Hostess with the Mostess
Houston-based subscription box startup plans expansion and new subscriber features
A few years ago, Lindsey Rose King offered to host her friend's engagement party, and she realized she had no clue where to start. There weren't any real resources out there for her to seek out.
King created Mostess, a seasonally curated home goods subscription box aiming to make it easier to host friends and family into their homes. The company was founded in January of 2017.
"I came up with the idea out of a need," says King, founder and lead curator, "it's hard to casually invite people into your house."
Almost two years later, King has managed to accomplish a lot of her goals, and Mostess has a great retention rate of subscribers with about a 30 percent growth each quarter, King says.
"We have a 5 percent churn rate, so 95 percent of customers have been customers since their first purchase," says King.
Mostess moves to disrupt the retail space by changing how consumers shop for home goods, accessories, and tabletop items. The box presents products in a different setting than consumers are used to seeing in a brick-and-mortar store by combining products from different brands and lines that may not be typically paired.
"Consumers are getting a product because we are referring it and picking it for them," King says. "We're choosing for the consumer, rather than them choosing themselves."
In need of more space, the growing company recently moved into a warehouse in the Houston-area in a partnership with Alpha Graphics West Houston to launch its first local fulfillment center.
Currently, Mostess ships to 48 states, and next year, King says she wants to be able to ship to Alaska and Hawaii by July. Since the box has already got some buzz around it in Canada, King says she hope to be able to start her first international shipping there by 2020.
Mostess is in the wrapping up its busiest season; the company just released its winter box, which, along with the autumn box, King says subscribers usually purchase additional boxes for friends and family.
Looking forward to 2019, she's got exciting advancements for her subscribers.
In 2019, Mostess will begin offering slight customizations to each seasonal box and a special evergreen box. Customers will be able to purchase add-on items beginning with the spring box, such as extra candles or accessories in addition to what is offered. The Mostess evergreen boxes will have neutral and classic home accessories and hosting pieces. King says she wants these boxes to be a go-to gift idea or party-hosting asset for everything from a housewarming to an engagement party.
Starting from scratch
King first had the idea for Mostess toward the end of her 10-year stint living in Washington, D.C. Anticipating a move to Houston, King began to research local bloggers and small businesses to build a support system and platform for Mostess prior to the launch.
"In the small business world in Houston, there is the blogging community and there are actual small businesses," says King. "Both are very active and both very open to chatting about how to make business work between both of you."
King tells InnovationMap that Houston is an ideal city for an entrepreneur, offering a collaborative community of friendly, laid back, and hard-working small business owners.
King shares that she launched Mostess without any outside investment, using only her personal funds to get the product off the ground and relied on her friends and family as a test market. From there, she sought feedback from every single customer and potential customer, collected data, and tweaked details leading up to the launch.
"There was not a home goods subscription box on the market," says King, "I didn't have something to model after."