Outside of the hustle and bustle of busy boutiques and malls are the online stores. Exclusive discounts, surprise sales and show-window gazes can be experienced on your computer screen and mailed to your door once a month every month for as long as you want. These packages are known as subscription boxes.

My Subscription Addiction, an online resource dedicated to finding subscription box companies, said the subscription box trend kicked off in 2010 with the launch of Birchbox, a monthly beauty sample subscription service. Each month, they send subscribers four to five beauty samples and lifestyle items to try out for $10. 

More companies emerged the following year, like BarkBox that ships dog treats and toys to dog-owners and Citrus Lane that sends toys, books, snacks and household products for new moms with young babies.

One subscription, FabFitFun, sends customers boxes of eight to 10 full-size beauty, wellness, fitness, fashion and home products for $49.99 per month. Some products are valued at $200 per box. 

Some subscription retailers are tailored to more specific demographics. Co-founded by American actress Kate Hudson, Fabletics sells women’s sportswear, footwear and accessories. 

Meghan Brennan-Payant is a Fabletics customer and enjoys its convenience. As a junior majoring in criminal justice and Alpha Phi sorority sister, she is often too busy to shop during the college season.

“I chose [Fabletics] because I work out a lot,” Brennan-Payant said. “The gym clothes come right to my door without me having to go out and buy them.”

There are different types of packages Fabletics can send you, and it all starts off with a six-step quiz. The quiz helps curious customers choose what items they would like delivered to their doorstep. 

Brennan-Payant’s subscription allows her to choose two pairs of workout leggings each month for $24. However, Brennan-Payant said that if she does not choose the leggings for that month, she gets charged $49.95. While this may discourage some, Brennan-Payant still has her membership. She enjoys the deals she receives and enjoys her selection even more.

“I have a wide range to choose from,” Brennan-Payant said. “Also, I can get sports bras and [a] shirt for $10 more.”

PSUC student Chrystal Corso uses Ipsy and Boxycharm. Ipsy is a subscription that sends five makeup and beauty samples for $10 per month, while Boxycharm delivers full-size beauty products, similar to FabFitFun, but for multiple box options with prepay options. The Boxycharm website said a customer can prepay $116 for six boxes each month or $231 for 12 boxes.

Corso said that she receives five products that can be makeup, face creams, hand lotions or hair products from both Ipsy and Boxycharm, but Boxycharm contains full-sized products.

Receiving about 10 beauty products per month may seem like enough to some, but to Corso, there is always room for more.

“It doesn’t stop me from buying products in store because if I really like the product, I will buy more of it if I run out,” Corso said. 

Corso’s favorite part of her subscription is the variety of products that she receives each month. 

Subscriptions aren’t for everyone though. Rachel Cardiff, a PSUC junior nursing major, is subscription-less. While she is interested in possibly getting a subscription to a beauty or fashion box like Birchbox or ShoeDazzle, she wants to do her research first before committing.

“[I] think you need to do enough research to find the one that works for you and to also make sure you’re getting a good deal and not getting ripped off,” Cardiff said.

Cardiff is also interested in subscriptions because she likes the idea of trying new products that she wouldn’t normally buy or easily find in a store. 

While she may not be a member to a subscription, she does online shop frequently. She likes that online shopping means less trips to the stores and can all be done on her phone or laptop.

“These subscriptions would be the same, and they come to you automatically every month, so I definitely think it would save time [and] money,” Cardiff said.

Whether it’s beauty, fitness, fashion or fun, there’s a variety of online subscription services out there. The only thing left to do is choose one, or a few.

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