Building A Subscription Box For Tools And Construction Supplies

Consumers are taking home improvement projects into their own hands, and they are tackling construction work instead of turning to others for help. While half of consumers who needed a home improvement project brought on a professional to do the work, one estimate found that 47 percent of them finished the project on their own. Millennials are also more likely to go the do-it-yourself (DIY) route than consumers from other age groups. Almost three quarters — or 73 percent — of millennials are doing DIY home improvement. Only just under three in 10 — or 27 percent — are bringing professionals on for the job.

To serve these DIY consumers, as well as those who simply enjoy the time-honored hobbies of woodworking or building, eCommerce innovators are curating a selection of tools as well as supplies to help them with their projects. The Tool Chest, in one case, is, at its, core, a “monthly subscription box,” Founder Cody Slingerland told PYMNTS in an interview. Slingerland, who is interested in woodworking and building, started the company after looking at the subscription box market and noticing that an offering like The Tool Chest did not exist.

And he thought there would be a fit for a subscription box designed for DIYers, builders and woodworkers that would allow them to replenish their supplies and receive new tools. He worked over the past summer on a design for the box and launched it last fall. Today, in its current form, the subscription box provide a mix of supplies and tools for “DIYers, woodworkers and builders,” Slingerland said.  As far as supplies, the company might include products like wood glue and sandpaper — items that, say, consumers might run out of after working on their projects.

The Boxes

The boxes contain a mix of different items — perishable supplies, safety items and different tools that Slingerland said “builders can use.” For safety items, the box contains products such as disposable gloves or earplugs. And, when it comes to tools, the boxes have items like measuring tape, utility knives, screwdrivers and drill bits. Products in the box come from brands such as Milwaukee, Ryobi and Gorilla Glue as well as Varathane, Watco, Everbilt and 3M.

Slingerland said the box aims to include quality brands and quality items — products that, in other words, will be of value and will stand the test of time. The appeal of the box is partly convenience — consumers might go through the perishable supplies with different projects and they may, say, have to run out to a brick-and-mortar store to restock their toolkits. Slingerland also says it’s easier to budget a set amount of money each month with the box.

Consumers are also receiving new tools every month, so they are adding to their supply or their “collection of tools,” Slingerland said. The company’s target market, Slingerland said, is anyone who is interested in DIY and building as well as woodworkers, builders and construction workers. Some customers buy the box for a family member or a friend. Other consumers, however, purchase it as a subscription for themselves. The typical customer ranges in demographics, but the company’s market is typically consumers between 25 and 35 years old.

Marketing And eCommerce

To promote the box on launch, the company conducted a giveaway that it promoted on Instagram and email marketing. Since its rollout, it has been engaging in social media marketing. It will also likely focus on influencer marketing — working with, say, Instagram users who review the boxes and post on the platform to share with their followers. And, once consumers find out about The Tool Chest, they have two different channels through which they can purchase the boxes.

They can buy The Tool Chest boxes by visiting the company’s own eCommerce website or through the Cratejoy platform. The latter, Slingerland said, is another marketing opportunity for the company and is “definitely good exposure and a good marketplace for finding new customers.” The company’s website, for its part, is essentially built through the Cratejoy platform. For payments, the company accepts credit cards or debit cards through its website, and it uses Stripe for processing. Consumers can also order the subscriptions as gifts as a one-time purchase or as a subscription.

The company’s offering comes as Slingerland notes that “subscription boxes have become super popular.” And he says that there isn’t another offering like his box, which is part of the reason why he decided to roll it out: There just isn’t another tool-oriented box for DIYers and woodworkers out there  the market, he says.

Currently, the company offers a mix of supplies, tools and perishable items, but it had thought about different types of subscription boxes. In that case, it would provide specific boxes for only supplies, only tools or only safety items as it aims to serve the DIY and builder community with subscriptions.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.