Western Herald – Former college students reinvent care packages with ‘Box-O-Love’

Former college students reinvent care packages with ‘Box-O-Love’

By Nora Strehl
Western Herald

It’s the same old let down: opening the mailbox only to find bills and junk mail inside.
“I get so sad when I go to the mailbox and come up empty-handed,” said Emily Kelley, a junior at Western Michigan University.  “My parents work a lot so there isn’t much time for them to prepare and mail care packages.”

But care packaging doesn’t necessarily have to be hassle, thanks to Box-O-Box.
The theme-based care packages are marketed for college students who are either away at school for the first time, incredibly homesick or just in need of a little pick-me-up from someone they love.

Box-O-Box was introduced in December 2006 by former college students who experienced firsthand the effects of receiving a disappointing care package.
The students decided to create their own practical, healthy, and entertaining boxes for their own enjoyment.  The rest is, as they say, history.

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, students looking to throw something together in the nick of time ,are still in luck.

The Box-O-Box company has a fitting product for Valentine’s Day called the “Box-O-Love.”

“We developed “Box-O-Love” so students would know their parents and friends are thinking about them no matter how far away they are from home,” said president and co-founder Michael Hauke.

With the Box-O-Love, recipients get a make-your-own Valentine kit, several classic candies (including the famous Necco Sweethearts), a how-to guide on wooing that special someone and much more.

New boxes are created regularly and over 26 distinct styles of boxes are released each year.  Some are holiday-related, while others are simple ways for someone to show that they care.

All packages are completely unique and personalized, with contents ranging from popcorn and Raisinets in “The Movie Night Box,” to a real pumpkin in the “Box-O-Ween”.

“We make all of our own items,” Hauke said. “If you get our Retro Box, everything inside of it was made ourselves, right down to the Rubix Cube.”

The contents of each care package were not selected at random; they were determined by a study group of college students and their parents.

“We have parent and student volunteers that come in to test the boxes,” Hauke said.  “They determine whether or not the things in the boxes are appropriate and fun, or just boring and unnecessary.  They look for taste-ability and whether or not it will be apartment or dorm friendly.”

The boxes range in price from $30 to $60, with shipping costs determined by the weight of the package, the service being used and the location of the recipient.

These boxes can be ordered individually, or with the unique Box-O-Mester system.  You simply choose a box and select several delivery dates then off they go, shipped over the course of the semester.
“We’ll get endless requests from students asking us to call their parents and tell them to send one,” Hauke said. “Then the parents start calling, saying, ‘Oh my gosh! My kid just thinks I am the coolest!’”

University of Massachusetts student Adrienne Stephens has been getting these boxes since her freshman year and they never get old.

“The beginning of my freshman year, my parents would just always throw stuff in a box, which I appreciated, they wanted to make my year easier,” Stephens said. “One day my mom sent me a Box-O-Box, I was so surprised, and it was totally different from anything I had ever gotten.”

Stephens’ parents now buy her two to three boxes a semester, as a reminder that they are always thinking about her.

“Now that I am a senior, I have received so many of these Box-O-Boxes, it is much easier on my parents and a much better gift for me,” Stephens said.

To find out more, go to www.boxobox.com, or call (800) 730-0223.

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