My Subscription Life is a brand new series that explores the ways subscriptions touch our lives. Have a story of your own to share? Details for how to get in touch are located at the bottom of the page.
Hi, all. Lindsey here. I first met subscription boxes back in 2014, and I liked them right away. (I mean, what’s not to like? You get goodies every month, often at a discount. It’s a shopaholic’s dream come true!) What I didn’t expect was the feeling of joy and utter delight certain subscriptions could deliver along with their curated selection of products. But I felt it during my first ever unboxing, and I understood immediately that subscriptions have a special brand of magic.
I found MSA soon thereafter, and almost immediately the site became a part of my daily routine. Sure- I got reviews, deals, and news, but there was also a feeling that I’d found my tribe. I enjoyed connecting with all of you, a community of like-minded people who understood what all the fuss was about. Together, we’ve nibbled our nails in anticipation of spoilers, wailed when we skipped a month that ended up being epic, voiced our frustration when a beloved box shuttered, and gotten to know each other a little bit along the way. We have a lot in common. (We’re all here because we love subscriptions, after all.) But we each have our own stories, too.
I want to tell those stories. I want to know which subscription first hooked you, which box sparks your joy, which one has genuinely changed your life for the better.
This is the first profile in what I hope will be a long-running series, and I’ve asked someone special to help me launch it. You all haven’t had the chance to get to know her much yet, but she’s an incredible woman and one of the biggest subscription addicts I know: My Subscription Addiction’s CEO, Simran Dua.
I invited Simran to sit down with me to talk about the ways subscriptions have impacted her life. We chatted about her favorite boxes and services, the products she can’t live without, and how her view of subscriptions has changed since stepping in to lead the team at MSA. We’re both very excited to share a glimpse into:
My Subscription Life: Simran
Lindsey: Simran, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with me. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about your very first subscription! What was it, and what was the experience like for you?
Simran: I first discovered subscriptions with a group of fellow bridesmaids. We were frantically searching for a last minute bridal shower gift. We were looking for something that felt like a fit from the group and yet made sense given we all lived in different places. We came across a recent Ipsy review on MSA and decided the subscription would be a fun way for all of us to play with makeup styles leading up to our bride’s big day. We gifted it to the bride, and then we all signed up for it too. Soon enough, I found myself coming back to MSA when I wanted to check out rental clothing and meal kit reviews.
L: What are the subscriptions you’re getting now?
S: Can I make a confession? I am currently signed up for 14 subscriptions and counting. I probably have a subscription in most categories— beauty, lifestyle, food, clothing, streaming subscriptions. Plus, I'm constantly trying new ones! Let me give you a glimpse of what's in circulation right now.
For clothing, I use Rent the Runway and Armoire. Rent the Runway has been a game changer for me. I love that I get to regularly reinvent my look, and it puts an extra bounce in my step. It makes dressing up for work and nights out a lot of fun. When I'm dressing for the weekend, I rely on Armoire. They have a lot of classic looks that help replenish the casual side of my wardrobe.
There are so many great books out there, but I don’t always have as much time as I’d like to read, so I use Blinkist and Audible. Blinkist is like SparkNotes in audio format. It lets me listen to a short overview of books and podcasts, and I sometimes use it to help me decide if I want to read a whole book or not. They have a great selection of non-fiction and leadership titles. Audible is also great. I love a road trip with an audiobook, and I recently listened to Pachinko— great book!
I’m reasonably obsessed with healthy living, so I use a lot of subscriptions to help me stay on track. Headspace helps me make meditation a part of my routine, and I’m a fan of Peloton workouts. I didn’t buy a Peloton during the pandemic, but I did sign up for the app to help shake up my workout routine. I also use Chris Hemsworth’s Centr app, and I like that it has a mix of both fitness options and healthy recipes. Speaking of food, I subscribe to Daily Harvest. I love cooking, but I definitely hit a saturation point over the last year or so and wanted to take a break. I like that Daily Harvest’s meals are quick, easy, and healthy. Also, I know everyone raves about the ice cream, but my favorite dessert has to be their Cocoa Nib + Vanilla Bites.
Of course, there’s also FabFitFun. A friend once gifted me a subscription to FFF for my birthday, and I’ve never looked back.
Am I missing any? I probably am.
L: Wow! 14 subscriptions might be a new record!
S: My subscription budget is pretty large, but they actually save me money! Take streaming services for example. The average person spends $100/month on cable TV. With a subscription to 3 of the main platforms only (Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max), you end up paying around $30/month. That's an average savings of $70 per month or $840 in a year over cable. I subscribe to Disney+, which costs $79.99 for an annual membership, and Apple TV+, which is $50 annually, so I'm saving even more.
Can you tell I like to nerd out about saving money?
L: Which subscriptions are on your 'I want to try it' list?
S: I'm generally a big fan of clothing rental subscriptions. I love that they let me reinvent and play without spending a ton of money on pieces I might not wear again that take up space in my closet. I'm currently curious about Nuuly, and I could also see myself adding a jewelry rental subscription. I am also intrigued by ManiMe, which was featured a few months ago in Allure Beauty Box, and I think I might give that a try soon. My godmother always has fresh flowers in her house, and I've thought about subscribing to Farmgirl Flowers as a treat this year.
L: What is your favorite subscription? Can you share what you like about it?
