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The Because Box is a biannual subscription box that contains 5+ social impact products developed by entrepreneurs who have completed the Because Accelerator. This program is for companies that already have a manufactured product that will improve lives and create local jobs, providing them with coaching, training, networking, and funding to broaden their scope. Subscribers to The Because Box have the opportunity to engage with alumni of the program through both purchasing products and providing feedback to aid product research and development.
The Cost: $100 per bi-annual box. US shipping calculated based on weight.
This is a review of the Fall 2022 Because Box. Updated 1/11/23 to correct previously unmarked choice items.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
What's Inside The Because Box?
A great subscription always starts with an appealing box. That little ping of dopamine I get when I see a package on your doorstep is all the brighter with a cool box. Check! The contents of the box are packaged tightly, with just a simple piece of corrugated paper for protection.
Here's a small glimpse into the information booklet provided, which is practically like a zine of ethical small businesses. There's info about each product, its country of origin, its founder, and even a founder quote. If you need a feel-good read about the happenings of the world, this info booklet has you covered. Note: some of the items pictured here are subscriber choice items. Not all items pictured are included in every box.
What's Inside The Because Box
SoaPen — Estimated Value $5.99; Buy a 3-pack for $17.99
The first item listed is this soap pen, or SoaPen. It's a soap-filled paint pen of sorts that kids can use to draw all over their hands, and the 20-40 seconds it takes them to wash off the color will ensure they're washing their hands for long enough to germs to greatly reduce the spread of infectious illnesses. The red color I received has a faint sweet smell and felt soothing to run its rollerball over my palm. When I rubbed my hands together underwater, it didn't get as sudsy as some soap does, but it was clearly soap. It took a good 40 seconds to clean my hand off, and even then there was a faint trace of the red coloring, but what kid isn't marked up with remnants of art projects anyway? I like this concept, and my four-year-old daughter had fun with it too. The tricky part was to talk her out of using the entire bottle in one fell swoop.
Green Joy Grass Straws, 100 count — Retail Value $12
There was a time when I admittedly wondered why there were so many options for eco-friendly straws out there—can't we just avoid straws altogether? Then I had kids. They aren't just fun, they're legitimately useful. Actually before the kids even officially came into the picture, I think a straw is prominently to thank for my remaining hydrated while giving birth! Anyway, these plant-based straws are made from Lepironia grass, making it 100% natural and compostable. When my daughter first plopped one into her water glass, she said "mmm, smells like tea!" They do have a faint earthy scent, but no flavor came through the straws for us. They don't flex at all, and if you bend them, they'll split and be unusable, but it's wonderful to know that a cracked doesn't mean plastic waste with these.
Two Better Phone Stand
Note: Subscribers will have the choice between this phone stand or the notebook shown below.
How neat is the design on this phone stand? It's made in Lebanon from a new, sustainable, 100% recycled plastic material and formed into an innovative shape to prop your phone up. I have already used it to follow recipes while making dinner, it's a much better experience than leaning over the counter to check what's next on the screen. They also make coasters and keychains, but their ultimate goal is to offer their products to interior designers, architects and artists. I'm so reassured knowing there are good folks out there dedicating their life's work to combatting the plastic waste crisis. Image via @twobetter.lb on Instagram.
SootheEarth Banana Paper Notebook
Note: Subscribers will have the choice between this notebook or the previous phone stand.
Okay, the marbled design and texture on the hard covers of this notebook is utterly mesmerizing. The pages are satisfyingly thick and sturdy—if anyone else out there has ever done a "homemade paper" experiment, this is how you imagine your paper turning out in the perfect world...but in reality it's too pulpy and falls apart. My eyes are in the shape of stars seeing and feeling this artistry in person. But even better yet is how this India-based company is fighting to end deforestation by offering banana paper products that are tree-free and chemical-free. What an awesome effort, and a well-made product. I'm a bit of a notebook hoarder, waiting for the perfect occasion to write in each one, and I can't wait to see what will fill the pages of this special one.
This slip gives a little more detail on the process of crafting these notebooks!
reCharkha Woven Fanny Pack — Retail Value approx. $14.49
Note: Subscribers will have the choice between a fanny pack or tote bag.
Here's another company working to resolve plastic waste, and the air pollution that comes from countries that are put in a position to have to burn it. reCharka employs rural and tribal women and youth in India to upcycle textiles using a traditional handloom. And using those materials, they make awesome totes, bags, slings, and fanny packs like this one! I love that this pouch is lined and has a zipper inner pocket. The finish is shiny, and there are even metallic threads in there—it isn't my usual style, but if you can't have a little fun with a fanny pack, when can you? I can see myself having fun with this at my city's arts festival this summer, and beyond.
This info card tells me about one of the company's makers, and even has a handwritten indication of how many plastic bags were rescued from the landfill, and how many days of work this product gave someone.
This is how the kids wear fanny packs these days, yeah? I will likely wear it around my waist like a nerd in reality. I love how my yellow shirt brings out some golden tones in the design!
Clay Cosmo Detox Facial Mask
Note: Subscribers will have the choice between this clay mask and the following beaded earrings.
This skincare brand promotes and advocates for the self-reliance of refugee women through education and employment. I'm fully for it, of course. The company is based in Uganda, and naturally mineral-rich clay is at the core of their offerings. Using the wooden spoon provided, you scoop some dried clay out, mix it with water in your hand, apply, and let it dry. When you wash the mask off you'll be left with a gentle cleanse that soothes oily skin. It's a classic clay mask, but it does its job beautifully.
Whamboy Designs Earrings
Note: Subscribers will have the choice between these beaded earrings and the previously pictured clay mask.
There's one woman at the heart of this Kenyan jewelry brand. She's a self-taught beader and artisan who designs and creates the seed bead earrings, bracelets, and keychains in her shop. These earrings were made with locally sourced materials and everything she creates is small batch. I'm a gold jewelry wearer, so I appreciate the gold write that was used in this pair, but I also enjoy the combination of metallic tones that are paired together.
I own a collection of handmade seed bead earrings, but none are quite as elevated as these are. This design strikes me as something that makes seed beading accessible to people with all sorts of styles.
Value - Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $100 per box, twice per year. US shipping calculated based on weight.
Exploring The Because Box was such an uplifting experience. Many of the items I pulled out of this box were unlike any I've ever received, and every one of them has an encouraging story of humans working for the betterment of the planet and the people on it. How can you go wrong? Everything in here is quality, and I'd be just as thrilled to gift it all as I would to keep and use it. Since prices weren't available for all the items, I wasn't able to calculate a total value, however many of these things aren't available for purchase in the US, so the unique opportunity to get our hands on them is worth so much more than any price tag anyway. However, to give a sense of value, there were 5* items in this $100 (+shipping) box, which breaks down to $20 per item. If I imagine myself walking through a market and picking these items up for purchase, I can see myself paying that amount or more for most of these items. And again, knowing they have a positive social impact behind them only adds to the value.
If you're someone who loves handmade goods, supporting artisans, and receiving really unique items to keep and gift, I think you'll enjoy The Because Box very much.
*Note that I have 7 items shown in some of my photographs, to represent all of the items available for subscribers to choose from.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes! As of publication, this Fall 2022 box is still available, or you can choose the Spring 2022 box.
What do you think of The Because Box's offerings? Click below to write a review!
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