These days you can find a subscription box service for just about any interest, but what about Bakersfield? Now you can with BakoBox, a new monthly subscription of goods and services highlighting local creatives and businesses.
It was created by Bakersfield native Kami Paulsen, who was inspired by a fateful family road trip.
"My husband and I sold our home in Bakersfield and decided to travel for a couple of months in an RV," Paulsen said. "When we got back my husband got all these subscription boxes that were waiting for him. We thought wouldn't it be a great idea (to do one) to highlight local vendors?"
Paulsen had met many local "mompreneurs" hosting pop-ups in her home starting in 2016. She further deepened those connections in the local creative community by launching an Instagram TV channel BakoTalks interviewing local creators and vendors.
"I have a lot of friends who are creatives. Everything I'm wearing besides my jeans is from a local vendor. I thought, 'I wish I could find a way to be creative.'"
Inspired by their stories and passion to create, she decided to launch the local subscription service.
"BakoBox is a total side hustle for me," said Paulsen, who also works from home as a tech consultant for a Bay Area company. "This is my creative outlet. I've always been a crafter at heart. My nana taught me to sew. We've upcycled our furniture. But I've done nothing on a large scale to sell."
Now she's focused on curating boxes that highlight local products and services targeted to area residents.
Branding it "A Few of my Favorite Things," the inaugural BakoBox is just that: six of Paulsen's local top picks.
The box contains a hand-poured soy wax candle from The Amity Shoppe; a 13-ounce BAKO campfire mug by Kinley M. Designs; Smith McCain Huile & Butter body butter; a bag of Coffee Crafters small batch, full bean coffee; a gift certificate for Golden Girl Spray Tan; and a pair of handmade leather earrings by Lottie B.
"I love the coffee. I drink it. The woman who created the cup has been a friend of mine since grade school. The earrings, I have four or five pairs. Golden Girl Spray Tan, I use their services."
Boxes are $100, which Paulsen said doesn't really offer a discount on the items. Rather than being about snagging a cheaper deal, the box is designed more to expose people to new local businesses.
"Maybe you don't know where all the parties are going on, don't know where the pop-up shops are," she said. "I do the legwork for you, give you visibility to all the cool offerings in the community."
And, for the first box, Paulsen is offering 10 percent off with the code bakolaunch.
To start, Paulsen said she's aiming to sell 50 boxes but said her six December vendors would be able to accommodate 100 boxes with enough notice.
Orders must be made (or subscriptions confirmed) by the 30th of the month. Boxes will ship or be available for local pickup by the 14th of the following month.
To celebrate the launch of BakoBox, Paulsen is teaming with Tahlia Fischer of All Seated in a Barn for a launch party on Dec. 14. Taking place at the horse rescue nonprofit's new location, The Red Resort Barn, the afternoon will allow subscribers to pick up their boxes and for others to check out samples. There will also be music by Jake Neuman, and food and beverages from Coffee Crafters, San Rucci Winery, Crusader Brewing Co., Brazil Hot Dogs, Tacos by Hector.
Other local vendors will also participate including Blue Canyon Ceramics Co., Crafts Curiosities, Made By Crystal Lanae, Beautifood Official and Che Bello Designs, who will hand-stamp custom jewelry orders.
The event will also include a raffle, and a portion of the day's proceeds will go to support All Seated in a Barn.
Paulsen said she's got boxes planned through August, with a mix of products and services that would work well as gifts for others or for themselves. Most are geared toward women but she is planning one dubbed "The Dude" with men's products set to come out before Father's Day.
Although she's open to one day getting BakoBox out to a service like Cratejoy, which promotes subscription boxes on a national scale, she's thrilled to be supported in her hometown.
"I'm just excited that people are excited about it. Happy for the exposure so we can grow. There's a great amount of entrepreneurs (in the community). It's literally booming."