Interview Date: 1/28/19
Alix has always had a passion for good storytelling. Be it a movie, painting, or book, a good story is the way to her heart. Sharing great stories with great people is what motivated her to dive into LitJoy and never look back! At LitJoy Alix is head of marketing, branding, customer relations, and shop development. She prefers to communicate in only gifs.
Kelly has a passion (like A LOT of passion) for the details in books, products, and people. She loved the idea of creating an immersive experience for readers and thus LitJoy was born! Here at LitJoy Kelly is head of crate curation, publisher relations, and shop development. She taps into key themes in each book, then finds the perfect products and designs to bring these books to life.
What gave you the idea to do your box?
For over 12 years Kelly has run a book club and never missed a month! For years she had this thought: I want to make money with my bookclub somehow. When she pitched the idea of a book box to Alix, Alix was super supportive and totally surprised when Kelly asked Alix to join her as a partner. It was only the second time they had ever hung out! From the beginning the partnership felt very natural, and while it’s not exactly a book club, LitJoy does bring the joy of reading to people around the world!
Both of us have been interested in projects and people our whole lives. I think from a young age we knew that we would choose careers that challenged us creatively, however, I don’t think either of us could have anticipated starting a book box. That’s just so obscure! It has been the perfect way to put both of our natural skills to work, and it is pushed both of us beyond what we knew we were capable of.
How long have you been in business?
February 2019 marks our 3rd year of being in business!
What has been the best move you’ve made for your business?
Hands down, 100% the people we hire. Here at LitJoy we live by many principals, but two very important ones are: 1) If a job or a task is not our strength, hire someone whose strength it is and hire them as soon as possible; and 2) It doesn’t matter so much where the ship is heading, if you have the right crew on board. We LOVE our team. They are our family. We would do anything for them and are very careful about who we invite into our family.
What’s your favorite part of owning a sub box?
I think our previous answer applies here too, but I think we can both agree that working with our team to create a really clever and nerdy item is so rewarding. Our Magical Edition Crates feel like this huge team building exercise, it’s very exciting and challenging!
What is the most challenging part?
Time. Not having enough, spreading it too thin, and trading sleep for more of it. We are just now coming out of the start-up fog and it is a very intense experience starting your own company.
Which box or item has been your favorite and why?
I think the Magical Edition Crates win every time :)!
How do you find such amazing artists to contribute to your box?
We ask them! Usually on Instagram or by email. And we pay them. 🙂
What do your kids think of the business?
It’s hard to say. We both have 6-year-olds and 4-year-olds, which means they were respectively 3 and 1 when we launched. Our company does take some time away from our families, but we can both agree that running a business is very important to our families for two reasons: 1) It is fulfilling to Alix and Kelly as individuals. We are moms, but we are more than only a mom. LitJoy fills us with purpose and pushes us creatively. We want our children to know that every person deserves that, regardless of whether they choose to have children or not; and 2) It shows our children that if they put in the hustle, they too can run a company and have a career. Our children need powerful female role models in as much variety as possible. There is no one right way to be a woman or a mom. Period.
How/what do non-nerdy family members feel/think about your business?
They all think we are a little crazy :), but are very supportive and loving. They also ask us what books to read all the time.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking of starting a subscription box?
Ask yourself (with total honesty) what truly sets you apart from other subscription boxes and companies. Then ask yourself who your exact target customer is. If you can’t answer these questions yet, you’re in for a rougher start. Getting these right as soon as possible will save you a lot of money and time! As a second note, make sure you are deeply passionate about something to do with your company (e.g. the product, the marketing, the start-up challenge) because that will sustain you when the learning curve is kicking your butt!
I’d say study your market. By knowing your market, your demographic, the social medias around your readers…that will help you know exactly how to interact with them, relate to them, and write for them. This will take you far when pursuing publication.
Big thanks to Alix and Kelly for being our very first industry interview!