Who doesn’t love getting a gift from someone because of a milestone, new endeavor, because someone was thinking of you, or just because? I know I do! This next small business was created by a woman who’s initial goal was to help small businesses and support front line workers through fundraising. Now, it’s a company that delivers special and joyful experiences to your doorstep! So, let’s meet the creative mastermind behind JoyBox USA and learn more about what fun and meaningful boxes she offers that you can share with your own friends and family!
Business Name: Joy Box USA
Owner: Audra Smith
Established Year: 2020
Location: Sayville, NY
Tell us about your business and the story behind its creation!
JoyBox was created in the middle of the pandemic of 2020. Early in the shelter in place I felt helpless. I own a television production company and we weren’t working, and I saw friends with small businesses suffering, and frontline workers suffering. I started a fundraiser to collect money to create comfort baskets filled with local goodies for frontline workers. The idea was, spend money at local businesses which were suffering and create a bit of joy for frontline workers who were risking everything to help us. This included nurses, doctors, grocery store employees, postal workers, UPS/Fed Ex workers, EMT’s, police officers and firemen. Anyone who had to face the public and was being worn down by the pandemic, I wanted to make a comfort basket for. This was called #SayvilleComfortBaskets. I thought I would raise maybe $1,000. Well, $20,000 later we created over 300 boxes for people and brought so many smiles and tears I felt selfish by all the joy it brought me.
From that fundraiser people started to reach out to me and say, “do you have a first baby box? Do you have a graduation box?” and I realized that people were interested in giftboxes being curated for them, so JoyBox was born!
My passion has ALWAYS been creating experiences, and gifts. I am always the head of the birthday committee, planning bachelorette parties, and for my living I create TV shows, so I love to create and curate the perfect experience and happy time for people.
I also realized that growing up my mother and grandmother always had a gift closet, and I would marvel at the beautiful rows of spoon rests from my Mom’s trip to Italy, or leather wallets, or lipstick holders from my Grandmother’s trip to Spain, just waiting for the perfect time to gift them.
I grew up seeing that you don’t need to wait for a birthday to give someone something thoughtful to let them know you are thinking of them, and have always been known for bring a fun trinket or present with me.
JoyBox is really the mix of my past family influence, and my present career in television curating experience. It brings me countless happiness and joy every time I pack a box and think about someone opening it.
What products and services do you offer? What makes them unique?
JoyBox is a curated gift experience. There are a TON of gift box companies, I follow them, marvel at their beautiful creations and support them! What JoyBox strives to bring that is DIFFERENT is an EXPERIENCE. Memories are made when we experience, when we touch, share and feel a gift. So, each JoyBox comes with an experience card that helps the recipient know what’s inside the box, and how to use it.
There are lots of beautiful gift boxes with items in the same color combinations, or shapes or sizes. JoyBoxes aren’t always the most Beautiful looking but they are always a full experience. I don’t put anything in a box together for the sake of it, everything is in its box for a reason, to compliment the other parts.
My favorite thing is to think about someone opening a JoyBox and sharing an experience with a friend or family member, or even having a special moment of reflection to themselves using everything included in their JoyBox.
What do you love most about running your own business and being a business owner?
My WHY is to bring JOY. It’s simple, but it’s bringing smiles, joy, experience, and happiness. In my other career making TV I know I generally bring happiness, but it’s a very slow process, and I rarely get to hear about if people have seen the shows, liked the shows or experienced them. Selfishly, with JoyBox, I make a box, send it, and within a couple days I see or hear about the joy it has brought. It’s an instant gratification and frankly, I feel selfish with the happiness it brings me!
What has been one of the most memorable experiences or opportunities that you’ve experienced since opening your business?
I think the most impactful gifting has been to recipients I know are down. Of course it’s fun creating a college toolkit, or a Girl’s Weekend basket….but when I know a “Hug in a Mug” or “Just Breathe” basket is going to someone who has lost a family member, had a bad week, or is sick, that is the most gratifying. We have all lost a loved one and felt so low, and so down, and so when I create these JoyBoxes I think about what would bring me some solace or a bit of happiness in a down time.
What advice would you give to aspiring business owners?
After a little less than a year of having JoyBox I think the biggest learning has been “be patient” I am used to be a hard worker and seeing my hard work pay off extremely quickly. With JoyBox it has been slowly growing and there are failures all the time. Sometimes I think of a box that I believe it BRILLIANT and ZERO sell hahaha. ZERO!
So, I try to be patient and have grace with myself. I am new at this, I am trying to predict what people want and need. I am trying to find new customers, and I am remembering that this is all good research. I hope to look back on this early time of JoyBox and laugh at the utter failures, however, I think there will always be “misses”.