7 min 42 sec

Subscription Box Service Delivers Candy from Japan

An expat living in Japan packages candy twice a month and sends it around the world to hundreds of people who pay $29/month.
International Product Service Subscription Unique Ideas

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What It's About

An expat in Japan searches Tokyo for the most interesting candy he can find, then ships it to subscribers worldwide each month.

Business Model
Skills Required
Organization & Customer Service
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

The subscription box model can be tough, and it’s all about reaching an initial point of profitability. Bemmu tried a lot of different things to market Candy Japan, but his most successful marketing attempts came from a comment he made in response to a post on Reddit. That day he received 2,000 visits from that thread and more than 30 new subscriptions earning him an extra $10k a year.

Fun Fact

If you think that he’d run out of candy options after a while, well, you haven’t been to Japan. There are more than 40 different Kit-Kat flavors alone!

My personal favorite is the Green Tea Kit-Kat, but they also have everything from Creme Brûlée and Mixed Fruit Parfait to Sake and Wasabi flavored KitKat creations.

Notes from Chris

Episode 101

When you get to Japan, one thing you need to try is visiting 7-11. It’s not just where you go for a Slurpee, it’s an immersive cultural experience. But if you can’t make it there next week, there’s another way to experience this magical land...and it’s all because someone decided to try something fun.

In 2011, Bemmu Sepponen moved to Japan from his native Finland. He wanted to sell items online for extra cash, and before long he hit on a great idea: why not sell Japanese candy to people outside of Japan?

Not only was it a great idea, he also chose a great model for this hustle: instead of one-off sales, he set it up as a subscription box offer. For $29/month, with no charge for shipping, he would send people two boxes full of interesting and unconventional sweets that could only be found in Japan.

Just like the candy is ever-renewing, so too are his subscriptions. They didn’t arrive all at once—they came over time, slow and steady, until he grew to more than 300 people paying that $29/month. In addition to subscriptions, he also offers gift purchases of a single month or even a whole year. This has been a great boost to his ongoing monthly subscribers, and he now sees income of around $15,000 a month.

Watch the video below for a review of the Candy Japan box from Kid Candy Review which has received more than 6 million views!


  • Candy Japan: Learn more about Bemmu's unique candy subscription box side hustle
  • Reddit: The "front page of the internet" where Bemmu received some additional traffic

  • Leanpub: Check out Bemmu's ebook dedicated to helping you start your own subscription box side hustle
  • StrideBox: Another subscription box to help fuel your next running adventure
  • CauseBox: A different kind of subscription box providing better products for a better world
Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

Chris Guillebeau

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Quote of the Day
"I started Candy Japan in summer of 2011 with the idea of mailing Japanese sweets to subscribers around the world on a twice-monthly basis. It worked. Hundreds of people signed up and we kept sending them crazy Japanese candy for years."
—Bemmu Sepponen #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau