Thinking of starting your own subscription box? In 2019, subscription commerce is a tough business model to succeed in. With the ease and convenience offered by eCommerce, it has become an extremely saturated market. So, what is the secret to creating a box which thrives over the long term? It’s having a strong brand identity from the outset, and offering an attractive, memorable experience which keeps your customers wanting more.

This is where subscription box packaging plays an important but sometimes overlooked role in curating the perfect service. Custom-designed packaging is a surefire way to take your offering up a notch and channel that all-important unboxing experience!

Tanya Hodgson is the founder of The Book Playbox, a subscription box service specializing in books and creative activities for children and families. She tells us about her box design and the importance of custom printed tissue paper to establishing her brand identity:



The Origins of The Book Playbox

(In Tanya’s own words):

“I’m Tanya, the curator of a subscription box service called The Book Playbox. We encourage reading aloud, creativity and play with the inclusion of a hardcover picture book and art activities for children ages 3-7 years old.”

“As an art teacher by profession, a mum of three and an avid children’s picture book lover, I’ve enjoyed providing fun, creative activities for my own children, often linking these to the books we’ve been reading. I have always been interested in starting my own business that incorporated the things that I love. The creation of The Book Playbox was a natural progression as it combines my love of creativity through art and play, reading picture books and spending time with children.”

“We are a new small business which is currently only available to New Zealand and Australian customers. However, we are launching our subscription box in the United States this month, which is very exciting!"


"My vision for The Book Playbox is that it will become a regular and treasured addition to many family homes for many years to come. It is to be enjoyed together in a fun and relaxed manner, therefore the box is curated in a way that success is available for all. There are no expectations for perfect outcomes; just opportunities to be together, to learn, to connect and to create, whilst also building a regular family ritual and a special picture book library to be enjoyed for generations.”

Pro tip #1: Having an easily identifiable niche is at the core of creating a successful subscription box. However, this is also one of the biggest challenges. There is a wide variety of different box styles out there, so you need a strong vision of who your box is intended for and what makes it unique. In Tanya’s case, it was her role as a teacher and mother which inspired her to create a subscription box that was a vehicle for creativity and family time. Honing in on your own experiences ensures that your theme is authentic and communicates a clear brand story!

Designing Subscription Box Packaging


We've all heard of the saying 'don't judge a book by its cover', but compelling subscription box packaging and product presentation are what makes subscription services special!

In theory, we could go out and buy the products in a subscription box ourselves - but we would lose the excitement and anticipation of the unboxing experience. For Tanya, it was a priority right from the start to design a box which reflected the fun and creative vibe of her offerings:

“I come from a visual arts background, so I appreciate the finer details which make something that little bit more special. I went with custom printed boxes and a custom printed tissue paper insert designed by local designer Zoe Sizemore from Case In Point Design Studio, who I found through a women’s business network. I was impressed with Zoe’s ability to translate my vision for the overall look and feel of the brand with great skill and expertise. I think the result fits perfectly with the vibe of the box. It’s unique, eye-catching and appealing to children and adults alike. Children get very excited when they see this box arrive at their door!”

"noissue was recommended on an Australian businesswomen’s group The Lady Startup as a company doing great things, with a high-quality product and environmentally conscious ethos. I believe noissue has a mindful ethic with sustainability and the wider community at its core. It worked well for my business because I could create something personalised which fit within my budget, and I was able to purchase the quantities that I needed. Working together with brands like this who are doing the best for people and the planet, are the perfect brands to align my own business with!"


Interested in working with a designer to produce your custom packaging? Check out our creative partners page!




Using custom tissue paper to line the inside of the box was a fantastic way for Tanya to display her brand narrative. The white tissue paper provides a lovely contrast against the colorful box, while the doodle-inspired illustrations perfectly reflect her vision for The Book Playbox:

“The custom tissue paper design was very important to the look and feel of the box. I wanted something that appealed to the user; the children. Read, Create, Play is the catchphrase of the business, so it was fitting to incorporate this text with the illustrations. The eyes represent reading, the various mark-making lines represent art and creativity, and the hands for creative play and sharing. I felt it was important to include the quote which becomes the final reveal when opening the box as it fits perfectly with our vision:"

"Time spent playing with children is never wasted." - Dawn Lantero.

Pro tip #2: Playing with the spatial dimensions of your shipping boxes in your subscription box packaging design can create some really memorable effects, as Tanya shows with her box! It shows a creative and quirky vibe, which will make a lasting impression on your customer.

Want to know more about how to create a memorable unboxing experience? Check out our blog!