Interview with Nikki owner of Box of Goth
Interview by Jessica Plumb
Firstly, thank you so much for this interview today and hope all is well, especially considering the event of COVID-19.
You started ‘Box Of Goth’ in 2017, I believe? How did you first get the idea to create your online subscription box?
Yes, around the end of Jan/Feb I started thinking of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to make gothic/horror inspired items as that’s my general love and I was actually a sub on a beauty box at the time and I just thought, “Why don’t I start a gothic sub box?” I looked around and there was only one that was gothic/spooky and one witchy one and they’re really amazing subscription boxes. I knew I had to make mine different so I had the idea to make the boxes the items go into coffin shaped!
Can you tell our readers what they can expect in their beautiful gothic goodie box?
Dependant on theme you can expect items that range from, but are not limited to, beauty, homewares, stationery, accessories, crystals, jewellery, accessories, prints and much more! One of my fav things is being able to collaborate with other small businesses and independents with their items.
What is the appeal of witchy, horror and gothic for you?
I’ve had an interest in horror from a young age as my mum was really into Stephen King books and horror movies. Then my interest grew to everything horror, all black everything and going a bit crystal mad and just expanded; I just love everything about the darker side!
Do you have a personal ‘hands on’ approach as to how you run your online business?
Oh yes! Ha! I wish I could say I have a team that do everything and I just guide but I run absolutely everything. From social media posts, to all the messages and comment replies, to emails, to the website, to deciding themes, to sourcing items, to making items, to packing, to doing to many trips to the post office, to sending dispatch emails. I do it all myself! I did have a right hand woman in my friend Lucy but this year has taken a toll on her family’s business so she is working with them now. I haven’t got the heart to replace her yet as I’m hoping she’ll be able to come back in the next year. Until then, it’s all me! I’m pretty anal with organisation and quite like having 101 things to do.
Were you always interested in creating when you were a child?
I was always colouring and making things when I was young (Art Attack was my favourite show, though who had that PVA school glue you needed for everything? I didn’t! I improvised many times, lol). I’d also go in my dad’s shed and just start nailing pieces of wood or whatever I could find together to try make stuff. I love just getting stuck in. I’ll try make something before I look at instructions. It’s a blessing and a curse as I find it help me really learn how to make it but it can also take wayyyy longer to do, lol.
What is your process from start to finish running your subscription box company?
Deciding the theme, sourcing and making the items while promoting the box and doing my best to ensure orders are shipped on time. I hate to be late for anything so if I have to work all weekend, day and night to get all orders out I will. I also always answer emails within 24hrs max because I hate waiting days for a reply from a company, especially when they have a team of people.
Do you play any music in the background to help with the process and get in a good mindset?And if so which music genres/bands do you like?
I actually watch true crime documentaries or horror movies while working, lol. I’ve had many people knock on my office door to ask if everything is okay as they can hear screaming or the like from a horror movie. Promise it’s just horror! 🙂
Where do you find inspiration to create new ideas for the themes for your boxes?
I guess all the horror I watch! Also I have a great bunch of people on our social media who throw some great ideas at me. Picking themes and the items for them is one of my favourite parts, so I never find it hard or tiresome thinking of a theme.
You have a really good media presence including a following of over 17k on Instagram, what do you do promotion-wise to keep the momentum going and what do you feel is the best way to advertise your brand?
I think having a good brand and customer service helps with word of mouth. Word of mouth is the best advertisement you can get. I love my customers and I wouldn’t be here without them so when they’re genuinely happy and want to share their box it’s the best, best feeling. I have sent the odd box to some influencers and box reviewers and that does help too but that’s very rare as I make a limited amount of boxes each month, and I’m still only a small business, freebies are costly to me.
Are there any upcoming themes, you can tell us about?
I don’t actually decide themes until around the 20th of the month before that months theme, lol, so it keeps things exciting. I also like keeping it that way so if I get people requesting a certain theme I can just decide to do it.
