Today we’d like to introduce you to Meredith Harper Speer.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Meredith. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Growing up, I knew two things. First, I adored reading. I would max out my library checkouts every two weeks, stay up late finishing chapters, and was constantly carrying books everywhere I went. Second, I wanted to run by own business. I came from a long line of entrepreneurs and knew that I wanted to follow that tradition. I had a hunger to create something from the ground up, to be a leader, and to design my own work.
Armed with a degree in Business Management from Texas A&M, I launched my first company, a successful floral design studio, right after college. After five years in the wedding industry and having a baby, I was ready for a new project. Throughout the years, I was constantly answering the question, “What should I read next?” I maintained a voracious reading habit through school, running a business, and even early motherhood. One afternoon, my sister casually mentioned that I should just tell people what to read for a living. That evening, I had a business plan outlined and began testing if I could make it work.
The idea of Foxed was born out of the intersection of personalization and reading. It’s been compared to StitchFix for books which I think is a fantastic description. I wanted to create something that allowed people to read what they truly loved, not just what the bestseller list was telling them to read. After a fully-funded Kickstarter in November 2018, Foxed launched to the public in February 2019. A little over a year later, Foxed is sending books to over 40 states, constantly having to restock boxes, and growing at an incredible rate.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The two biggest struggles in running Foxed have been technology and time. As a start-up, I am marrying the technology of reader profiles and book tracking with the tangible act of reading. It is a wonderfully cool collaboration but figuring out what types of technology I needed was a major challenge.
The other biggest struggle has been time. Foxed was launched right after my daughter turned one. I have built this company in the fringe hours- nap times, early mornings, late nights. It is so different from my previous company, where I was able to work uninterrupted during the day. It has been hard but incredibly rewarding to both stay at home and runs a business!
Please tell us about Foxed.
The way Foxed works is pretty simple. Customers fill out a reader profile and tell us about their reading lives (favorite genres, types of characters, etc). We send them an email with a few titles we think they will love. Customers can confirm or decline books to help us ensure we aren’t sending something they have previously read. Once we get the green light, we mail books to their doorstep that are theirs to keep and add to their shelves!
Foxed offers monthly or quarterly subscriptions so you can get books delivered based on how often you read. We also have one-time boxes and have seasonal boxes as well. During fall we had a Sweater Weather subscription where we sent themed novels each month of the season, we had t-shirts, totes, and mugs available for Christmas gifts, and during COVID-19 we have been sending grab-bags with two surprise titles and giving part of the proceeds to One World Health. Foxed is really a fresh approach to reading that helps engage even unlikely readers. By having a few different ways people can receive books, we’ve been able to connect with even more customers!
The personalized aspect of Foxed is definitely the key defining feature, but there are a few other things that set us apart. Hand-written notes are in every box to add to the magic of getting mail. Each note tells the customer why we picked the books and helps make them feel special. We send amazing quality used books to keep costs accessible and to reduce waste. Our customers absolutely love this part of Foxed. We are also a woman-run start-up that is employing other women! My goal is that Foxed’s culture would be one that creates flexible jobs for women. The vision for the future impacts every decision I make for the business and I think it helps make Foxed different.
What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
My biggest advice for women who are starting out is to ask questions. I think it is natural to ask other entrepreneurs how they are running their business, what systems they use, and a whole host of other things. However, I think we miss the mark by relying mostly on information from other people. It may seem simple, but go to a store or your favorite website and think through how they actually make a profit. Ask yourself who their ideal client is and how they find her. Ask yourself questions about your business plan- is it viable? Is it profitable? Ask your friends and family to test it out then ask for their feedback. I tested Foxed for six months with increasingly complex rounds of customers and feedback before I ever launched a Kickstarter. Once you launch, keep asking questions. Is this the best way to do this? What is my marketing saying? Where am I weakest and how can I grow? Searching for answers is the absolute best thing you can do in any project, so don’t be afraid to constantly ask questions.
- Foxed book boxes and subscriptions start at $32 and all of our prices include shipping!
- Website: www.thefoxedbox.com
- Phone: 9794505028
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefoxedbox
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefoxedbox
Madeline Harper Photography