I thought I'd try BarkBox since they had a Black Friday Special for $5.00. I signed up and received the box fairly quickly, and not even 2 weeks later a $20 charge came out of my account. Wait, what? This is a monthly subscription, not every week and a half subscription! I went to cancel and you can cancel but only after your year subscription is up.
"A BOX FOR RUFF AND TUFF MUTTS..and their owners! A box of durable chews and toys and high quality treats for Bully Breeds, Heavy Chewers, and your favorite Blockhead Dog. Also, packed with T-shirts, hats and other gear for dog-loving owners. A portion of all proceeds go to charities, rescues and humane law enforcement to combat animal cruelty and dog fighting. One, three, six and twelve month payment options to choose from."
Now here’s the thing with the box. It obviously had a theme, but there was nothing in the box talking about the theme. While I know the box is for the dog, it would be nice to have a card describing why they paired all those items together (and maybe describing what makes it a good item for your puppers). I also had no idea which toy was the premium toy was until I researched it online.
What comes each month seems to be tied into a holiday or time of year. For example, the BarkBox my dog received last week related to the Chinese New Year and contained treats like "Chompsticks" and a squeaker toy of a stuffed dragon. There are usually at least 2 themed toys, 2 themed smaller packages of treats, and at least 1 generic treat like a chew bone. The treats are marketed as "healthy snacks" like fruit chews and dried salmon. (If you get dried salmon, watch out. It smells! My dog loved it, however.) In addition to treats and toys, dog-related items may be included. We received a small treat jar and a water bottle to use when out walking.
“If our social media team was run by marketers, you’d see a lot more photos of just the box and our products from that month,” said Bark’s marketing director Rachel Mansfield. “Our team of comedians finds ways to creatively produce silly videos that highlight our products in our own way. We’re coming up with the stories around our monthly themes six months in advance, and the people on our social teams are in the room brainstorming with the marketing team. That thread of humor is throughout everything.”
But as much as this is a place for dogs, it is clearly also meant to be a space for their human companions to enjoy well, tapping into the documented trend among consumers looking to spend more on experiences—especially those that photograph for Instagram well—these days. The park will be putting on a number of events, at least twice weekly, including “Downward Dog Yoga” and “Okto-Bark-Fest.” The park will also host some of Bark’s existing programming already held routinely in other cities, such as the Open Bark Night comedy show.
Claire likes: I was pleasantly surprised at Dapper Dog's great customer service — when I said I had a young puppy, someone emailed me within a day confirming that I did indeed have a puppy, so they could make sure to include age-appropriate toys. I appreciated the thoughtfulness and that Dapper Dog followed through by adding a puppy teething bone to Ruggie's box, which she gnaws on with the passion of a thousand suns.
I was very, very impressed with what was inside. I’ll admit that their prices look a tad more expensive than other boxes but shipping is included, there were a healthy number of products in the box, the products inside were definitely in the high-average category, and every one of the products in the box – both treats AND toys – are made in the USA.
The box is extra fun because it has a new surprise theme to keep things fresh each month. If they can’t find something your dog will love that fits the theme, they make it themselves! One of the coolest things is that they have an online store – called BarkShop – where you can order more of what your dog loved in their box. (their product descriptions are hilarious by the way and will keep you entertained for hours).
I love coming home and seeing the BarkBox on my porch. My dog, Duke, also loves it when he sees me bring it inside. It's the highlight of the month for Duke. He'll stare at it, because he knows what it is, even though he can't open it. He loves all the toys, and all the treats that he receives. I have not received a treat bag yet that he wouldn't eat. And the customer service is the best on the planet. I'm very happy with being a BarkBox customer!
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