Alum’s journey through subscription industry

Laurel Kraus, Managing Editor

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The life of an entrepreneur is no mystery to 2006 Oakland University alumnus Christopher George, who has undergone three successful business endeavors in the subscription industry.

“I get excited on Sunday night because I’m ready for Monday morning,” George said. “The society’s like vice versa, they’re upset that it’s Sunday night because they’ve got to wake up for work Monday morning. I want to change that feeling.”

His endeavors began in 2014 when he launched Gentleman’s Box as CEO and founder, after noticing subscription boxes were mostly geared toward women such as Birchbox and Ipsy.

“Things were sort of leaning toward the subscription economy, and that’s why my co-founder and I… thought this may be an easy way for men to get accessories they need for their attire without having to go shopping, and it would also allow them to discover new items,” George said.

The accessories a subscriber may receive in a box include dress socks, ties, tie clips, cologne, wallets and watches, all delivered to the subscriber’s door.

There are two different subscription options, monthly or quarterly, and George reported Gentleman’s Box has shipped more than 250,000 boxes so far.

“For Gentleman’s Box, our vision is to help make more men gentleman, and so for us a big part of it is helping to create that gentleman lifestyle and help them by looking good, feeling good and being good,” he said.

Following the creation of his subscription service, in 2016 George launched SubSummit, the first ever subscription summit.

“What we realized was that in the subscription box space, there wasn’t an event for all the subscription boxes to come together and network, and brand build and community build their business,” George said.

While SUBsummit achieved 200 attendees in the first year, the annual summit in May 2018 had over 750 attendees, 90 speakers and 70 exhibitors. George reported it is now the largest event in the subscription space.

This success is what led to the creation of the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA) of which George is co-founder and chairman.

“We want to be able to allow these brands to grow and build outside of once a year at the subscription summit, so we started the trade association,” he said.

According to George, SUBTA is now the go-to resource for anyone in the subscription industry, and currently has over 800 members and 100 partners.

“Our vision for SUBTA is to be the leading resource for everything subscription, to be the go-to resource for the direct to consumer subscription economy and host the largest event in the subscription space,” he said.

George has been an entrepreneur since he was 21 years old and finds the lifestyle is only for those who have a passion for it, which is his biggest piece of advice for any OU student considering an entrepreneurial career path.

“I think that somebody that wants to be an entrepreneur, they have to love it,” George said.

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