S: It’s hard to pick a single favorite. Can I choose a category instead? *laughs* I think my favorite subscription category has to be clothing rental. I love trying out different brands without the commitment to buy, and rental services keep my wardrobe feeling fresh. I also like that they help me live more sustainably with less waste. There are nuances between the different services that make it hard to choose a favorite, but if I had to narrow it down to one, it would be Rent the Runway. There are a lot of exciting clothing rental subscriptions out there today, but Rent the Runway has been around the longest. They’ve had time to polish their service, and it shows. My favorite part of the subscription experience is the Rent the Runway app, how seamless it is to return, checkout, and filter by my size. I also love that it shows me real people modeling the clothing-- it is a community coming together to help each other feel confident in a new look.
I also like that I can break down exactly how much value it adds to my life. Did you know that the average American woman living in a large city spends $2,000 per year on buying clothing and $600 on dry cleaning? That's a total cost of $2,600. With Rent the Runway, I can get 7-8 items of clothing a month for around $125, which adds up to a yearly cost of $1,500. Compared to the average, my total savings in a year is $1,100.
L: Which brands or products have you discovered through subscriptions that you now can’t live without?
S: Pretty much anything Sunday Riley, thanks to the Allure Beauty Box. I've also added a chimichurri recipe from HelloFresh into my regular cooking rotation, and at least once a week I repeat a workout I discovered from the Centr App.
Groovebook was also a recent gem. I had a family wedding back in May, and it was really sentimental because the father of the bride was terminally ill. It was a beautiful day that meant a lot, and I wanted to tap back into my scrapbooking days and make an album for the bride and groom. I needed an easier way to get the photos out of my phone and turn them into a printed collection of memories, and Groovebook offered exactly what I was looking for.
L: What do you do with the items in subscription boxes that you can’t or won’t use?
S: I have a pretty big family so showing up with some goodies is always a crowd pleaser, especially with my nieces. I also love sending real mail, and am quick to slip a face mask into a care package I'm sending out. Last year I discovered the Swap site when I started working at MSA, and am now a huge fan. I love the personal touch folks add to their Swaps. If I have enough of a stash, my favorite place to donate is Dress for Success, which MSA works with, too. We have a closet at the photo studio where a lot of duplicate products and clothing items end up. Twice per year, we go through and donate those items.
L: Tell us more about your subscription life — what else should we know?
S: To me, subscriptions feel like someone is looking out for me to help make some aspect of my life easier or more playful. A meal kit lets me operate on autopilot on what to eat after a long day. A clothing rental subscription helps me play dress up for an event I'm looking forward to. A lifestyle box feels like a care package on some days. I've found digital subscriptions are timely for entertainment and really supportive for building healthy routines around things like fitness and meditation.
L: Since you stepped into the driver’s seat at MSA, has the way you view subscriptions changed in any way?
S: When I subscribed previously, I measured the value of a subscription based on how much time it saved me, money it saved me, or delight it added to my doorstep. Today all of those are still true, but I've gotten even more particular. Now I am quick to try subscriptions, but the biggest change is that I feel very picky about the customer experience because my bar is no longer just for myself. It’s for the community, too.
L: How does your love of subscriptions influence your vision for the future of MSA?
S: Subscriptions are designed to consistently make life better in some way. It’s why we keep subscribing… for the benefits they provide, the delight they add to our lives, the value they offer. I like to think of it like entering a long-term relationship with a brand. At MSA, our goal is to help our readers discover new and exciting products and services, to find the best subscription relationships that deliver the best version of their lives.
I’ve loved My Subscription Addiction ever since I first discovered it with my fellow bridesmaids for that wedding, and I want to help make it better. Let’s talk about some of the changes that have taken place so far and some new ones that are coming. I think the recent website redesign is something of an elephant in the room, so let's start there. I read through all the feedback. Your comments have been really helpful, and they’ve helped me to think through how we can continue to improve. I am listening; the entire MSA team is listening. This community is the heartbeat of MSA. It’s why we do what we do, and I am so grateful you all care enough to speak up and share how we can make things better.
Over the next month, we are working to bring back more reviews and will be improving upon the experience that exists today based on your feedback. Your votes in the "Should We Review" section on the homepage will guide which new subscriptions we cover, and we’re building new features that will make it easier to interact with the subscriptions you care about and with each other. During a recent reader interview, Sarah S. shared how she relies on the “Add to Wishlist” feature to send her notifications and emails about upcoming sales from the brands she follows. That delight when you catch a sale just in time— we want to deliver that delight throughout your experience on MSA today and every day.
Most of what I do is behind the scenes, but I want you to know that I’m here, and I’m all ears. I’m going to keep asking for your feedback, and I hope you’ll continue to share your hopes and visions for the future of MSA. My goal is to ensure this site is the most helpful and most enjoyable way to navigate this ever-growing subscription world.
I want to say a personal thank you to Simran for taking the time to sit down with me to talk about her subscription life.
Now, I want to hear from you. Is there a subscription that’s impacted your life in a meaningful way? Perhaps a beauty subscription that introduced you to a product you'll never give up? A meditation app that helped you stay sane during the pandemic? A pet box that brings joy to your furriest friend? Whether your story is light-hearted or serious, I'm all ears. The lines are open. I want to know all about your subscription life.
Have a story to share? Reach out with a brief overview, and I’ll be in touch: [email protected]