Introducing the face behind the boxes….

I have been putting this off for a while now but thought it was about time to introduce the face behind the boxes and some of the reasons of why I started Storybox!

I’m Rachel and I have been dedicating time outside of my full-time job to bring together products with purpose that combined can make up a personable and worthwhile gift for a loved one or colleague. Every box contains a combination of products from social enterprises as well as independent businesses. I am a big believer that collaboration is king as it leaves opportunity for the businesses I work with to potentially reach new audiences and (hopefully) raise further awareness of the brilliant products and businesses we have to offer here in N. Ireland. #communityovercompetition.

 

Why did I start Storybox?

I’ve always had a passion for businesses that operate in a sustainable way or that are driven by a specific social, humanitarian or environmental purpose to make the world we live in a better place. I am also an advocate for supporting local independent businesses because of the creativity, diversity, and their sense of closeness to the community. 

In fact, we conducted some research at the end of 2020 to find out some of the pain points around shoppers supporting local and social. In a small local survey with 100 participants, 80% said they tried to support local when purchasing goods however, 60% of participants said they found it more difficult to shop and find local goods than in comparison to finding well-known global brands. Some other key findings emphasised that it was not as convenient to purchase locally because of have having to go to many different shops as well as not being fully aware of the local and social brands available within NI (Shopping Local Survey 2020, Rachel McIlgorm). 

Therefore, I felt there was an opportunity to bring together and showcase social and local goods in gift boxes in the hope that it would encourage people to #BuySocial and #BuyLocal and use their purchasing power for good.  

Our objectives

  • Provide #giftswithpurpose that support social and local businesses.
  • Raise awareness of social enterprise and local independent businesses in N. Ireland.
  • Create boxes that are themed around looking after yourself and those around you.
  • Minimalistic but beautiful packaging to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Hopes for the future

We would like to operate sustainably in a way that thinks of and gives back to the community. Our ambition is to eventually partner with a local mental health charity to be able to donate proceeds (outside of the cost of running the business) to support them in their much needed cause of providing mental health support. With this, we would like to share stories about people who have overcome mental health issues and talk about how they maintain and look after their mental wellbeing on a daily basis -  all in the hope of trying to reduce the stigma around talking about mental health.

What’s next?

As of recently, Storybox is now officially registered as a Community Interest Company (C.I.C.) which means we are committed to fulfilling our social impact objectives listed above and will report on our progression in the coming months. In the meantime, we are very excited to launch three more brand new boxes over the next couple of months along with new collaborations and great stories to share. First of those new boxes dropping next week!

Stay tuned and watch this space! 😊

Rachel