Even if you have heard of them, read on because chances are good someone on your gift list will enjoy a box filled with Minnesota goodies. Called Love Minnesota Box, the White Bear entrepreneur behind the concept is selling hundreds of them.
It all started in 2020, when Alan Haskins dipped his creative toe into the box work. He owns Nimble Impressions, a full-service marketing agency based in White Bear that, like a lot of companies, "ground to a halt during COVID." With time on his hands, the branding expert decided to "have some fun and do some good."
According to Haskins, subscription boxes are taking retail by storm. "If you look at trending data, the boxes show a skyrocketing trajectory of growth. It’s so accessible. A small entrepreneur can start a box company in their basement," he said.
In his case, the business is above a detached garage on Bald Eagle Lake where Haskins and wife Katie recently moved with their two teenage daughters, Mia and Eva.
The Love Minnesota Box is purchased on a quarterly subscription and meant to celebrate Minnesota-made products. As its website states, the box was "created with the goal of helping Minnesota’s makers and artists share their creations and passions."
Seasonal products in the boxes include gourmet foods such as baking mixes, jams and jellies, sauces and snacks; natural bath and body products; hand-poured candles; and unique accessories.
The special edition winter box contains goodies inspired by a collaboration with Stephanie Hansen of Makers of Minnesota. Two items selected by the "Weekly Dish" radio host and blogger are locally sourced: a scented candle from Sota Cracklers in White Bear and sweets from Henke Foods in Mahtomedi.
Other White Bear businesses were featured in Haskins’ first creation born during the pandemic: The UffDa Box.
"Without even thinking too hard, there are so many fun ways to play with that phrase and spark the creative juices," Haskins said. "Since we do design, create custom packaging and get swag for clients, this was a natural fit."