Gift boxes aren’t a new concept, but if you’re looking for something that includes items you’d actually want, look no further than BOXFOX. A startup based in El Segundo, California, it’s an online shop that allows you to personalize your gift with a selection of some of your favorite brands as well as a few that you might not have heard of. Having started BOXFOX out of their homes while still maintaining full-time jobs, the three co-founders — Chelsea Moore, Jennifer Olivero, and Sabena Suri — moved into their dream offices but had to maintain a shoe-string budget. We talked with co-founder and CEO Chelsea Moore to find out more about starting BOXFOX and setting up their offices.
Tell us about how you started BOXFOX – how did you come up with the concept?
Right out of college, a good friend of ours was hospitalized and we found ourselves unable to visit because of our own crazy work hours. What do you do when flowers don’t quite cut it and a situation calls for a gesture that’s purposeful, personal, and presentable? We wondered why it was so difficult to create a get-well care package complete with her favorite items, or the next level essentials someone in her situation really needed – cozy socks, a sleep mask, a notebook, tea, a mug and their favorite book. This clear need inspired the idea for BOXFOX, a platform that provides customers with the tools to build unique and personalized gifts from all the best brands in one place, and enables them to still “be there” for others when they can’t physically be there.
That’s so true, and seems like such a clear concept! What were your previous jobs and how did they get you to where you are now?
All three of us founders have backgrounds in marketing, from small-scale grassroots operations to large-scale agency clients, to sports. What this provided us from the get-go is an obsession with brand building, listening to customers, and knowing what it takes to really own your own voice. It’s those teachings, and an obsession with bettering ourselves across the board (finances, management, web design etc.) that enables us to grow BOXFOX day in and day out.
What was the moment where you felt that you had gotten over the first big hurdle with BOXFOX?
We started in our apartment in Venice, CA in 2014, and when we outgrew that, we moved both the business and ourselves into an apartment in El Segundo, CA in 2015. It was the following February, when we were about a year and a half old, that we were finally able to take the leap into a warehouse space and afford to separate our work and home lives. It completely invigorated our focus and our growing team’s work-life balance.
Having an office is definitely a change in dynamic. Where are your offices located? Did it take you a while to find the space?
Our headquarters is located in El Segundo, CA. We knew we wanted to be on the Westside, and it definitely took touring a few bad spaces to land on a good one but when we saw this one, it was the right place and the right space at the right time. We spent a few days doing whatever we could to make it ours.
What did your office look like before you moved in? Were there any cosmetic changes that you made, or was it move-in ready?
Our office was a bright, light, and airy warehouse with a lot of painted white walls. When we got around to it, we knew we wanted to make certain parts of it more finished, while maintaining the industrial-light core aesthetic that was already there. We’ve made a few cosmetic changes, like painting the entryway our signature BOXFOX blush and beautifying the bathrooms, but our biggest project to date was that we recently renovated our upstairs office loft.
How did you implement functionality into the space?
Jenni, our COO gets full credit for the functionality of our space as a whole. Both our corporate and online fulfillment teams entire success comes from her meticulous organization and workflow iterations. She is constantly accommodating our growth in new, inventive, and eco-friendly ways. When it came to designing our upstairs office space, I was tasked with accommodating our current team in a space that could fit all of our executive and sales employees in a productive, cohesive, and inspiring way. Since we had been using the space for a while already, I saw where functionality was key. Communal brainstorming spaces, fully-stocked and organized personal desk spaces, and an upstairs coffee and snack corner.
Since you had a small budget to complete this project – what were some inexpensive pieces that you included to help you achieve your ideal space?
Our office space is a large loft above our warehouse, so I wanted to complement that while creating a calm and productive space away from the hustle and bustle of our daily shipping operations. My approach in designing our space was to find a way to bring together the furniture, mementos, and keepsakes we had accumulated over 3.5 years and blend them with new inexpensive and beautiful pieces. The desks, chairs and floating shelves are IKEA, the main conference table, pink chair, and pink pouf are from Target’s Project 62 collection, the rugs were from Wayfair and the beautiful sage green chairs are from Article.
They all work so well together and look so sophisticated! Were there any splurge items that you invested in?
Nothing in the space was a particular splurge, but we did invest in some beautiful, quality plants from the local nursery.
Now that you have the office set-up, how do you see the space evolving?
As we hire this year, we’ll duplicate our current corridor desk set up to accommodate more employees. We’ve also found that having the option to remove yourself, work alone, and focus in a quiet space is really nice, so our next project will be creating a communal quiet space in an extra back room we have.
You can shop BOXFOX’s a-la-carte gift boxes here!