MEMPHIS DAILY NEWS | ANDY MEEK
A Memphis creative who’s grown her 4-year-old food blog into a lifestyle brand with a national readership is preparing to expand into subscription commerce.
Inspired in part by the success of monthly gift boxes, subscription services and the like, Cara Greenstein – the founder of food blog Caramelized – has turned to the crowdfunding service Kickstarter to launch the Caramelized Supper Club. Her new effort is what she calls a “dinner party in a box” subscription.
Basically, each delivery that arrives every other month will include items like dinner party decor, recipe cards and other tips to help her readers with events they’re planning. The boxes will features things like seasonally inspired and curated tablescape decorations, grocery lists for exclusive recipes, wine pairings and “how to” blog and email tutorials to accompany the packages.
“I’ve been constantly evolving the site from just recipes or restaurant reviews,” Greenstein said about her blog. “I started to notice everyone lately asking me how do you do that? How do you create a nice tablescape? How do you bring ideas to life?
“I’d been researching subscription services and decided it would be valuable and convenient for my following to have a tangible Caramelized experience in a box that they can bring to life in their own home. It’s essentially taking the tools I’ve always talked about, but giving it to them in the form of a delivery service.”
She decided to launch the project through Kickstarter as a way of testing the waters for the delivery service. She’s set a funding goal for the project of $45,000 that has to be reached by Nov. 30 for the project to be successful.
Once the funding goal is reached, inventory will be organized and packaged for delivery.
As part of the crowdfunding campaign, reward tiers include things like mailed recipe cards and full-fledged Caramelized Supper Club experiences personally prepared by Greenstein. Other tiers include biannual and annual memberships to the super club, which include three deliveries and a full-year of six deliveries, respectively.
“I’m hoping to empower people who’ve always followed me – but not known how to do these things themselves – to be able to actually do it and feel proud and inspired and create this sort of community through social media,” Greenstein said. “It’s been really fun, especially here in Memphis where everyone’s so embracing of the creative community and really follows the growth of people and creative ideas here. This is a never-ending creative outlet for me.”
The United States has seen a boom in subscription commerce in recent years, examples of which include popular offerings like Birchbox and Blue Apron. Greenstein is hoping that factors like a desire for indulgences and the element of surprise fuel interest in her new service.
Doug Carpenter, Greenstein’s boss at DCA, where she’s an associate, said efforts around her food and lifestyle brand were discussed at their first meeting and led to an opportunity for her to join his creative agency.
The brand was launched as a creative outlet while Greenstein was living in Austin, Texas.
“The successful enterprise that Cara had created in college demonstrated clearly to me her tremendous passion and drive, coupled with unwavering attention to detail and discernment,” Carpenter said. “The same traits demonstrated with the Caramelized enterprise are what makes her a tremendous asset to our culture and our clients.”