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Books that Matter subscription box retailer on retail trends and outsourced fulfilment

By Chris Dawson June 4, 2021 - 11:40 am

Molly Masters, Founder, Books that Matter Feminist book clubMolly Masters launched a feminist subscription box, Books that Matter, whilst studying at University. In this interview, taken from Diamond Logistics’ Future of Retail 2021 report, Molly shares her opinion on retail trends, the benefits of outsourcing her fulfilment to Diamond Logistics and how she plans to reach 10,000+ subscribers in the next five years.

What is the story behind Books that Matter?

Books That Matter was born out of my desire to bring books by women to more women. It wasn’t until I was at University that I was really introduced to female writers, they weren’t included on my school curriculums. This denies all readers the pleasure of great works of fiction by diverse women. It was of great importance to me to provide a platform for their work and their stories, in a way that was accessible and enjoyable for women of all walks of life. And thus, Books That Matter was born! 

How relevant is the subscription retail model in 2021? How is it changing the shape of retail?

Over the course of the pandemic, the retail landscape has changed immeasurably, of course, as with so many other industries. However, one prominent thing has been an explosion in subscription models and the adoption of subscription boxes as a business model. I have seen so many companies diversifying into this space, or existing sub boxes growing hugely due to the convenience of the model in a time when we are all at home. I myself have been really enjoying the convenience of subscription based deliveries for loo roll, cleaning products, and many home essentials that would otherwise require me to go into a shop, which we all have been avoiding as much as we can. Beyond the convenience, and certainly where Books That Matter comes into the conversation, there is the ‘surprise and delight’ element of a surprise through your letterbox every month. With the world as it is, we all crave a little pick-me-up here and there, and subscription boxes are a great, and often quite affordable way, to provide yourself with some joy, excitement and newness.

What role has your fulfilment partner Diamond Logistics Bournemouth played in the success of your business?

In the first few months, we saw immediate growth as I was able to spend time refining the customer journey, improving our website, levelling up our social media, and having time on my hands to engage with local business networks and receive coaching from industry experts. All of this built the foundations for working ON the business and helped to grow us to where we are today!

When did you first learn what logistics is? How would you describe it to other retailers, new to the fulfilment?

I used to think that when my business got big enough, I would get a warehouse and an adjoining office, and do all the packing and logistics myself with an accompanying team. Fulfilment is basically all the convenience of that, but none of the hassle. Knowing now what Craig Brixey – the manager at Diamond Logistics Bournemouth – and team do for us every month, all the problems that they solve with their knowledge of the industry and contacts around the country, I would not wish to even attempt to manage such an operation whilst also trying to run my business.

Outsourcing my fulfilment felt like the natural next step for me to reclaim lost time spent packing boxes, organising shipping and managing stock. As my subscription business grew, the operation gradually took up more and more time. I felt like it started with just one week of packing and one day to ship the boxes from our small office, and it soon became two weeks, then three, and it meant I was having to turn down opportunities to network, speak at events, and work on my business, because I was stuck working in it. As you grow, it’s only natural you’ll want to outsource things you don’t feel passionate about, or that eat into your daily schedule, and reclaim that time to spend on more fruitful endeavours; like networking, PR, collaborations, marketing. As soon as I sought fulfilment, the change in my business was palpable, and the stressors on me as a business owner were gradually lessened.

To read the full interview with Molly Masters, plus a Q&A with sports retailer FatStick Boards and a practical guide to fulfilment technology, read Diamond Logistics’ Future of Retail Report 2021

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