How Do Subscription Boxes Get Their Products?

How do subscription boxes get their products? The list is long and some of the items might sound odd. Here is everything you need to know.

Curating Your Subscription Box! Where to source products 

Product sourcing means to search for products; it can be done both locally and internationally.

The first step to curating your box is deciding whether you want to either source free products or source products you pay for. There is a significant difference, and not just for your pocket.

Free product sourcing allows for:

Improved margins for your  business as products are free

Offering vendor partners other value that doesn’t involve monetary compensation

Low prices this, however, depends on the quantity/quality of items

Requires the dealer to eat the cost of ingredients and packaging

Purchasing products means:

The prices will be higher for customers 

It allows for fast negotiation with vendors 

It works with both full-sized items and samples 

Note that you could do both, so do not limit yourself! Once you have decided on how to source your products, you now chose the vendors to partner with. 

Sourcing high-quality, target products for your niche is demanding to your business’ gain. To help with just that, beneath we’ve laid out a couple of places where you can source products for your subscription box:


There are various websites where you can shop for products. These websites also link you with vendors. An example is Colour Once you’ve found the products you like that fit ideally into your subscription box concept, the next step to take is finding their source – your future partners – and connect with them directly. It is therefore very crucial to find your niche before you start looking at websites.

Keep in mind that slot e-commerce sites only help to find products and leads, but you still need to reach out to suppliers individually.

Trade shows, conferences, exhibitions

You probably forgot that there’s a world outside the internet and are wondering why presentations are on the list. Jokes aside, public shows such as conferences, trade events, expos or exhibitions also offer quality goods. Regardless of whether it’s an electronic exhibition, fashion fair or something completely out of the box you might just find the right thing for your subscription box anywhere.

Manufacturers and vendors are mostly present at these events, and this can allow you to make professional relationships with them on the spot. A perfect place to source products is at a sourcing trade show –yes, they do exist. These happenings happen once in a while, so be on the lookout for that. There are two main types of trade shows which include:

‘Vertical’ trade shows – these sourcing shows mainly have a narrow focus as they’re focused on a particular market. Examples include fashion shows for boutique owners. So, if you have already identified your niche, you’ll know what kind of products you need and what show would be an excellent fit for your box.

‘Horizontal’ trade shows -They have a much broader offering at these shows. Most times, vendors that usually appear here come from the same market, like fashion, for example, but they offer a broader range of products and services.

It might be harder to source the suppliers in these more significant market events, but you could potentially get some new ideas from the full range of products and manufacturers.

Local Store

Local cache are great starting places to get inspiration for the types of products you want to include. They, however, may not be the vendors you buy from but finding a targeted local store within your niche will provide you with a broader scope of a few items you can physically test inside your box.

There are two types of local stores:

Some local stores sell commodity from various vendors

Other neighborhood caches are owned by people who are also the manufacturers of offered items (examples: arts and crafts, candle or soap shops, etc.) 

Some cases might be walking into your local Whole Foods, hair products shop, gift shop. The whole concept is to identify a store that represents your niche – something that attracts the same demographic your business looks for.


Take pictures and record which products work with your box. In some instances, you may find that working with the owner of a local store, mainly if they produce their goods (like a skincare products shop or craft/clothing vendor).

You can also use shops for prototype box products. Buy the component you’re considering reaching out to, and place them in your box to get a sense of how they’d affect packing configuration.


After large e-commerce sites and trade shows, our next stop in this quest for product sources is Etsy – a peer-to-peer e-commerce website site.

Etsy is a marketplace for frequenty small-/medium-sized businesses that often service handcrafted, vintage, and small-batch good. Etsy’s robust grade of beauty, home goods, and even foodstuffs can mean a long source of new vendors to work with for almost any subscription box. It offers great ways to shop by specific categories, therefore, making it easier to find products you’re looking for. This website even allows you to narrow down to a city, enabling you to find vendors near you – isn’t that great? However, Etsy has more beginners than established companies 


Etsy’s capability to allow you to narrow your search based on state, city, and country means you can target more local businesses. That means lower shipping costs to you.

Buy Wholesale from Big Name Brands

 many consumer giants offer wholesale commodity made deliberately with business owners like you in mind. The best part of purchasing wholesale from reputable distributors is commodity quality and positive name association. You are also able to receive great discounts for shopping in bulk.

Product catalogues

Another reliable place where you can search for sources is catalogued. This solution usually contains fewer products than online giants since they only provide information on specific brands and products; however, product inventory can be useful because they provide clear, reliable information.

What you’ll find in inventory are detailed item descriptions, with plenty of images and most importantly, reviews.

This blew of information can be especially useful for subscription businesses because we all know how difficult it can be to choose aspect products and their sources. Detailed information is always welcome. An example is an Oriflame product catalogue that provides information on all products from Oriflame, their prices and anything you’d want to know about the product.

Global marketplaces with cheap products

I know that we mentioned e-commerce giant, but this group is different in that they offer pre-made products such as new bags, mugs, and similar, you could add your unique design and experiment with them to create a unique subscription package. The will allow your subscription box to have a unique element. 

Alibaba, Indiamart, BuyKorea, GlobalMarket and comparable marketplaces are platforms where you can find low-cost or bulk products. This is an important tip to know, an agreement businesses by their nature require a constant supply of items.

Also, as the number of your endorser grows, a large quantity of cheap products becomes a necessity.

Safety precautions to keep in mind

There are certainly some condition you need to be careful with when working with sources from low-cost marketplaces.

An obvious objection might be how to keep the desired level of quality, despite the lower spending you’ll have per product huge minimums – most of the suppliers from marketplaces such as Alibaba, Indiamart, and similar only administer large, bulk orders. It will be wise to plan ahead and try to estimate what amiable of packages you’ll commit in the future. Then, you may order huge quantity (usually more than 500 component) when you know what you will use them for

Be accurate of buyer protection terms and do your best to be learned about these circumstances. Stay alert about preservation all the time, but especially while working through these websites and instructing in bulk

As you can see, there is advantages and cons to this choice as well. The important advantage is that you can easily associate with sources and make big purchases on a computer. By doing this, you’ll ensure the abundance of products is adequate as your business advance.

These marketplaces also facilitate you to connect with authority directly. The disadvantage, on the other hand, are connected to product quality, supplier reliability and, if you choose pre-made products, the additional costs of custom design.

A subtle reminder that every subscription business is different so does not give up on this option right away. Some businesses are still crafting their offer and deciding on products. Others are already running or have a clear vision, a plan for months ahead. Always consider your own unique position and then make a decision that will pay off in the end.

Allow the suppliers to approach you

Suppliers are also searching for merchants all the time because one cannot function without the other. Do this by posting on social media that you’re looking for suppliers and providing details on how to reach you customize a website providing your details.

Tip on how to negotiate for free products 

When pitching your idea, emphasize on the value rather than money. Show the company how having their products in your subscription box will prove to be beneficial for them. You could focus on the value of advertising for them.

Hopefully, this article will prove to be of great help to you as you start your subscription box curation! Good luck