Lost Crates is a monthly stationery subscription service. As with Rad and Hungry, you sign up, pay a monthly fee, and get a box of surprise goodies every month. But while Rad and Hungry offers a selection from a different country each month, Lost Crates aims to give each subscriber a personalized, “curated” selection.
When you sign up, you take a quiz: it asks you your birth year and gender, and then asks you to pick an image that corresponds to your answer to various questions:
I guess you could argue that the quiz might not be that informative and doesn’t show a ton of diversity– the “what would you wear” choices in particular looked to me like “Do you shop at Banana Republic, Banana Republic, Banana Republic or Banana Republic?” But other questions might show more insight into your design preferences, and the Lost Crates folks use that information to select your stationery items.
Lost Crates invited me to review their service for free, so I signed up and answered the quiz as truthfully as I could. Here’s the result:
Your “crate” is a nice sturdy box. When you open it, there’s a greeting on the inside of the lid, and your products are nicely wrapped and cushioned in shredded paper. (Not styrofoam peanuts, thank goodness!) They tuck in a card that tells you what’s included.
I was very pleased with my selection. I prefer blank and squared notebooks to lined ones, and that’s what I got. I’m not a huge fan of Field Notes, but only because I find their branding a bit much. And I would not buy the pens or the Leisure Log for myself, but I did like them. (The flowered pen is a rollerball that writes quite nicely, the cardboard ones are regular ballpoints, which I don’t love, but the highlighter end is great.) There really wasn’t anything in the crate that made me say “ugh, that’s not me at all!”
Of course, given that I write this blog where I very publicly describe all my quirky notebook preferences, it’s not exactly a fair test of their ability to match products to people. I was tempted to sign up again under a friend’s name and answer all the questions differently to see what I’d get, but I didn’t feel like spending $38! That is the monthly cost, which seemed a bit steep to me– you have to be a pretty committed stationery freak to want to spend that much every single month on products you may or may not like. There is no “satisfaction guaranteed” promise– if you don’t like your stuff, you are asked to send them feedback and consider retaking the quiz. They don’t accept returns, but you can cancel any time (it has to be by the first of the month to avoid being billed for that month’s crate).
But on the flip side, $38 probably was a good price for what I received. The Moleskine lists for $17.95, the Leisure Notebook has a list price of $12.24 according to Amazon, who sell it marked down to $9.04. A Field Notes 3-pack is $9.95. So right there you have about $40 worth of stuff without counting the pens and pencil box. And the shipping is included, within the US.
I might not be the best target customer for this service– though I am definitely a stationery addict, I have pretty particular tastes. I also live in New York City, where I have access to stores with a huge selection of stationery that I can look at and touch before buying it. (And I’m also a reviewer who needs to keep some space free for samples that arrive frequently!) But if you are a stationery addict who likes surprises, and if your local shopping options don’t offer a lot of excitement, it’s certainly worth a try. I’d love to hear from others who have received a crate or two– did the quiz accurately reflect your tastes? (And what kind of stationery do you get if you say you watch Jersey Shore?!)
I’m going to give away some of these goodies to a randomly selected reader. You can enter in any or all of these ways:
On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the words “Lost Crates” on my wall.
On your blog, post something containing the words “Lost Crates” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday August 26 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!