Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Launch a Monthly Subscription Service on Memberly

January 14, 2012

10:00 am

Curated monthly subscription services took off in 2011, with sites like Lost Crates, Umba Box, and BabbaBox sending out packages of stationery, women’s products, and kids’ arts and crafts. So it’s no surprise that a startup is finally aggregating those services – and giving them the tools to take off.

Memberly is an online marketplace for selling monthly subscriptions. Their beta includes a couple dozen products, such as La Colombe Coffee and caveman-inspired snacks from PaleoPax.

The platform is designed to take care of the details involved in offering subscriptions. Sellers can track membership, send messages to members, and export addresses to create shipping labels. They pay no initial fees, with Memberly taking a 5% cut of transactions.

So far, New York-based Memberly has signed up startups and traditional retailers, as well as individuals with Etsy stores or Kickstarter projects.

“We want to help as many people as possible transition from their day jobs to doing what they love for a living, and we see Memberly and the subscription model as a great way to do that,” says cofounder Jack Cheng, who personally subscribes to Put This On Inside Track (men’s fashion), PaleoPax, She Hit Pause Print Club (artistic Polaroids), and Steepster Select (tea).

For example, Umba Box founder Lauren Thorp used Memberly to help launch a startup without outside funding. “Not having a technical background, it allowed me to quickly launch my business and test the market potential,” she says.

Memberly is built by Disrupto, an interactive design studio that created the Steepster online tea community. They made a list of problems to solve, built prototypes for a few, and then asked for feedback. Small business owners were enthusiastic about subscription services, so Memberly was launched in July 2011. Look out for more features as they continue easing the headaches of small businesses.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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