All of your September boxes are officially on their way to our lovely members and this one feels extra special. September marks our Book Box Club birthday. That’s right – here at Book Box Club we have been sending out unashamedly bookish boxes for one whole year and that’s got us thinking about all the amazing memories we’ve made in the last 12 months!
Kate and I met selling books in a cosy independent bookshop back in 2010. We became inseparable bookish buddies who spent our evenings talking books, baking bad cookies, swimming blindly side-by-side (no contact lenses in the pool!) and singing pop ballads together.
Book Box Club actually came about after a late night biscuit-fuelled conversation, that went something like this:
Kate: I feel as though I’d like to do something huge, something life changing.libby kate
Libby: I know what you mean. We need to shake things up.
Kate: I feel as though I’d like to sail around the world, you know? Really achieve something big.
Libby: Let’s do it!
Needless to say, we didn’t end up sailing around the world (luckily)!
We did, however, do something life changing. We embarked on a journey which would turn out to be just as rewarding, just as adrenaline-fuelled, but with fewer sharks and less seasickness.
A few months later Book Box Club was born – and now a year down the line, with lots of great boxes under our belts and a club full of lovely unashamedly bookish members, we’re pretty relieved we didn’t opt for boats over books! In fact, this year has gone by in a flash of turquoise packing shred and we’ve had an absolute blast in the process, so we thought we would share with you some of our highlights:
Taking our first ever Enchanted Forest boxes to the post office in my tiny Peugeot. A big thanks to my local postie who had to put up with the many boxes that descended on his tiny desk in the early days. Now we are working on a bigger scale and a lovely man in a van comes to pick them up for us. Less drama and heavy lifting all round!
Filming theme reveal trailers has always been a highlight. In the early days we would plan and film each one based on the theme (with a tiny time window in which to do it). This mad method saw us filming through the night in bizarre locations including one long night in a warehouse filming our Freedom Squad trailer. I had too much sugar, false eyelashes that I wasn’t used to wearing, and the giggles which resulted in us having to retake each shot 100+ times – also there was definitely no toilet in the vicinity. Good times!
We then decided we would all take a trip to the beautiful Suffolk countryside to film a batch of trailers at once with the help of our beautiful model (and Kate’s cousin) Sophie, who put up with freezing temperatures and a rigorous filming schedule whilst still managing to make all the rest of us laugh. What a trooper! We also had the help of my lovely talented filmmaker boyfriend Hakan and his photographer brother Tarik, who were so patient when the rest of us were messing around and created trailers and photos that we are so proud to post.
11 (so far) amazing book groups with some fantastic authors (and, of course, you guys). WE LOVE BOOK GROUP! Seriously, it is the highlight of our month. Kate and I have such a blast and all of our authors have been so generous with their answers to our/your questions. It really does feel like we are all sat in a cosy coffee shop together chatting books. We have had inspiring moments including these top author quotes:
“To me stories are magic, plain and simple – as a writer I get to imagine something beautiful or tragic or horrifying or astonishing, and then all by psychically transfer that vision to the minds of readers”
– MEAGAN SPOONER (Belles & Beasts Clubhouse meeting)
“I think fiction is so important because it is like a gym for our empathy muscles.”
– LAURENCE ANHOLT (Freedom Squad Clubhouse meeting)
We’ve also had some downright hilarious conversations about the names of our favourite ships, what we would do if were facing a nightmare faerie world as in our first featured read The Call by Peadar O’Guilin (by the way the consensus was probably die!), and the reason why Kate and I are constantly being censored by our over zealous safe-guarding system (we aren’t sweary – honest!). If you haven’t yet made it to one of our book groups you should definitely come and hang out with us in The Clubhouse, it’s so fun!
