Lately it seems like you can’t get on the internet without seeing another pop-up advertisement for monthly sample boxes—everything from makeup and hair products to dog toys and healthy snacks. We love Birchbox as much as any makeup junkie, but recently we stumbled upon a monthly box that really caught our attention.
Meet MakrBox—a sampling of 2-3 unique and well-designed household items (handmade soap, wooden kitchen tools, specialty notebooks) that comes straight to your door every month. The idea behind MakrBox came from Barrett McBride, a 2011 graduate of the University of Washington School of Architecture. According to McBride, due to the recession, a lot of his classmates had trouble finding jobs in traditional architecture, and many of them ended up building their own products, but just needed a way to get them out there. With his business partners Dustin McBride and Jackie Gow, Barrett has discovered a solution.
“Previously [we] ran a tech startup designing civic engagement software for [the] government,” he says. “We all have a deep love for handmade things and quality design. In our free time we are usually cooking, traveling, exploring markets, discovering unique things, and making things ourselves. When we had an opportunity to change course after our previous endeavor, MakrBox seemed like a natural move.”
Launched this past June, this box is already growing in popularity, mostly through word of mouth. Every box sent out contains the same items, which, according to the team, all have the “WOW” factor—sustainable production, artful craftsmanship, and thoughtful design. According to Barrett, while they don’t have a specifically drawn geographic line for sourcing products, they do focus on craftsmen and artisans with strong ties to the Northwest; for example, past boxes have included items from Abeego in Victoria, B.C., Pigeon Toe Ceramics in Portland, and Fisher Woodworking out of Ferndale, Washington.
“We are really excited that people trust us and share our vision of filling their lives with higher quality, safer and more thoughtfully designed products,” Barrett says. “We consider it a win-win-win. Subscribers get awesome items, the earth is better off and local craftsman get the support they need to keep making!”