Friday, January 30, 2015

My Community Box (Hampton Roads) January 2015 Review - What's Going On?

This may be my last review for My Community Box.  Their January box does contain some nice items but almost everything seems to be out of stock on their site and I've been unable to locate a Facebook page for them (a bad sign).  So I'm really not sure where things stand with this company.

My Community Box charges a quarterly fee of $30 (free shipping) to send a box containing food, bath & body, stationery, etc. from small businesses in the Hampton Roads, VA area. Although it is supposed to be a quarterly or seasonal subscription, I inexplicably received boxes in October, December and January.  (I did sign up for a three box deal including a holiday box which may explain the timing of the first two boxes. The receipt of the third box six weeks after the second box on a "quarterly" subscription makes no sense to me.)

Adding to the confusion are the inconsistencies on their home page.  There are windows which state that the July, October, December and January boxes are "open", but clicking on any of these results in what appears to be a blog post with no actual ability to purchase these boxes.  Clicking on the "Join" button on any page just leads to "Out of Stock" and "Sold Out" buttons.  Just a few of the individual items in their shop are actually available for purchase.

I don't know if these are just site maintenance issues or if this company is circling the drain. They seem to be using "open sign up" periods which is an awkward way to run a subscription business.  Potential customers aren't likely to visit the site repeatedly to see when they can actually sign up, especially for a subscription service that is not well known.

Setting aside these reservations, I was pretty happy with the contents of the January box which showed improvement over the holiday box and even more improvement over the Fall box.


These two hand painted goblets come from an Etsy vendor named Sweet Surrender Art. Two similar goblets came in the last box but these are a different shape and the pink and blue rose design is quite pretty.

I don't see any vendor source on this one but it is a handmade headband. I'm guessing this came from an Etsy vendor but I don't know which one.

Here's a really cute girl's hair clip made from green, white and polka dot grosgrain ribbon. This is from Froggie's World on Etsy which doesn't seem to exist at the moment.

There are two 4 oz. bars of all natural handmade soap from Perfectly Natural Soap. One is Rosemary Mint, which has a nice clean minty scent and the other is Lemongrass Rosemary which has more of a lemony smell than rosemary.  These soaps sell for $4.75 apiece on their site but I see that the Lemongrass Rosemary is on sale right now for $3.75.  If you're at all familiar with the price of quality handmade soaps, this is a real bargain.  Comparable soaps are typically around $6 or $7 each. There are lots of other interesting products on their site at very reasonable prices.

Last are two tea samples from Discover Teas in "Creamy Earl Green" which is described on their site as a blend of "black and green teas with bergamot, vanilla and earthy sencha flavors".  You get the benefits of both green tea and black.  This looks like a very interesting website with lots and lots of available tea blends and accessories.  These samples are attached to coupon cards which unfortunately are only good for in store (Newport News, VA) purchases.  Those won't be of much use to most subscribers.

In summary, My Community Box is sending out very worrisome signals.  The absence of a Facebook page is a big red flag.  An even bigger red flag is the complete lack of any way to sign up on their site.  (There's not even a mailing list sign-up box on their home page.)  If they are relying on potential subscribers to keep checking back to see when their doors are open....well, that is a pretty big gamble. At best, this company may be quietly re-tooling.  At worst, they are in shutdown mode.  I hope it is the former because I would like to see them thrive and survive.  Local vendor subscription boxes can be among the most interesting if the proprietors are creative, energetic and very good at sourcing.

The code 757ForLife gets a 25% discount but since there is no way to subscribe at the moment, that really isn't useful information.  If you're reading this well after the date of this post, it might be worth checking their site again.

Until My Community Box shows signs of resuscitation, unfortunately, I am not able to recommend this subscription.  If anyone from My Community Box would like to provide clarification, I'll be glad to update this post.

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased with my own money. Post does not contain referral or affiliate links.

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