IN OCTOBER 2019, Aisling Finn took the entrepreneurial plunge when launching The Book Resort, a book subscription and gift box company which is based in Whitfield North, Butlerstown.
“Subscription boxes in Ireland are a relatively new concept,” Aisling told the Waterford News & Star, “but they’ve been in both the United States and the UK for quite some time”.
“Now I initially wanted to sign up to one of these services myself, but the shipping costs, if you were going to be subscribing on a regular basis, were very high. Now I’d worked in IT before making a move into E-commerce and I’d been looking to try and get something off the ground that wasn’t already on the domestic market and I wondered might there be anyone else that might be interested in and that’s how the idea originated. I’m just over 18 months in and it’s gone really well so far, which has been great.”
Every month, The Book Resort delivers a luxury box, beautifully presented with a brand-new book, a decadent bar of chocolate as well as an artisan surprise from a small Irish business direct to your door.
So how does it work? “You decide if you would like a subscription box or a one-time gift box,” Aisling explained.
“We ship our monthly subscription boxes on the first of every month (or the next working day) so subscribers should receive their box during the first week of the month in Ireland – and we can do same day delivery here in Waterford. And should you choose a one-off box, we ship one to two days after the date of order, unless you request a different delivery date, that is, which can be arranged by contacting us.”
Business so far, according to Aisling, has been happily brisk. “We were quite busy from the very start – social media gave us a good bump to begin with – but then Covid hit and that really helped to accelerate things for us. Quite a lot of customers were looking for one-off boxes as well as subscriptions; they were looking for gifts for their mother, their daughter, sisters and their friends, be it for birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day, get well soon or ‘thinking of you’ gifts so we pivoted our model and expanded our range of once-off boxes, including kids’ boxes and ‘create your own’ boxes. At the moment, we have about 90 products available, including foot scrubs, face creams, bath salts, body lotions, socks, chocolate, biscuits, face masks and so much more.”
Aisling continued: “We also renovated our premises in Butlerstown (a former garage) and took on more staff, which is brilliant (with six, including Aisling, currently on the books) and we’re hoping to expand our scope by going into the North American market. We’ve teamed up with DHL who can get our boxes from here to there in just a couple of days. I think we’ve now got an Irish product range which will be of interest to American customers – everything in our boxes is Irish and from Irish suppliers – the boxes and packaging itself is Irish too and we feel a lot of potential customers abroad will warm to such a distinctively Irish offering. And depending on how successful this proves; we plan to expand again in due course and take on more staff. We’re starting this line of business now in the hope of building it up over the course of the year as we do expect things to get busier in the latter half of 2021. It’s a very exciting time for us.”
With almost 1,000 monthly subscribers in Ireland in addition to the healthy trade in once-off boxes on a daily basis, The Book Resort represents a true Butlerstown success story, one of several the parish can proudly point to of late.
“We’d love to expand our customer base,” said Aisling, “and get more of these Irish-made books and luxury products into Irish and international homes. And to be honest with you, the past 18 months have been like a dream. I couldn’t have wished for things to have gone any better; I’m just so, so happy. It’s like the nicest job in the world – and to do it all from home here in Waterford is something I’m incredibly proud of.”
For further information, including its Monthly Book Club, visit www.thebookresort.ie or call (051) 399498