My Made in Box is a subscription based gift box service bringing together a unique blend of locally produced, authentic handmade creations. With a focus on bringing more visibility to local artisans and makers from a global city or region at the time, My Made in Box aims to cherish local production and preserve the heritage of independent designers and makers all around the world. Operating uncompromisingly on the basis of delivering 'authenticity', 'craftsmanship' and 'traceability' to the users, My Made in Box features the pronounced assemblage of global crafts, and connects their meaning and purpose with people. Following the launch of their first London Box this November, Savant further spoke to the founder, Julie Wojtkiewicz, about setting up this season's must-try home delivery gifting service.
Words: Hanna-Amanda Pant
How does My Made in Box service work?
My Made in Box is a bi-monthly subscription box featuring authentic goods from around the world delivered to your doorstep. The box features can be from any city or country in the world, allowing you to connect with independent designers, learn their stories, and discover their creations and their country. Customers can choose between a bi-monthly, six-month or yearly subscription. For each box, a city is chosen, then five handmade items from local makers in the area are sourced, including the story behind the products and a lifestyle city guide, all delivered to your door.
What inspired the launch of My Made in Box?
Travelling from a very young age with my family before branching out solo, I flew to Asia and landed in Malaysia where I lived for three years. Trying to blend in; I still believe that discovering the country and their cultures, traditions, and learning about their heritage will remain the best thing I ever experienced. I admired every detail they would add to their outfit, their colours and meaning. But also the ingredients they would use to make their skin glow, it was just fascinating! Travelling to other countries, like Thailand, Bangladesh, Japan or Indonesia and China, made me realise how diverse each country is in terms of their traditions, local cuisines and craftsmanship. Everything handmade and locally produced I came across was authentic with a unique story behind; it had a soul. Also, meeting up with incredible people along the way and listening to their inspiring stories led to a growing intuition to share them; to connect communities together once I had the chance to do so. Upon my return from Asia, I moved to London where I decided to take this idea forward, and create a product that would allow people to discover and connect with handmade conscious creations from around the globe.
"We aim to capture that feeling of being truly immersed in a new place, to convey some sense of the spirit of places and people, even when you’re home."
What is the change you wish to encourage globally regarding the products we consume?
From that respect, three fundamentals were important to build this concept:
Whether it’s the feeling of tasting local delicacies, checking out unknown spots, or finding handmade pieces from independent designers, we aim to capture that feeling of being truly immersed in a new place, to convey some sense of the spirit of places and people, even when you’re home. Simultaneously, bringing increased visibility to these independent creators, and enabling them to connect and share their crafts with a wider audience.
We admire a country’s traditional way of producing their items, and it is important to preserve this fabulous heritage. Not only does buying local and independent support the craftsmanship and arts within a local economy and community, but it also exposes us to unique and new designs, textiles, materials and ideas. We love sourcing and sharing superb creations that makers have handmade with love, giving our customers the chance to connect with communities around the globe, and to get to know locally made products.
This is the ability to know everything about the products we purchase. By sharing the story of each creator, customers participate in the manufacturing process of their goods, and get to know the traceability of their products. We are able to know who made our products, in which country and how it has been made.
"Those women stood up and fought for what they believe was right for them and decided to share their beliefs and creations with others."
Every 2 months, a city from anywhere in the world is chosen to be included in the local box. You have just launched your first London Box this November. What has been some of the feedback from creators and customers alike?
Our first box, the London Box, was launched in November 2017, and is featuring 5 locally handmade creations from makers based in the Big City. The next one is still remaining secret, and will be revealed the end of January, whereas it will be available throughout February and March. Creators loved the originality of the concept in bringing handmade creations forward and the idea of having no borders.
We’ve had encouraging feedback from customers who were fascinated by the idea of getting stamp products from London (one of the most vibrant city to their eyes) and willing to join our journey around the world. London bloggers mentioned it was nice to learn and explore further their own city. While at the same time, including products made by London artisans into their daily routine, the box helps them bookend a day with these people in mind. 'There’s something really nice about this experience, as it brings together sight, smell and experience in a whole new way. For someone who’s just starting to get the hang of the staycation, My Made In Box has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities to me', said one of the first receivers of the box.
In your view, what are the benefits of local production? What speaks in favour of such approach and why it should be encouraged?
By producing locally, we are supporting our local economy, such as our local farmers, artists, designers, and rewarding their work, creativity, inspiration and unicity. Purchasing from small businesses producing locally ensures that every step of the manufacturing process has been carefully selected to maintain the quality of the product, that it's made incorporating fair work conditions, and often in small batches, by minimising their impact on the environment. Moreover, local production also means preserving the heritage, the know-how that has been passed on by older generations, and which is a precious skill to keep for the next ones. Therefore, by purchasing from small businesses producing locally for their community, you are getting high quality and timeless products you won’t find anywhere else and used or worn by anyone else, as it is often specific to a location or know-how. And you will also feel closer to the person who made it ...
What can we expect in your newly-launched London Box?
A real immersion within the Big City, strolling around its famous Christmas market and an ultimate discovery of locally handmade products, from skincare to jewellery and wellness products by talented Londoners, and their stories. Subscribers will embark on a new journey which allows them to connect with a city, its people and its local spots from the comfort of their home.
You also focus on revealing the traceability of each product. Why are customers getting more interested in where the goods they consume come from and how they're made?
Nowadays, more than ever, it is important to understand where, how and by whom our products are made. With the constant growth of the consumption society and the scandals and tragedies that have followed, consumers have started being more concerned about the provenance of their foods and daily products, their components and the price breakdown.
Take the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 in Bangladesh, for example. This led consumers to question high street retailers, their practices in ‘outsourcing countries’, and interrogating them on where our garments are made and by whom. Organisations and brands have been since created to raise awareness around this cause by questioning the big fashion brands with the hashtag #whomadeyourclothes (Fashion Revolution). Moreover, high street brands are now campaigning for more conscious collections, even though the real purpose behind them can be questioned. Nevertheless, this has resulted in consumers willing to look for alternatives, and the growth of sustainable and ethical fashion and beauty brands. Also, international bloggers and magazines (like Savant) have stood up to raise awareness and educate consumers about better options available in the fashion and beauty industry, without compromising on the style and quality.
Who are some of the most inspiring makers you have worked with so far? What perhaps unites the artisanal makers you work with?
All the makers I have worked with so far, mainly women I have to say, are such an inspiration for me. They have an incredible background, a real passion for what they do, and they share a will to make a difference in this world. I think about Skin & Tonic, where Sarah was diagnosed with endometriosis; she could not find any trusted natural products in the market and decided to create her own. Another example would be Lucie Ellen, who decided to leave her degree to live her passion and do something with her hands. Those women stood up and fought for what they believe was right for them and decided to share their beliefs and creations with others. This is what drives me to pursue this adventure in showcasing brands from all around the world, each journey is so unique and a huge inspiration.
"Not only does buying local and independent support the craftsmanship and arts within a local economy and community, but it also exposes us to unique and new designs, textiles, materials and ideas."
We at Savant do not necessarily encourage consumption, yet we believe that a meaningful and personal gift speaks louder than words, and should be also appreciated by the receiver. My Made in Box also works ideally as a Xmas gift to a loved one. How can anyone interested subscribe?
Anyone interested can visit our website www.mymadeinbox.com and click on the Box section to discover the different subscription plans. You can choose between the bi-monthly, six-month or 12 months plan according to your preference, which will be renewed accordingly, or you’ll be able to cancel anytime. There is also a special ‘gift it’ section which allows customers to offer their loved ones the box of the month as a one-time purchase only, ideal for Christmas.