Discover, build, share. Nearly four years ago, Jenni Edwards founded IndySpectator as a guide for her fellow Indianapolitans, nudging them towards what's new, what's happening, and where to find it in the city. The project grew as she gathered friends, peers, and other Indy folks-in-the-know. Her idea was simple: send a succinct and well-curated email that encouraged subscribers to go out discover new ways to love Indy.
Now - years of discovering and sharing later - she's taken her ideas, packaged them in a box, and launched Citybox: a subscription that brings the city to your doorstep. From email inbox to a physical mailbox, Jenni's love for Indy is contagious and compelling - how could you not love this city? Last week, I sat down with her at PEARings to hear a bit more about this new endeavor (and to ask about what's in a Citybox).
As we sit by the Washington St window, enjoying Indy's most recent fro-yo establishment (check out We Are City's bit on the FroYo Economic Impact Index), Jenni starts by simply illustrating her discover-&-share vision: "Down any given street, you could find ______. We're here to help you navigate those streets, ensuring that you do find it." When it comes to navigating new finds in Indy, I've yet to meet someone as passionate and knowledgable as Jenni.
Quickly jumping from that initial anecdote, Jenni contrasts the abstract nature of her past work with the tangibility of Citybox. "I've never worked with a company that had an actual, physical product - I've always been involved with businesses that offer services, so the chance to give something concrete to customers is exciting." And with Jan Ranade's (her business partner & Citybox COO) depth of experience - from Nike to Harvard to Indy startup, Courseload - their idea is taking off fast.
Each month's box will include a variety of local products (though she's swift to eschew any obsession with locavore exclusivity) that can be consumed or used then and there. Subscriptions are $18.95 per month. In each box, there will be a "recipe card" that describes its contents - from a vendor's newest products to gift cards and more. Jenni is quick to add: "This is not a box of coupons. You don't have to spend beyond what you paid for a Citybox subscription." If there's ever a coupon in the box, it'll be as an addition to a product from that vendor.
As with all things that Jenni works on, she's never content to merely take an already existing model and apply it to Indy. Citybox pushes beyond the standard box models by including experiential "go & do" products (whether that's tickets to a show or something else that pulls you off your couch and into the city). Jenni describes it as a "geo-tagged lifestyle box." What box-boundaries will they push next? When it comes to scalability, there's nowhere Citybox can't go. When it comes to discovering Indy, check your doorstep before you head out.
The first Cityboxes - the July Box - are set to ship in late June. Subscribe today and you might find a golden ticket in yours...