HOME & GARDEN

This Mother's Day, think inside the (subscription) box

This Mother’s Day, if you’re not sure what to get the woman who has everything (i.e., with a great kid or significant other like yourself, what more could she want?) consider a gift that keeps on giving: subscription boxes.

Representing thousands of niche markets and product categories, subscription boxes and item-of-the-month-style clubs are the latest trend in e-commerce shopping and a cool way to discover new products.

Skeptical? Type a favorite hobby or interest into your browser bar, add the words “subscription box” and see what comes up.

Mind. Blown.

The concept is happiness-at-your-doorstep on a regular basis.

Amid a sea of tempting boxes and glossy websites, Liz Cadman, founder of the online review site My Subscription Addiction, offers this advice for determining which box is the right value for you — or in this case, mom:

Check online reviews and descriptions of items included within the service’s last three boxes and ask yourself if you (or mom) would be happy with those products.

For new services without a business track record, only sign up if they offer PayPal. “While the vast majority of boxes are legit … there are always a few bad apples,” said Cadman. The expert adds that PayPal also makes it easier to cancel a service if needed, and provides the added benefit of not giving credit card information to an unknown entity.

The value of subscription services is usually found in the experience or discovery of new products — not the items themselves. (Beauty products, for example, are often mini-sized.) “So if there is value in that for you then it’s a good box,” Cadman said.

Read the fine print carefully. “Sometimes consumers might be disappointed in what they see in the box, but the company did deliver on what they promised.”

The following are a few boxes with favorable reviews we wouldn’t mind getting ourselves. This Mother’s Day, consider thinking inside the box:

One smart cookie

(Milk Jar Cookies)

The Cookie of the Month Club from Los Angeles-based Milk Jar Cookies sends small-batch cookies straight to mom. Starting at $28, tax and shipping included in price. MilkJarCookies.com

Hot mama

(Anina von Haeften for Farm To People)

Does mom like to spice things up? The Hot Sauce Club from Farm to People selects American-made artisanal hot sauces with names like Weak Knees and Hazardous Hot Sauce to ship every month. Starting at $25. Shipping $2.99. FarmToPeople.com

Time out for mommy

(Fadil Berisha)

Martha Stewart Wine Co. offers an edited selection of six different wines (choose reds, whites or a mix) shipped three to four times per year. Starting at $11.66 per bottle. Free shipping. MarthaStewartWine.com

For the fashionista

(The Zoe Report)

Featuring curated finds from the trendy Hollywood team surrounding celebrity stylist and trendspotter Rachel Zoe, the Zoe Report Box of Style includes fashion and (full-size) beauty items delivered to mom’s door four times a year, $99 per quarter, or $349 annually. Free shipping within the U.S. BoxOfStyle.TheZoeReport.com

Tea party payback

(Marisa Vitale)

For exemplary attendance at all those pretend tea parties: monthly loose-leaf tea kits are designed to provide relaxation with a sense of discovery. Starting at $19. Shipping $5. DrinkTCo.com

Chocoholic tendencies

(Chococurb)

Kick cravings to the curb — specifically, Chococurb, monthly subscription boxes featuring an assortment of premium chocolate. Starting at $20. Shipping costs added during warm weather months (so your chocolates arrives intact). Chococurb.com

It girl

(Popsugar)

Popsugar’s monthly Must Have subscription box aims to introduce new full-sized beauty, fashion, fitness and home products designed to keep mom on-trend. Starting at $39.95. Free shipping. MustHave.Popsugar.com

Earth mother

(Plowbox)

PlowBox, a quarterly (read: seasonal) garden club delivers organic, non-GMO seeds, unique gifts and gardening tips specific to your growing region. Starting at $45. Free shipping. PlowBox.com

See mom go

(The RunnerBox)

The Runner Box arrives every other month and includes products designed to fuel an active lifestyle: think gels, chews, bars, snacks, personal care and running accessories. Starting at $20. Shipping starts at $6.95. TheRunnerBox.com

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Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome

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