Box.
The problem was that there was a very small margin on the monthly subscription boxes, which consequently required a high-volume of sales to make the business viable. “I assumed that we would reach high volume very quickly. This assumption proved wrong, and nearly sent us broke!” admits Steph.
To solve this issue, she almost tripled the price, changed the cycle to quarterly and made the products seasonal based (i.e. the Autumn box, the Winter box). This would be one of the smartest things she ever did.
For starters, she only had to manage the logistics of sourcing, packaging and posting her boxes 4 times a year instead of 12.
Steph was also winning from a financial perspective (she is a trained accountant after all!) By changing her subscription to a quarterly cycle, Steph had reduced her postage costs by 66%! This was because rather than subsidising the customer’s “free shipping” 3 times a quarter, Steph was only paying postage for one box every 3 months!
You need to love your product
When changing the revenue model, Steph realised she would have some cash leftover to reinvest in her business and saw the opportunity to rebrand.
“I got to the point where I actually hated the product and I thought that something needs to change.
Steph disliked the design of her old product so much that when friends asked to buy it, she would try to persuade them not to! “I couldn’t afford to get nice boxes so it was just a white mailer box with a ribbon tied around it. It looked awful!”
The packaging wasn’t the only thing Steph updated. Originally she had marketed her boxes as products containing less than 5g of sugar. The only problem was when she had to return a batch of goods to suppliers when the sugar content was just over the 5g limit due to a few extra goji berries.
She quickly realised that a few bits of dried fruit could become an administrative nightmare and decided to change her subscription boxes to “refined sugar-free” products” instead. With a simple pivot Steph saved herself from checking the nutritional labels on every individual product as she packs each box!
It can be hard to change part of your business or product, especially when it may cost you a little bit of money upfront. However, make sure you also factor in the opportunity cost of future lost sales, increased postage costs or additional administration time. Learn from Steph and her success with The Sugarfree Box; make sure you love your product and don’t be scared to change things up. It may be the best thing you ever do for your business!
Steph is the founder of The Sugarfree Box, a refined sugar-free subscription box and health food marketing business that aims to spread the message of the benefits of living a refined sugar-free lifestyle and get people on board #thesugarfreemovement. Working in a stressful corporate environment, Steph found herself bingeing on chocolates just to cope with the stress of each day. Realising that this was draining her energy levels, making her moody and damaging her health, Steph decided to make a change. The problem was that product labels were just so deceptive! And so The Sugarfree Box was born. Each season of the year, subscribers receive a beautifully packaged box, stuffed to the brim with refined sugar-free health foods that are genuinely nutritious. Not only do the products taste great, they make you feel great too!
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Rebecca Ridhalgh currently works in Banking and Finance and runs her e-c-commerce business JetSetGel. Obsessive about business and the entrepreneur space and always a feminist at heart — Rebecca loves her opportunity to meet impressive female business owners and learn from their experiences. Contact Rebecca via [email protected]