Gifts that keep giving: Subscription boxes are changing the way we shop

For those of us who like to try before we buy, surprise-filled subscription boxes are a genius idea

Jenny Hewett
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Subscription boxes are not a new concept, but they have changed the way many of us shop. For those of us who like to try before we buy, the idea is genius. Subscribers pay a fee for a monthly box delivery of samples and offers that align with the brand, whether it be men’s fashion or healthy snacks.

The theory is that the total value of items in the box far outweighs the subscription price. Since the beauty-themed Birchbox launched in the US in 2010, the trend has taken off worldwide, with boxes now spanning fashion, lifestyle, beauty, pets and even food. As with most things, the flow-on effect is being felt in Dubai, with newcomer Chic Living Kit, a lifestyle-focused subscription box, launching earlier this year. Here, we chat to the founder of Chic Living Kit, Nicola Monteath, and check out three subscription boxes worth your money.


How does Chic Living Kit work?

It’s a lifestyle subscription box specifically for women to find indulgent moments for themselves. Each month, women are sent a kit that includes items for them to cozy up with at home, desk essentials, edibles, beauty products and fine dining vouchers to head to the latest hotspots in town. We keep the value of each kit over Dhs300, and in turn, ladies get much more than the Dhs120 they pay for.

Why do you think subscription boxes make great gifts?

They offer great value for money, are on trend with what women want and showcase the latest offerings and experiences in the city. They’re the gift that keeps on giving.

What’s in this month’s box?

The December box is themed around relaxation and prepping for the festive season. The box includes a lotus mandala mat that doubles as a beach cover-up, a discount voucher from spa app Vaniday and a Helpling voucher to take the stress out of cleaning for your festive spread. The January box is all about new beginnings and wellbeing, and will focus on full-sized beauty products from international brands, so expect face masks and coffee scrubs.

How does Chic Living Kit differ from those already on the market in Dubai?

They’re carefully curated according to international and local trends, keeping the idea of unwinding and de-stressing in mind. Our focus is on modern women who manage work and home life balance successfully, but forget to find a moment for themselves. The Kit is all about reminding women to unwind and enjoy the finer things in life.

Why do you think subscription boxes are so popular?

It’s a great way to experience the latest products in the market.

How have subscription boxes changed the way we shop?

People no longer have time to hit the malls or hunt for the perfect gift. It’s all digital. We’ve reached an age where you can buy an item at the click of a button and have it delivered to yourself or the recipient. Gifting a subscription box allows the recipient to try something new.

What would you love to see in the box in future?

We’d love to tie up with international brands that are launching in the market and to give subscribers a teaser before products actually arrives on shelves. We’re also looking at tweaking our model slightly to suit customers’ needs.

How do women sign up?

All kits can be ordered via our website,, and you can choose between a one-month or three-month subscription box.

Three more to try...


The original Dubai beauty subscription box. Deliveries typically includes samples from top beauty brands including Clarins and TBC.


Offers a selection of healthy snacks, delivered to your door.

Mr. Draper

An online subscription styling service for men who hate shopping. Pay for what you like and send back what you don’t.




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