Subscription boxes, the trendy service for which you pay a fee in exchange for a different box of goodies each month, are taking off for everything from clothes to dog toys to beauty products.
Now, a new Anchorage company is launching a subscription box designed to embody Alaska.
"I've had roommates in the past, and I keep seeing these little subscription boxes in the mail," said 28-year-old Alaska Crate Co. owner Brett Laichak. "It's not a new thing, it's just new for Alaska."
Alaska Crate Co., founded in May of this year, launches in October. Customers will pay about $30 a month in exchange for a box full of items from Last Frontier companies such as Copper River Seafoods, Denali Brewing Co., Alaska Brewing Co., AK Art Factory and 907 Clothing Co.
Laichak decided to start the company after working for a cargo company in Anchorage and as a commercial fisherman (he still fishes during the summer). He thought there might be an opportunity to fill a clamoring for Alaska products in the Lower 48.
"People like niches and people are proud of their niches," he said. "This is a pretty strong niche, being in Alaska. Down south, it's like, 'Oh man, Alaska is super sweet, that's so cool, I'd love to be a part of it.' "
Laichak, a University of Alaska Anchorage graduate, sees people in Alaska and abroad as potential customers as well. He's trying to serve the outdoorsy adventurer set, the same customers you might find shopping at REI.
But he's definitely catering to those in other states. Early next year, Alaska Crate Co. — which consists only of Laichak, for now — will travel the West Coast to tout the boxes, which will include things like pint glasses, food, clothes, accessories and outdoor gear.
The company runs its distributions out of Anchorage, and uses handmade wooden crates (designed for one-time purchases and heavier than the monthly cardboard box delivery) assembled in Kasitsna Bay, south of Homer.