From Chester with love: these subscription boxes are filled with locally made goodies

PUBLISHED: 11:29 10 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:25 10 November 2020

Jennifer Wood launched her Clean Life subscription box business after repeated disappointments from others she had tried.
Photo: Kat Hannon

Jennifer Wood launched her Clean Life subscription box business after repeated disappointments from others she had tried. Photo: Kat Hannon

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Jennifer Wood launched subscription box service The Clean Life after feeling frustrated that existing programmes simply didn’t deliver

Clean Life boxes vary in content but not in ethos
Photo: Kat HannonClean Life boxes vary in content but not in ethos Photo: Kat Hannon

We’ve all seen them, the monthly or quarterly subscription boxes that promise exciting delights to be discovered whenever they arrive on your doorstep. Some are industry specific – makeup, gin – some simply promise an introduction to lots of lovely things to please. Whatever the promise however, Jennifer Wood found herself just a little disappointed, inspiring her to create her own box with the aim not only of pleasing herself, but mums across the country.

‘There are loads of subscription box services out there, but somehow they always just miss the mark, never being completely what I hoped for. I so often found myself saying, “I like this stuff, but I wouldn’t have chosen it.” Or worse, with fashion boxes, knowing you won’t wear half of it. I decided that there was an opportunity here to create a box aimed at women like me: busy, working mums with very little time to ourselves and who is always last on the list for treats and surprises. Women who like to stay fit and healthy, who like to enjoy tasty but healthy treats, make new beauty discoveries and add new clothes to their wardrobe that they will actually wear. So I launched Clean Box, a quarterly subscription services that has all these things.’

There are two key drivers behind the choices Jennifer makes for her boxes. First, everything must pass her own stringent quality testing, and second, as far as possible they must come from local, independent businesses.

‘The content is based around a simple question: will I feel proud to send it out and will people be thrilled to receive it? So far, I seem to be getting it right, as feedback has been wholly positive. Lots of people receive one of the boxes as a gift, then go on to subscribe for themselves or to buy for others as a gift, which really says it all, I think. Word of mouth, when growing a business, is so important. It’s real, it’s organic and it’s local.

Jennifer Wood wants to bring other busy mums the treats she adores herself
Photo: Kat HannonJennifer Wood wants to bring other busy mums the treats she adores herself Photo: Kat Hannon

‘When I build each box, I think about the recipient. It has to be a box of things “all for me”. Nothing for the children, nothing I might be expected to share... As a mum, these days I find myself buying things just for my children, rarely for myself, so I like to think that when this arrives it feels very special.’

The Clean Box contents vary with each box sent out, but always include limited edition ‘The Clean Life’ workout apparel, beauty products, healthy snacks and drinks, and also easy, healthy recipe cards and exercise tips, plus a mystery gift, all sourced from local businesses.

‘I really want to support local, independent businesses and have discovered some amazing brands and people that I have included,’ she says. ‘Past boxes have included goodies from Little Lodge Confectionary, Bird and Blend Tea Co, and Ageless Glow, for example, and it’s meant that mums have been able to try out products from businesses which they perhaps wouldn’t have previously heard of. Every supplier is able to place their own marketing material in the box, so if people love what they find, they know where to find it again. All of our products are ethically sourced and manufactured too, which was very important to me. Even the packaging is made locally, not shipped in from China as it is for many of these boxes. Our boxes are fully biodegradable as is all of The Clean Life packaging so they can be recycled and are kind to the environment.’

Active wear, tasty treats and beaty products all from local businesses
Photo: Kat HannonActive wear, tasty treats and beaty products all from local businesses Photo: Kat Hannon

So what can buyers expect from the December box?

‘Well, that would be telling,’ Jennifer laughs. ‘But while usually the boxes are centred around a health and wellness perspective, you can expect something a little more indulgent from the December box. In November I launched my own Clean Life scented candle, which will be in the box, that much I can tell you. I worked with a local maker on developing this who I met at a Lady Taverners meeting. It’s made from pure soy wax and essential oils – no nasties anywhere. It’s for sale on the website separately, in case my subscribers want another once this one is gone.’

It seems Jennifer has achieved her first goal, so what’s next?

‘Longer term it would be great to design and manufacture my own athleisure wear. The geographical spread of where I send the boxes has already gone beyond Cheshire’s borders, across the UK and even some to Ireland and as that grows it would be good to expand my support of local independents to some of the counties where the boxes are heading. It’s been a challenge meeting people with their own small business this year but Cheshire is, I know, filled to the brim with wonderful independents, in every field, so I will have lots to choose from here for some while to come I am sure.’

thecleanlife.co.uk

Treat yourself to a Clean Life box for Christmas or drop some major hints to family. Order your December box before 15th November for guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas. The Clean Box is £60 + p&p (the contents in the December box are worth over £110)

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