Redefining Subscription Services: Andrew Apostola of Svbscription
Svbscription is a quarterly subscription service offering a carefully curated selection of pieces based on a revolving theme. The brand recently released its first offering which was based on the theme of travel, differentiating itself from other subscription services with its focus on high-quality, luxury pieces. At the helm of this new service is Andrew Apostola, the former head of digital publication Portable. We recently had the chance to talk with the NY-based entrepreneur about his latest endeavor.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Andrew Apostola, I’m CEO and one of the founders behind Svbscription.com. Prior to that I headed up lifestyle and digital publication Portable. I live in New York with my wife and my nine-month-old son.
How would you define the service you’re offering?
Svbscription is a luxury lifestyle service for men. Every three months we deliver a parcel containing a range of exclusive products, collaborations and experiences to men around the world. It’s a luxury item – there’s only a limited amount of memberships available, the items are either unique or timely, and they come from some of the most interesting cities in the world. It’s also very well-priced — memberships start at $300 per quarter or $1,100 per year.
What was the inspiration behind the service?
We’re all guys in our early thirties, with busy lives and are feeling overwhelmed with that process of staying up to date with notable and influential brands. You want to be able to own a few key foundation items without having to research online, walk up and down Barneys, or hope that your wife or girlfriend figures it out for you. Svbscription is inspired by a sense of fun and the notion that the only way to truly experience something is by owning it.
How do you curate the selection of brands?
We only work with brands that are high-end, covetable or imaginative. If they meet those guidelines then they are up for consideration. We only have a few places in each parcel so we have to be very selective with who we include. That doesn’t mean that we’re cautious with the process, it just means that we take our time and ensure that every detail is well-considered.
How did you go about creating the first box?
It’s actually a very intensive process that brings together a lot of skills each of us have acquired through the years. First we come up with a theme, essentially a central word that we believe is inspirational, but one that is also requiring some imagination when it comes to a modern man’s sensibilities. For the first parcel we worked with the notion of travel, which we felt could use some rethinking. We then take that theme and put together a mood board — photography, vintage pieces, color, etc. — that works as inspiration. That serves as the inspiration for the whole parcel, the brands we work with, and the way in which we start talking to our members and audience online.
What are you wearing at the moment?
Loden Dager pinstripe pants, Opening Ceremony denim canvas lace-up shoes, Onassis denim-navy shirt, Special Delivery underwear (from Svbscription Parcel 1) and Illisteva sunglasses my wife bought for me from Assembly. You got me on a good day.
What are some of your favorite brands or designers?
My key pieces at the moment are from Adam Kimmel and Loden Dager. Casually, I really like the fit of Dr Denim from Sweden. Mark McNairy for shoes. In womenswear: Mary Katrantzou, Vanessa Bruno, Family Affairs, Rodarte and Arnsdorf (my wife’s label).
How does your service differ from other curated subscription services out there?
Svbscription isn’t for everyone. We target a very specific guy who has a refined level of taste and the salary to back it up. As a service we provide really significant, timeless pieces that you’ll keep long term or use regularly. People who appreciate quality know that you can’t do with just a 20 every month…
What sort of themes do you have in mind for upcoming boxes?
The upcoming theme is study. Through it, we are imaging what the modern man needs to work, think and create, and each of the pieces we’ve chosen go some way to assisting in that process. The next theme is still secret – we don’t reveal the contents of the parcel to anyone prior to delivering to our customers.
What are some of your favorite finds so far?
The Steven Alan beach blanket was just a really special piece from one of New York’s preeminent tastemakers, but my personal favorite was the Want Essentiels de la Vie leather passport wallet. I do a lot of travel and have always felt a bit immature every time I hand my passport over at border crossings, so to have something that speaks to my personal style whilst traveling, whilst knowing I’ll own it forever, is really grounding.
How do you see this progressing? What are your expectations for the future?
We started with exactly 100 memberships and we sold out within a few weeks. The next parcel we’re offering 200 memberships and we’re almost there, so we expect to grow it slowly and deliver some really special items to our members over the next year. The more memberships we have, the greater the buying power so I think we have some exceptionally fun times ahead.
Are there any designers or brands you’d like to work with in the future?
This is a tricky question because we’re reaching out to the people that we love and we can’t reveal. Sorry.