My Subscription Life is a series designed to help you get to know the MSA team a little bit better. Each profile introduces a different member of the team, showcases their favorite subscriptions, and explores how subscriptions impact their lives.
Today, we're going to meet Mary, MSA's resident fashionista. Since joining the team in June 2021, Mary has dazzled us with What I'm Wearing This Week, a series where she takes readers along on a very fun ride through her life, wardrobe, and clothing rentals. If you've ever considered signing up for Rent the Runway or Armoire, Mary's WIWTW reviews are a great way to get a feel for what these subscriptions are really like. She models the various garments she picks, provides styling tips, and isn't afraid to call out when something is a little too worn or if the sizing isn't quite right. Even if you're not fashion-curious, Mary's wit and charm make her reviews a pleasure to read. As you'll see in the interview below, she's quite the funny lady. (I almost spat out my coffee during the Columbia House story...) Now, without further ado, let's take a peek into Mary's subscription life!
My Subscription Life: Mary
Lindsey: Hi, Mary! Can you start by sharing a little bit about yourself?
Mary: I'll skip the fashion stuff since people already know about my love of rentals and designer resale. I was a sprinter for the University of Maryland, College Park until an early injury (and asthma) side-lined me and I became an athletic trainer for Maryland's football team. At the time, I really wanted to train the Baltimore Orioles (mainly because I wanted to date them), but I couldn't get past Organic Chemistry, so I dropped Kinesiology and switched to Government & Politics, which was the major chosen by many of the student athletes. For a hot minute, I thought about becoming a gym teacher, but following my parent's separation, I had a complete mental breakdown, quit my life and my boyfriend, and moved to NYC to chase my dreams of becoming a writer and working in the fashion industry. I settled into my first apartment on September 1, 2001. I was on my first run through Central Park when the WTC was hit, and I was listening to it on WPLJ on my Walkman.
I still love sprinting (it helps me clear my head and manage my intense anxiety without meds), but I'm constantly injured and it's sooo super frustrating. Nothing seems to heal anymore, and now my right Achilles is acting up again. Middle age isn't that much fun.
L: What does your average Saturday look like?
M: I don't really have an average Saturday anymore. Maybe brunch, maybe the gym, maybe visit my family or catch up with friends. Pre-COVID, I was a social butterfly in DC, but then everything fell apart, and I now take life day by day. I'm open to anything, but I really love to tour the local vineyards and breweries and eat my way through the DMV (DC, MD, VA).
L: Can you describe a memorable trip?
M: I used to work for a software company that had offices all over the world, but my boss was based in London. Pre-COVID, I used to book flights to visit her (I was going maybe 5-6 times per year) and stay an extra week or so to tour Europe and the UK. I'd leave the office around 4pm on Fridays and either head to the train station or the airport and catch a flight or train to amazing places like Bath, England, Portofino, Italy, Bruges, Belgium, and Monaco. Sometimes I'd meet friends or coworkers, and other times I'd go by myself. I strongly recommend traveling alone -- it's great to have the freedom and flexibility to do whatever you'd like without the opinions of everyone else. My favorite places? Zermatt, Bruges, Cape Town, and Edinburgh (underrated), but London is my absolute most favorite city in the world. I'd move there tomorrow if I could.
L: When and how did you first discover subscription boxes?
M: Oh wow, not sure if this counts but anyone remember Columbia House CD subscriptions? Since I was obsessed with fashion magazines, I used to tear the cards out of the magazines, fill them out and order my 12 "free" CDs for a penny! Of course, I couldn't pay for them, so I'd just ignore the mail and pretend they really were free. One day my parents got whacked with a massive bill for my Paula Abdul, Pearl Jam, and B-52s CDs and forbid me from ever ordering again. Well, I then switched my subscription to BMG Music, changed my name, and used a friend's address and had them sent there instead. Eventually they also caught up with me, and I think my dad threatened to sell me to the local church to pay the bills.
L: What are your current subscriptions?
M: Rent the Runway, Armoire, Rocksbox, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and I subscribed to Birchbox as a gift for my stepmom.
L: Which is your favorite subscription?
M: Obviously RTR because they have the best selection, and I love to play dress up!
L: If you could only subscribe to one box or service, which would it be?
M: Hmm, I'm really interested in trying Vivrelle which rents out designer handbags and accessories but haven't joined yet, but I'd still say RTR.
L: Describe your perfect subscription.
M: A combo of Vivrelle and RTR which I'm sure is already in the works.
L: Do you have a favorite subscription category?
M: Fashion, fashion, fashion. I've subscribed to many others and after a while I end up with a lot of extra stuff that I never use and eventually throw away. I was a beauty editor a long time ago and I used to bring home boxes of beauty products for myself and my roommate. We'd never even use half of it.
L: What are your primary reasons for subscribing? What keeps you coming back?
M: I feel like I'm saving money with RTR and get to inject a little fun, frill, and fashion into my life without spending a lot of money. I used to buy new items every week or so off designer resale sites like The Real Real when I'd get bored of the items in my closet, but now I don't even need to commit, and I don't have time to get bored with the items on rotation.
L: Which subscription item(s) that you’ve received in the past is the most memorable? Why did it make such an impact on you?
M: There are SO MANY items I've received from RTR that I'd love to keep, but the prices can be a bit too steep. I'm addicted to the new-to-you feeling I get when I step out in something fabulous. When the world seems so cold and hopeless, it gives me a little hope and brings joy to my life.
L: If someone offered you the opportunity to curate your own subscription box, what would you send out to your subscribers?
M: I would launch a designer bags, shoes, and accessories rental company with the option to buy. I wouldn't include clothing or jewelry.
As for Mr. Hoppy Go Lightly, he wants me to create a bunny rabbit box, but he needs to work for it.
Thanks so much, Mary!
Questions for Mary? Jump into the comments section below!