The holiday season is the time of year when we get to go beyond words, and honor our loved ones with gifts and quality time. But for some of us, we may not be near our loved ones or family. And for many, the holidays can just make these matters worse. But this season, if you find yourself stuck in a rut, think about hope! Hopebox is the innovative brand that delivers a box full of hand-crafted, artisanal goods right to your doorstep.
We talked to Co-Founder Derik Timmerman about Hopebox, and how he went from a US Army Officer to delivering hope around the country.
How did Hopebox get started?
The main inspiration for Hopebox was my time as a US Army officer. During my two deployments to Iraq, I was amazed at the tremendous impact care packages had on people. No matter how weary or homesick a soldier might be, a box of thoughtful gifts reminding them someone cares could give them just enough hope to make it one more day.
Since then, I consulted at McKinsey and owned other businesses. But it wasn’t until about a year ago, when I found out about how huge the subscription box world had become, that I remember thinking about those care packages again and in a new way. I thought, ‘There’s got to be a way to scale the subscription box model to send hope like never before?’ And it was about that time my partners and I attended NY Now, one of the big shows in New York where handmade vendors gather from all over the world.
That’s how Hopebox was born: a veteran-consultant-entrepreneur imagining a monthly subscription of handmade, hope-giving items.
What sets your product apart?
We obsess about the details. When senders want to send hope to someone who has just lost a family member, is coping with a sudden cancer diagnosis, or is even celebrating a special birthday, the emotional stakes couldn’t be higher for getting everything about their Hopebox just right. That’s why we hand pack the treasures in every Hopebox one-by-one, gently wrap them in tissue paper, carefully tie them with a ribbon, and top off the box with a personal note from the sender. And our handmade artisans take the same painstaking approach to making their creations. These are some of the most talented artists in the world and they’ve dedicated their lives to making things that bring people hope. And when people need encouragement, the smallest details can make the biggest difference.
What item in the Hopebox care package is a customer favorite?
That’s like being asked to name your favorite child–we work so hard to select the very best, so we get wonderful reactions to all of our handmade gifts! That being said, we’ve probably had the biggest response to a book titled, Read This Till You Believe It by an amazing company called Compendium. Page by page, the book meets anyone experiencing any type of hardship wherever they are. Nothing too complicated; just one thoughtful, comforting sentence per page that does what those old care packages did for my soldiers: it gives them hope! And because of the response, we include one of these books in every first-Hopebox someone receives.
What’s the most memorable moment for Hopebox?
Our subscribers are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. The moment I knew Hopebox could help people the way we first dreamed was when a subscriber named Andrea emailed me after receiving her first box. She wrote something like, ‘I’ve been a trauma nurse for many years and the things I see every day just break my heart. Everyone in my line of work should be getting a Hopebox every month. I’ve never been so encouraged by a gift. I’m a subscriber for life, thank you, thank you, thank you.’ When I read that, I knew there’s a world full of Andreas out there needing hope too.
Where do you see Hopebox in the next 5 years?
I see Hopebox steadily taking the place of mass market flowers and gift baskets. I see the Hopebox community continuing to grow as a movement of people who want a more meaningful way to care for those in their lives needing encouragement. And in addition to Hopebox for Her and for Him, I would like to see us launch a Hopebox for kids. Our challenge in all of that will be to scale up fast while still obsessing about the details of every individual box.
Where can LA Fashion readers find you?
We’re at hopebox.com, come check us out. When you don’t know what to send, send hope.