Dealing in Decadence: Subscription Businesses for Lavish Lifestyles
In our last post about luxury subscription offerings, we discussed two subscription businesses that provide subscribers a chance to own temporarily that which they cannot (or choose not to) buy permanently. These businesses and others like them use the subscription model to fulfill four-carat desires on half-carat budgets.
But there are other players in the luxury subscription realm who specifically seek out those with big bank accounts—or as one company puts it, “high net worth individuals.” These subscription purveyors target those who care little about cost and much more about their unabashed desire for decadence. These boxes thrill with their unique (and uniquely expensive) curation and the unbridled joy of discovery their subscribers experience with each box’s arrival.
The Opulent Box
One such player in this style of luxury box is is Opulent. Although they began as an online jewelry store, in adopting a subscription box option they declared themselves “the world’s first true luxury jewelry subscription box.” Taking the box-of-the-month model to never-before-seen heights, for $25,000 every quarter, each Opulent subscriber receives a new piece of authentic designer jewelry, based on that person’s individual tastes and preferences. Members receive an appraisal and certificate of authenticity along with the thrill of receiving a beautiful new bauble every few months with which to adorn themselves.
Another subscription company for those with significant disposable income is iVIP Blackbox, based in the UK. Their tagline is Everything you never knew you wanted, delivered to your door. Each Blackbox contains a collection of “unique products sourced from around the globe by our expert consultants,” with a premium and a “lite” version, costing £1,200 and £600 per quarter, respectively. The Premium Box will contain “anything from wine to watches, pocket squares to designer frames, Polaroid cameras to playing cards, signed literature to hand-painted artwork; the eclectic, the esoteric, the unknown.”
And for the truly indulgent, seeking an experience like no other, Blackbox offers their Infinity Box. For a mere £100,000 per year (or $144,000), this box will deliver, “the rarest and most desirable objects in existence,” curated based on a personal, face-to-face consultation with these exceptionally discerning subscribers. Not wild about what your Infinity Box holds? You’ll have to regift it because it can’t be returned.
Adding an interesting value proposition to the offer, every BlackBox subscriber also has the option of becoming a shareholder in iVIP BlackBox Ltd. "Your first box will contain your share entitlement certificate, and you’ll become a fully fledged shareholder once you have completed your first year’s membership," the company claims.
Defining and Redefining the Category
Subscription businesses have indeed come a very long way since the early 20th century when they were the near exclusive purview of magazines and newspapers. Gyms and health clubs jumped on board during the fitness craze of the 1980’s. And who among us did not have a subscription to the Columbia Record Club back in the day? More recently, new types of subscription services are redefining the category. The box of the month may be the most familiar to consumers, as the SaaS model is to business. But streaming media services and the Internet of Things are revolutionizing how we consume media and how we interact with devices and data in ways never imagined.
Clearly, the subscription model provides a compelling value proposition for a wide variety of businesses targeted at a wide range of consumers, from the price conscious to the those for whom the price is irrelevant. How can your business use a subscription model to your advantage?