How did you come up with the design for ‘Box Of Goth’?
Well as briefly mentioned I knew the box or something had to be different, so I spent two months learning how to make a sturdy coffin shaped box with a sturdy lid! No box making company I went to would make them for me back then as machines only did regular shapes, so I had to learn myself. I nearly didn’t go with the coffin a number of times as it was tricky and I crushed many a box in frustration, probably between 70-100! I hate to give up though so in the end I got it and it was a good selling point for me. Now I have a company that makes flat pack larger coffin boxes for me, and while I do prefer my old handmade boxes, I was burning myself out and couldn’t keep it up. Literally for two and half years I don’t think I took more than a week off at random days here and there.
If you could be in any horror, film or TV show what would it be and why?
There’s three, something like American Horror Story because I I love how they have a different “theme” but they’re all linked in some way. Also getting to play so many different characters in one show is a rare thing. I like that. Also Dark, a German series on Netflix and it’s so, so good. It’s so trippy and messes with your head, but so interesting and educational. It’s dark and it’s awesome. Lastly, The Haunting of Hill House. I really liked that Netflix series by Mike Flanagan. He’s a great horror director and he hasn’t done a movie or series that I haven’t liked yet.
The items are made with such quality and care. Are your items vegan and cruelty free?
Ah thank you, yes all product items are vegan and cruelty free. The only item I have put in on occasion as little extras are sweets that aren’t vegan, but I’m now on a mission to only include vegan sweets!
With so many amazing themes throughout your business, which one is personal favourite?
Oh that’s quite tough but I’d say any horror movie inspired boxes (of course), the pastel goth box as I loved the items, (but Debbie, pastels!) and I love doing the curious/oddity boxes.
Having so much experience, what advice would you give to people starting out in the business?
Be prepared to work all hours. Working from home is never 9-5. It’s currently 11.47pm and I’m at my computer writing this, and after I’ll be making the next boxes live and sourcing some items before hitting the pillow about 2am 🙂 Ignore negativity and don’t go looking for bad comments. I focus on what my customers say not someone who’s just a troll leaving a negative comment because that’s what some people just like to do. Just focus on what your continuous customers buying your product are saying. Also don’t dwell on criticism or on someone who is negative towards you or your business. I used to let it get to me but I’ve realised not everyone is going to like you or what you do, and that’s okay. I like to go by the saying “What other people have to say about me is none of my business.”
Do you have any celebrity customers buying from you?
Ermm, I’m not sure to be honest! lol
You release different themed boxes each month; will you be expanding your site to release weekly?
I am looking to release other items soon, though people can buy past boxes and sometimes the mini coffins which are mystery boxes of previous themed items I have.
You have collaborated with different companies and individuals. Has there been any favourites?
Oh I couldn’t possibly say. What I can genuinely say is that luckily each has been nothing but awesome and I’m grateful for them for working with me.
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future, be it a model, musician, photographer?
I’d just like to collaborate with more small businesses as I really like having other peoples creations inside my coffins, that one of my genuine fave things about doing this.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business in any way?
Well I did have to start working lonesome so it’s felt extra busy as I don’t have my right arm Lucy, just my own arms! I can’t complain, I have amazing customers who have kept me going in more ways than one.
What other interests do you have outside your business? Do you have any hobbies?
I don’t have much time around my business at the moment, ha! But I like to read, mainly fiction dramas and horrors. Anything horror, always! I love going for dog walks (my boyfriend has a massive Boerboel who is like a bear). I try to go to gym regularly (ha! That’s a laugh this year). I love collecting crystals. I love ANYTHING cats. I’m also partial to a Margarita or four.
Thank you for your time today, is there anything you would like to mention or say to our readers?
Thank you for your time Jessica and contacting me and thank you to anyone reading. To all and any supporters out there, I couldn’t do this without you, so thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