8 min 53 sec

Nature-Loving Neighbors Create Kids Subscription Box

When two couples can’t figure out how to get their kids outdoors and away from electronics in the winter, a personal challenge blossoms into an unbeLEAFable side hustle.
Kids Outdoors Service Subscription Box

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What It's About

A subscription box to help kids get outside and exploring!

Business Model
Skills Required
Creativity & Organization
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

To market their product, the team experimented with the traditional methods of online advertising. They tried paid social marketing, then Google pay per click ads. Neither of these methods got them the traffic they were looking for. At some point, they realized that their story was difficult to tell in those ways.

Instead, they began attending outdoor events as vendors and connected with nature-loving influencers. This had been a big help to their profits!

Fun Fact

Although the people in the team were raised in vastly different areas—from farm life to suburbs to city life in Germany—all four of them grew up being strongly connected with nature. They all remember their parents telling them to “go find something to do outside.”

Notes from Chris

Episode 678
Justin and Crystal Wren had just moved into a new neighborhood with their toddler. The day they moved, Justin saw his new neighbor Richard next door mowing the lawn. Justin knew exactly how to start their relationship off on the right foot, and held up two ice cold beers for them to share. Richard could get behind this peace offering. The two had their first conversation and would continue to have friendly chats in the yard from time to time in the coming years.

Over those years, their families began to grow. Justin and Crystal had two more children of their own, and Richard and his wife Kerstin gave birth to a baby girl. As they grew up, the girls were always running back and forth from one another’s houses. Through constantly trying to figure out where exactly their kids were, the couples began talking more and more. They started to hang out together, even without the kids. Eventually, they planned a trip to Chicago for both families in December of 2017.

The Friday the week before the Chicago trip, every single parent managed to have the day off work. They took the opportunity to walk the kids to school together. All four parents loved to be outside. In fact, they loved it so much that they wanted to walk nearly a mile in the cold both ways—just because they could.

During the walk, they started talking about how to keep their kids outside and active over the winter months. They knew that the allure of tablets and indoor toys was even stronger when it was cold outside. By the end of the walk, a competition had been started. Each couple had to come up with the most fun outdoor activities to incorporate into their trip for the next weekend.

Just a few days later, they had realized something through their research. There was no resource out there with all the information they were looking for. With the plethora of parents gripping about kids spending too much time on electronics and not playing outside anymore and the difficulty in finding the tools they needed to create fun outdoor activities, it seemed like there was an opportunity for someone to figure it out.

In fact, they believed they had enough ideas, with enough depth, that they could create a subscription box program.

Their excitement ignited, they went to Chicago the following weekend and spent their days exploring the city. And at night, they worked on their idea while the kids were sleeping. By the end of that weekend, the team had agreed on and bought the domain name for THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes, applied for an LLC, set up 8+ social media handles, and had a rough layout of what they wanted to work towards together.

After some deliberation, they decided that each box would cost $35. The price goes down a bit if you decide to subscribe quarterly, and down even further if you commit to a year.

But wait—you won’t beLEAF what they decided to do next. They chose to create only 12 boxes total, one per month for a year. That’s right—they decided to cap the length of time a customer could commit to their business. Each box is themed and follows a track that teaches topics including nutrition, first aid, navigation, and my favorite, fire-setting.

In the beginning, THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes was making about $500-$1500 a month. When they made time to attend those events, their October profit ended up being about twice as much as before, at right around $3,000. Plus, they were recently featured on CrateJoy, a database full of subscription box businesses.

The team created a joint bank account for all of the money made by the business. This just seemed like the right move for them. Justin says that a key part of doing business is to put the relationships you have with the people you’re working with ahead of the business - always. By doing this, they’ve continued to TREE-umph. We hope the trend continues, and remember: we’re rooting for you!


  • THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes: Head on over to Justin, Crystal, and the gang's website to help you and your kids get outside!
  • CrateJoy: The platform that the THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes team use to streamline their ordering system


Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Our group has four different backgrounds, skill sets, and personalities, so our iteration process, what is important to each, what needs to be aligned on, etc. differs for each of us. We all think this has been a strength for us."
—Justin & Crystal Wren #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau