Paper Source Introduces Subscription Box, Virtual Craft Classes

Retail Dive

Paper Source on Friday debuted virtual learning courses and subscription box services

*Portfolio company of TriArtisan Capital Partners, the predecessor to TriArtisan that was founded by Rohit Manocha and Gerald Cromack in 2002

Dive Brief:
Paper Source on Friday debuted virtual learning courses and subscription box services, according to a company press release.

As part of its creative learning curriculum, the craft and gift retailer will now offer virtual workshops for children and adults via Zoom. Its webinars will take place twice per week, allow customers to interact with instructors remotely and feature a variety of virtual workshops for adults ranging from watercolor to paper crafting, the company said.

The retailer will also offer a monthly subscription program, Kids Club, for children ages eight and under or nine and up, which feature instructional videos and supplies for craft projects designed for each age group. The Kids Club subscribers will also receive creative challenges linked to the included tools, per the company statement.

Dive Insight:
Paper Source said that it initially saw the benefits of providing at-home creativity and learning through its Instagram Live Craft Happy Hours, a class led by DIY and Experience Manager Rebecca Burrick. The company joins other brands and retailers like David's Bridal, Lowe's, Jared, Suitsupply and Kendra Scott in offering virtual services for consumers.

In March, as shelter in place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic started to roll out, Paper Source acquired 30 stores from Papyrus soon after its former rival filed for bankruptcy, expanding its footprint by 22%. Now, as nonessential brick-and-mortar stores continue to face challenges, the retailer is following in the footsteps of other companies that are looking for ways to reach consumers remotely.

"Watching the way participants learn, create and put their own touches on DIY projects has been inspiring and seeing how participants engage with each other as a community is a testament to the success of the program," Paper Source CEO Winnie Park said in a statement.

Time will tell if the subscription program successfully attracts customers during the coronavirus pandemic, even as the country's unemployment rate remains high. However, October research from ratings and reviews platform Clutch found that 54% of online shoppers said they used a subscription service, and some have seen a boost as consumers stay home instead of going out to stores.