Worth It? Quarterly

By Meghan Sullivan

Quarterly (Facebook, Twitter) is yet another subscription service, but it’s unique in that it cultivates a variety of ‘celebrity’ curators that are tasked with putting together packages based on certain themes. In their words:

“Quarterly wants to bridge that gap by allowing anyone to subscribe to influential curators and receive physical items in the mail from them. It’s like a magazine, but instead of receiving words on a page, our subscribers receive actual items that tell a compelling story crafted by the curator. “

For example, Veronica Belmont (Sword and Laser podcast, formerly Tekzilla) curates a food themed package. Scott Belsky (Behance) curates a package aimed at organization and productivity.  There are even packages curated by Bill Nye (The Science Guy), Nina Garcia (Marie Claire), Charles Tillman (Chicago Bears) just to name a few.  The variety of curators is part of the appeal, especially since the site makes it very easy to change your subscription if you want to explore packages from a different curator.  Price points range from $25 (although I do believe they are phasing out this one) to $100, with the majority of subscriptions landing at the $50 mark.

I started out with a $25 subscription (which has recently been raised to $50) to the No More Dirty Looks box curated by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt. This box has had some significant ups and downs in my opinion ranging from really great (clean mascara/ red cheek-lip stain; biodegradable nail polish remover/crystal nail file/clean nail polish) to not so great (scrub wash cloth/sample body scrub/oil).  Despite the couple misses I’ve received, I have really liked getting to try quality ‘clean’ beauty products and have received several that I would purchase and use on a regular basis which I probably never would have otherwise.

Another cool thing Quarterly does around the holidays is offer ‘Best of’ boxes.  For these, they simply take a variety of products from boxes throughout the year and dump a random assortment into a themed box. The first year I purchased the Food themed box and ended up scoring an Aeropress and a lovely analog kitchen timer. This past year I purchased the Art and Design themed box and scored several flash drives with random goodies, art prints, and the Creative Whack Pack Deck (which is awesome for getting those creative juices jump started and/or flowing).  That said, I also think I lucked out on the ‘Best of’ boxes.  Quarterly also encourages you to talk about your packages over on twitter with specific has tags for each box.  Using that feature I discovered some of the other random assortments people received in their ‘Best of’ boxes, which are truly a grab bag.  But that’s to be expected with any subscription service and is half the fun, right?

While I’m not entirely convinced the value I get from the products in the boxes is always a steal, I do love the personal notes and items that are not available via stores.  I’ve also been extremely pleased with the ‘Best of’ packages and Quarterly’s customer service (which is exceptional!).  Plus with the variety of curators, and new ones constantly being added, there’s always something new to try.

Overall I highly recommend Quarterly and definitely say it’s worth it, at least for a little while. You can always cancel or switch your curator (it’s very easy to do so).

For more information, check out their website to see the variety of curators and the items mailed in past packages.  And look up the package hash tags on twitter to see what normal people have to say too.

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