Think Inside the Box 

New subscription box service delivers Memphis goods.

When Sam Davidson wanted to ship some locally made gifts from his home city of Nashville to friends in Colorado, he didn't realize that he would eventually turn that idea into a business.

"The idea came to me on Christmas of 2012 when I wanted to send local Nashville products to some friends in Colorado, but there was nowhere in the city where I could go to get those things easily or online," Davidson said. "So I went around the city, picked a few things up, boxed them up, and shipped it. I didn't think anything about it until I was out with two friends, and we were talking about all the great things being made in the city and ways to get that to more people."

Davidson and his friends considered opening a permanent retail store or a seasonal souvenir store. But after seeing multiple articles online about the rise of subscription boxes such as Birch Box, they questioned whether or not something similar could be done in Nashville.

Batch Nashville, which sells a grab-bag box of locally made items, saw its subscriptions grow almost immediately in Nashville, and after a year of supplying goods made in Music City, Davidson started to think about where to bring his company next.

"The concept worked really well in Nashville, so we started thinking about what other cities could support something like this, and Memphis came to mind," Davidson said.

"After our initial success, we wanted to test the concept in another city, but we had a couple criteria," Davidson said. "We wanted to pick somewhere close to Nashville so we could get there frequently and easily. We didn't want to pick a city where it felt like we were just dropping out of the sky. We wanted to get immersed in the city so that we could offer an authentic experience. We also wanted a city that has its own brand, and we felt like Memphis had that. There's lots of food-related branding and music-related branding here."

Davidson said that the local market in Memphis is very comparable to Nashville, and he was pleasantly surprised with the quality of Memphis products that ranged from candy to art. Local companies already working with Batch Memphis include Yippie Hippie Granola, Reverb Coffee, and Heart of Eden Soap.

Following a different theme each month, the Batch box is mailed out as a one-time delivery or part of a three-month subscription. Each box is packed with around five or six items that fall under the theme for the month, with themes ranging from "Happy Hour" (locally made wine accessories) to "Rise and Shine" (items that one would use in the morning, like coffee and soap). The price for one box is around $50 while a three-month subscription is $90.

In addition to tapping into the local food and craft scene in Memphis, Davidson also hopes to be able to tap into the local brewery boom that Memphis experienced last year.

"The shipping is what makes [including beer in the boxes] so complicated, but we are looking at ways to get around that," Davidson said. 

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