Enough has been said about the transformative power of digital life. Yes, communication has taken a bastardized form, a series of short bursts of text tossed to some proverbial wind. And yes, we’re all somewhat guilty of abusing the distance social networks provide, rarely bridging the gap between what we share and what we mean. Over time, though—fairly recently, really—the dullness of these changes has begun to compound. Sometimes, we simply want to reach out and, quite literally, feel something new.
Fortunately, we can. The Internet is now being utilized as a roundabout—that is, a passageway that draws users in from the real world to connect them on a higher level with their actual surroundings. With that in mind, curation has moved from blogs—pixelated streams of fine design, always distant—to services that move products from the digital world to our homes and back again. One such effort, Svbscription, a new luxury lifestyle service for men, brings a simple premise to promising new heights: four times a year, subscribers receive a parcel of goods curated around a single theme. The third parcel, “Leisure,” ships this month, and it marks the brand’s biggest promise yet.
That being said, Svbscription is not the first service to target affluent twenty- and thirty-somethings. Quarterly.Co, Birchbox, the Fancy, and others have each found success by funneling a particular category to a particular demographic. Where Svbscription differs itself is in its far-more-intangible goal—timelessness. Where most subscription services aim for immediate gratification by way of immediate consumption, an experience designed to pass before the next parcel arrives, the curators at Svbscription aim for objects that increase in value over time. In place of locally-sourced food, makeup, and odd one-off toys, Svbscription provides singular, high-quality products through partnerships with high-profile brands: Steven Alan, Want Essentials De La Vie, Mr and Mrs Smith, Malin + Goetz, and Harper Collins Publishing, just to name a few.
“I don’t believe that you can create meaning and depth without the use of an extended approach to time,” says founder Andrew Apostola, who also founded Portable, an online cultural platform. “It’s very ingrained: the only institutions modern men will engage with are family and education. So the challenge for Svbscription is that we can’t achieve our core aims within a year or two years.” By including Sam Wheeler, visual merchandiser for brands like Hermès and Barneys, and editor and film director Marc Goldenfein, Apostola was able to make a classic play within the upward swing of contemporary trends. “There are some universal approaches to curation that can be applied such as a certain taste level, a knowledge of products and trends, and an understanding of who your audience is,” he says. “If you have those three fundamentals, then you are in the right place to start,”
The subscriber base, which is carefully expanded upward each quarter, is rewarded for its patience, as their parcels—delivered in custom crates—are bodies of expertly refined work. “Study,” for example, included a limited-edition folio by Loden Dager, a Kaweco fountain pen, Nicola Barker’s The Yips, and an engraved Le Labo travel case and fragrance set customized for each subscriber with his initials. “This is something that when you first look at you may think, It’s a perfume holder, that’s nothing special. I mean I don’t even wear a fragrance,” explains Apostola. “However, a piece like this, which is handmade, heavy like a shell from the first World War, and has your identity engraved on the bottom, this is something that only accumulates meaning over a long period of time.”
As this acute level of attention might suggest, Svbscription isn’t yet available to everyone. With each parcel, availability increases, and the opportunity to sign up for the third delivery is nearly at its end. Fortunately, for both early- and late-subscribers, this allows a level of quality control that will increase as the subscriber base grows. “If you think about it for a second and do the math, we are essentially heading towards a position where we can make really large orders for custom pieces from high-level brands. The more members we have, the more creative we can get,” Apostolas explains. “For us it’s not about the amount of items that are inside the parcel, it’s the overall feeling. And somewhat surprisingly, the fewer items we have, the tighter the message and the feeling you get when you find that parcel at your doorstep.”
For more information, please visit Svbscription.com.