Reading so many amazing books; from fantasy epics, dystopian, historical, contemporary and retellings, we have really had a brilliant year for reading and that includes books other than those that we loved so much we ended up featuring them in our boxes! That feeling when you read the ver
y first chapter of an ARC and you know it’s going to make an amazing featured read is the best. I don’t think I could pick a favourite but we would love to hear some of yourWorking alongside so many amazing crafters to create some beautiful box items. Shout out to all of our lovely crafty comrades, from our very first box where we teamed up with the wonderful Mariam from Oh Panda Eyes who has been so supportive and inspiring ever since, to our recent collaborations with one of our founding member besties Moon Kestrel. We love that we get the chance to help develop exclusive items and throw ideas around with people who really know their craft – we are just in the process of creating something great with the lovely FourSeasonsFox for our October box and we just know it’s going to be beautiful.
Meeting so many friendly faces at YALC! Back in July this year we headed to London’s Young Adult Literary Conference and had a blast putting some faces to usernames and making new friends as we chatted books with so many people. Watching Hermione and Little Red Riding Hood prepare for a waltzing competition has to be a surreal, but hilarious highlight.
Planning and putting together some great boxes. Kate and I have been reminiscing about our favourite Book Box Club boxes so far and it was a really hard choice! We’ve loved putting all of our boxes together and seeing all of the beautiful items arrive each month we’ve been and of course box number one (Enchanted Forest, September 2016) will always have a special place in our hearts. After much discussion here are our top boxes:
“I loved this box so much, firstly because the book is stunning inside and out, it’s got a really magical feel to it, charming characters and a Shakespearean mystery at the core. I also adored all of the items that went in alongside the book, July’s crafters were such a talented bunch who created some really unique goodies. If I had to pick, I think my favourite thing in the box might have been the Raven Boys soap (which smells amazing!),or the really pretty botanical bookmark!”
“As soon as I had finished reading this book (and subsequently spent an hour discussing the characters with Kate over the phone) I knew we had to have it in our box. The story follows a group of young feisty Suffragettes on the brink of the First World War and it really is a brilliantly inspiring read! All of the items in this box were awesome and I especially love the Girl Boss notebook designed by Nikki Strange, I just had to keep one for myself!”
Having a Purely Books brainwave on a long countryside walk. Kate and I have most of our most productive brainstorming sessions whilst walking through the countryside and this one was on a particularly sunny spring day. Purely Books was inspired by some feedback we had had from some customers who were super excited to join in our book group meetings but were less inclined to collect all the bookish merch – thanks to those constructive comments we can now open our Clubhouse doors to lots more people. On that day we high-fived and went home to drink Pimms in the garden and now a few months down the line Purely Books (all the great reads without the goodies) is now a growing club of its own!
YOU! Yes, the BEST thing about this year, though, has got to be all the amazing people we have met (both online and off). What a fantastic community this is and we are so proud to be a part of it. Your support is so brilliant and we have loved hearing all of your feedback over the past months. Thank you to everyone who has shared unboxings and reviews, it really does help spread the Book Box Club message and knowing we have a whole bunch of Book Box Club cheerleaders out there gives us a serious case of the warm fuzzies! Here are just a few of the great unboxing snapshots and lovely reviews which we hold dear!:
“I have been introduced to a new company I really really love! I love it when you get the chance to be interactive, everyone can really get to know each other and are brought together over the love of the same book.” – Emma
“I love when I can sense that the owners listen to their subscribers.What I find super awesome about being one of the members of Book Box Club is that it feels so personal.As we discussed last month’s book in the Clubhouse, I came to thinking that we’ve created our own little community. During the live chat we began joking with each other, and it felt like we were close.I felt like I could arrange to meet them all at a café tomorrow. This feeling is, for me, the thing that sets Book Box Club apart from other bookish boxes.”
“Book Box Club feels really collaborative and I love that about it. It feels like you can just join in. You are not just getting a box, you are getting an experience!” – Lucy
“I love the sense of community and how much Libby and Kate truly seem to care.”
“All of the goodies worked in well with the theme, I’m really excited to read the book we received. There was something about this box that made me feel so empowered and I’ve never had that with a subscription box! I can’t wait for next months.” – Beth
Thank you to all of our lovely members- we couldn’t have done it without you. We’d love to hear about your favourite Book Box Club memories so far in the comments below or over on our social media channels. Here’s to many more adventures to come!
Libby and Kate