Kirsty Styles is a journalist who lives in Hackney. She was previously editor at Tech City News and is now a reporter at The Next Web. She l Kirsty Styles is a journalist who lives in Hackney. She was previously editor at Tech City News and is now a reporter at The Next Web. She loves tech for good, cleantech, edtech, assistive tech, politech (?), diversity in tech.
Subscription services have exploded in recent years, not least because it’s great regular business for companies looking to make money in the digital age.
For buyers, they can make a pretty great surprise from bills arriving at your door and they take some of the hassle out of trying to find a gift for the person who probably has everything.
So if you want to surprise your special someone when Valentine’s is all but forgotten, check out these cool subscription services that keep on giving all year round.
For the techies
LootCrate lets you choose between gamer, anime, geek clothing and even geeky pet packages, which it rolls up into a monthly subscription delivered to your door.
It’s partnered with the likes of Nintendo, Star Wars and Marvel to deliver the ultimate gift for geeks: one where you don’t even have to go outside.
You can pick a one-month plan at $24.95, or see the cost drop if you go in for three, six or 12-month subscriptions. LootCrate also promises you can cancel anytime.
The company currently ships to most major countries in North America, Europe and Asia.
If your loved one is more of a maker, and doesn’t mind an IOU, you can sign up to Thimble, which is yet to start shipping following its recent Kickstarter campaign, but promises a DIY electronics kit each month when it does.
For the one with analogue interests
Vinyl has certainly made a comeback over the past few years and there are now lots of different doorstep surprises for the one in your life with analogue interests.
The high-end, hand-picked service from Vnyl is one that’s sure to impress. Enter your loved one’s favorite artists (what do you mean you don’t know???), select a vibe (romance?) and curators who’ve worked in the music industry will be on the case.
Three months of that will set you back $36, which isn’t bad for keepsies records.
FlyingVinyl, meanwhile, presses five exclusive mixes to a 7″ vinyl each month featuring new alternative artists like Eaves, The Dubarrys and Kagoule. It also creates a mini-mag about who’s in the box and then ships them worldwide.
Gift subscriptions start at £57 for three months, or it’s £20 to get one month’s records delivered to your door.
If your best one is more into books, you can now subscribe to get a classic novel and a selection of hip tea to enjoy it with delivered each month from Book and a Brew.
The UK-based company is pretty new but has started delivering to the EU and now offers adult coloring hampers, and kids’ boxes, too. It’s currently £12.99 a month to sign up.
And if your special someone is more of a crafter, you can sign up from £10 per month for a box from Crafty Creatives sent worldwide every month.
For the one who likes a surprise
Not-Another-Bill lets you gift a curated hamper tailored to your special someone’s gender, age and interests made up of trinkets from artists, designers and brands.
The company ships these high-end-looking boxes anywhere in the world (free in the UK) and you can set how long you want the gifts to continue.
The service starts at £24 a month but you get money off the longer you sign up, meaning it’s £19 for a whole year of super-special presents.
Or check out Lucky Dip Club for something similarly quirky and different sent worldwide each month.
And for those people who are in trouble because they sort of forgot…
Alas, a real box may not be able to make it on time, but fear not, there’s also some last-minute gift options you won’t even need to answer the door for.
If your special someone doesn’t already have a movie streaming service of choice (dump them, now), why not let film lovers at Mubi choose one a day for them for just £4.99 per month?
And who needs a real book a month when you can get all of the books on whatever device you want to read them on? Cool alternatives to Amazon include Scribd’s $8.99 per month gift option, which includes comics and sheet music.
Or how about a digital subscription to a 17,000-strong catalog of Marvel comics for $9.99? If you’re US-based and a magazine fan who is keen to share, check out Texture, which gives you access to everything from National Geographic to Vanity Fair and Sports Illustrated, across all Web platforms, for $14.99 per month.
Word of warning…
We caught up with Daniel Petkevich, co-founder and CTO of subscription-cancellation service Trim, to pour a little bit of water on the dream of managing your life through your front door:
We’ve had people cancel as much as $400 in subscriptions in a month. The subscription model is the business manifestation of the “foot in the door” technique. It’s a lot easier to ask someone for a small payment one month at a time than it is a large payment once. Certainly part of the appeal of this model is that people simply forget to cancel subscriptions. We do however, see business with practices specifically meant to avoid this. Slack, for example, has a subscription model, but they only charge you if you’re an active user – i.e. actually using slack.
So, check the T&Cs, and that probably counts for the longevity of your relationship as well as the ongoing cost of the service you’re signing up for.
That awkward moment when you’ve been sending your ex a random box of craft things for SIX YEARS is looking ever closer.
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