Have a fandom that you're really passionate about? Do you have the need to acquire collectible figures about your fandom? Or want to sample an array of beauty products, snacks, and exotic foods? Then investing in a subscription box is something you should really consider to scratch that itch. The idea of subscription boxes have been around for almost a decade and has played an important part in pop culture.
The satisfaction consumers get from a subscription box is often not directly associated with the actual products inside. It’s the culmination of the products, the experience and unique value propositions that make subscription boxes distinct from other consumer goods.
Personally, I have not found a subscription box that helped with my Super Smash Bros. fandom until now.
Smash Crate is an organization based in Austin, TX that saw a problem and came up with a solution. There are so many talented artists and content creators in the Smash community, but it is incredibly difficult for them to get their work to the actual Smashers interested in purchasing their goods. Their vision is to make it easy for Smashers to support Smash community artists and content creators, all while getting awesome items and collectibles that they couldn't find elsewhere.
Smashboards recently had the opportunity to speak with the Smash Crate team and talk about their motivation, the Smash community, and how much of an impact their merchandise resonated with the community.
1PC: How were you guys introduced to smash and the competitive aspect of it?
Everyone on the Smash Crate team grew up playing Smash Bros! We have all either been competing locally for years, got inspired by the Smash documentary, or been observing the scene grow. Most of our team focuses on playing Melee, but we have experience playing N64, Brawl, Smash 4, and even Project M. We are also constantly watching tournament streams, checking out Smashboards, and browsing /r/smashbros.
How did the idea of creating a monthly subscription "Smash Crate" come to be?
Josh got the idea of creating a Smash subscription service after trying to find Sheik posters online. He was working at a subscription commerce company at the time. The first draft of the Smash Crate website was actually a test site to debug the software.
He found tons of online shops selling Smash items, but most were under the radar and didn't have any reviews. The goal for Smash Crate was to make things easier for both creators and consumers.
We buy content from artists in bulk so that they get upfront sales, easy distribution, and exposure. Consumers get awesome items at a discount, get content they like without having to sift through endless etsy and redbubble pages, and support other Smashers in the community. Smash Crate is a win-win for content creators and consumers!
On your website I noticed that customers are able to choose their favorite Smash game when they begin their subscription. Why did y'all choose that route?
The Smash community is something special. We can all come together to accomplish some amazing things. You can just look at the fundraising for Smash the Record, crowd-sourcing travel support for players, and helping cover Smashers' medical expenses. However, that does not mean all Smashers are interested in the same exact things. Each Smash game has a different community with its own storylines and quirks.
Someone invested in the N64 scene may not care about the newest character added in Smash 4. Melee players might not keep up with the Project M rankings. Our goal is to tailor our Smash Crates to each individual subscriber as much as we can. That is why every subscriber fills out a short survey when first signing up. We use that information when stocking product, gauging character preferences, and making all sorts decisions behind the scenes.
What sets you guys apart from other monthly subscription crates/boxes?
The Team Behind Smash Crate
Smash Crate is special because everything in our Crates comes from the community. We aren't some huge, faceless corporation. We partner with artists from all over the world who make Smash related content. These are the same vendors that you see at tournament stalls and online shops. We also produce content ourselves (mostly shirts and apparel)!
Every Smash Crate contains spotlight sheets with information about the artists. These include contact info so that subscribers can easily find artists they like. We are trying to do our part to grow the community and share our passion for Smash.
Can you explain to us how the process is that determines what goes inside each Smashcrate?
We have around 150+ artists that we work with right now. We try to showcase a healthy mix of established and up-and-coming artists each month. It is also important for us to keep things fresh by including different types of items in Crates. One month may feature shirts and key chains, but the next month will then feature something different, such as posters and mugs.
Smashcrate's Merchandise Spread
@PixelatedTakkun @SPIFspace @meowth @JisuArt @lillianz_ @astroxpill
Since every subscriber fills out a survey, we take favorite character preferences and other things into account.
Do you guys ever travel out to events and showcase your products? I feel like the community would get a kick out of that.
We are based in Austin, TX and have not ventured outside of Texas much yet. Getting out to other tournaments is definitely something on our radar though!
What has been your most memorable moment since the launch of the Smashcrate?
On the first day we started taking sales, we unexpectedly got around 5 subscribers from Sweden and Germany. To this day, we have no idea about how they found us so quickly. The funny part is that they had some questions about our subscribing, but did not speak English. Google Translate was the hero we never knew we needed.
An Abundant Amount of Smash Crates
How is the customers feedback to your product? Are they pleased with the items you have given them in their personalized Smash Crate?
Great! We have had a surprising amount of subscribers stay with us since we first launched in October 2016. People only really unsubscribe because they are tight on funds, but usually say they are planning on resubscribing later.
Even if someone doesn't like all the items they receive in their Crate, we collect feedback after each shipment. We take the feedback into account and try to improve things for the next shipment.
Do you think that your product has made a positive impact in community and in your customer's life?
We sure hope so! The percentage of Smashers that actually make a living off the games is very small. We help artists in the Smash community make a living doing the things they are passionate about.
Also, there are tons of Smashers that live in areas without established local scenes. These people may not get the chance to go to tournaments in person. We can't bring them to the tournaments, but we can bring part of the tournaments to them through the items they receive in their Smash Crates.
What does the future hold for the Smash Crate brand? What's next on the agenda?
We want to sponsor more national tournaments, put together some unboxing videos, and start partnering with even more artists. The goal is to make sure everyone in the community knows about Smash Crate and has access to the amazing work that our artists make! Also, it would be nice for us to grow large enough that the team can all quit our day jobs
Smash Crate was a sponsor for one of the biggest Project M events ever, The Bigger Balc
Thank you guys for taking the time out of your busy schedules to do this interview, it really means a lot to us. Do you guys have any shout outs you would like to give, plugs, or any closing statements?
Smash Crate would not be around today without the support of our partners. Special thanks to SPIF Space, Jisu, and Lauren for being among the first established artists to partner with us! We love and appreciate all of the artists we have worked with. <3
Also, we cannot thank our subscribers enough for believing in us! We have learned so much, grown, and achieved more success than we could have hoped for when we first started. The support we’ve received has really been motivating and it keeps us going.
Smash Crate Team
Author's Note: Thank you Smash Crate for taking the time out to do this interview! I believe that their idea has impacted the Smash community immensely and has given us something to look forward to on a monthly bases. Lastly, if you want to learn more about the Smash Crate team or want support them, be sure to check them out in the following links below: