A FAE CRATE EXCLUSIVE: In Conversation With Founders Brittany & Meagan
Here in the bookish community, none of us are strangers to the vibrant purple boxes with whimsical scrawling... Established in 2018 between two friends bonded on a love for reading, the book subscription box has seen exponential growth and support from bookstagrammers, huge publishing companies, and authors everywhere.
Recently, founders Brittany and Meagan graciously at down with our correspondent and publicity guru, Mike, to discuss their intriguing beginnings, Bae Crate, and what's in store next...
1. Tell us a little about yourselves. Brittany ran a shop and Meagan became a rep for it. What was the shop? What drew you two to each other?
Brittany used to own a bookish shop called VergeofWisteria that printed shirts, pillow cases, mugs, etc. Meagan had only recently started on Bookstagram and was learning the ropes but LOVED Brittany's designs. She stalked (basically) the company and Brittany eventually asked her to become her first rep. We were friends for about a year before we decided to go to Yallfest 2017 with each other. We totally both could have been serial killers and this be a horrible mistake but everything went okay! We had both chatted about how we both had wanted to start a box company but it was too much work for one person. A week after getting home from Yallfest we talked and decided to just go for it! 2. Let’s talk about Fae Crate. What’s in a name? What went into naming your company?
Honestly I can't even remember how it popped up. When we were on the eight hour drive back home from Yallfest, I (Meagan) made a joke about how I would name a box Fae Crate because it kind of rhymed. We laughed about it and didn't think any more on it. About a week after Yallfest, Brittany found out she was pregnant with Gryffin and sent a message saying "How serious were you about wanting to start Fae Crate". And the rest is history! Fae just capitalized on our favorite aspects of books. Not fae as in the type of people similar to elves. Fae originally meant all types of magical creatures and covered them all. We knew we wanted Fae Crate to be Sci-Fi and Fantasy from the beginning as an escape from the real world for our subscribers. We wanted the experience to be magical, so fae just fit! 3. What kind of growth have you seen with Fae Crate in its short existence? Where would you like to see Fae Crate go in the future?
The growth of Fae Crate started extremely fast and hasn't stopped yet. It never ceases to baffle us because this was originally thought to be something we could make a little money on and now we are doing this full time and making a living out of this company. We have grown in social media presence about 1,200 followers a month on instagram since we opened and we still can't process it. We are still growing Fae Crate and would like to eventually get to a place where a team under us can run it with us just managing so that we can put a heavier focus on growing our second company, Bae Crate, to our ideal numbers for it. Once that happens we would like to move on to whatever our next project will be. We have ideas for what this project can be but are no where near planning stages for it yet. One day! 4. What is your process like? What goes into coming up with a monthly theme for your customers?
My initial answer is "there's order in chaos". *laughs hysterically* We always have a lot going on so we separate jobs for our team to break things down into bite sized pieces. We have a couple of different members that review books that are included first. So currently we are reviewing for January Fae Crate books and December Bae Crate books. We have 2 separate people doing this and a 3rd person reviewing ebooks for Fae Crate's ebook inclusions. We like to keep books full of variety instead of the same types of stories back to back so once we find a book that we loved and isn't too similar to our previous month's books, we put a request in. Once we have that book we come up with the theme name. For this year we are doing the Year of Olympus themes with Greek Gods as literary characters. So we paid a God or Goddess that fits our book and come up with a name. Once we have a name it's easy to pair fandoms to it. We try to include fun fandoms that deserve the attention as many fandoms already have so much merch. There are SO MANY EPIC BOOKS OUT THERE. So we try to do a mix of known fandoms and some that SHOULD be known. 5. With Bae Crate being a spinoff, sister companion to Fae Crate, do you have any other ideas for new ‘siblings’ to the original, Fae?
Our next product will most likely not be subscription based so I believe these may be the only siblings of the "Ae" Family for now. Our husbands like to make jokes about other boxes like "Slay Crate" for mysteries but we laugh because our hair is already falling out over two boxes. Maybe their true intentions are us dying of stress and they collect the life insurance. Maybe that's the real mystery we need to solve for Slay Crate. 6. If you could have one famous author or publishing individual act as a representative for Fae Crate, who would that person be, and why?
Oh man. This is like asking us what our favorite movie or song is. There are SO many people and authors we love so much. If I could pick people that reflected the personalities of Fae Crate and Bae Crate I would probably choose Elise Kova and Danielle Jensen as reps for Fae Crate. Their friendship reminds me strongly of Brittany and my (Meagan) relationship. And they are both professional but also very fun. Honestly both of them are some of the main reasons we are able to do some of the things we do for Bae and Fae Crate like exclusive editions and such. They were both so patient with us and willing to work with us while we figured things out. If they had been any different we probably would have been too intimidated to keep going with our exclusive projects the way we have. If I had to choose someone to represent Bae Crate, I'm going to cheat and give a grouping. The team at Sourcebooks is SO amazing and put together so well, it is always a dream working with them. They are so quick to help promote us and work together with us. They are just a great group of people in general. 7. Monthly subscription boxes have blown up over the past few years. Do you have a particular subscription box you’re fans of? It could be book related or non-book related, or both!
We are both huge fans of subscription boxes and even other book boxes. We love supporting other bookish ladies out there. We both subscribe to OwlCrate and love getting Illumicrate's special editions boxes. Fox&Wit has an amazing owner that we adore as well. I also will get boxes from @acourtofcandles because I have a real addiction to their candles. We also love makeup or lifestyle boxes like Allure and boxycharm. We both have a building collection that we barely ever touch because we both work at home but it's the thought that counts right? 8. How has working in this corner of the publishing/book world affected or changed your reading as a whole? Do you find it affects reading for pleasure?
This is a great question! And the answer is layered. On one hand it is so exciting to have so many opportunities to review books ahead of time and get sent so many options to choose from. On the other it can be so overwhelming. At times, even reading for fun may feel like we are working and we will go through dry spells of reading (we are always really ahead of reviewing so dry spells don't hurt us requesting books for our boxes thank goodness) but there are definitely times we have to push ourselves to read because we have to. It is also a pressure to choose the RIGHT books. We consider many things when reviewing. We think about what other boxes will be including, not only so it doesn't impact our sales but because we don't want to miss out on supporting an author that deserves that support when two boxes may have the same author. There are SO many good books to choose from every month. We try to consider what cultures we haven't represented, what romantic relationships we haven't represented, what genres we are overdoing, etc. We understand that we have a very vast and varied demographic of people subscribing to our box and it is extremely important to us that they read a book that they can relate to and put themselves in the character's shoes for. I can't just read a book looking for a main character that has lived only my own experiences. We need to make sure we are considering books that other people can relate to and love as well. So after that word vomit- the answer is yes. It does affect the way I read. I can't read as me. I have to read as a potential subscriber looking for their own type of happily ever after or experiences. It's a lot of pressure! But when it gets too much, we put the books down and just binge an embarrassing amount of anime to start fresh again.