Splitting her time between Los Angeles, New York, and Berlin, Aja Edmond isn't just a minimalist by choice: luggage only being so large, she's one by necessity. And she doesn't think she's alone. "Everyone talks about minimalism as a niche, but if it's a niche, it's a large one," she says. "I think it's more than that. When we look back, I think minimalist design will end up being the style that defines our generation."
A lifestyle brand strategist whose past clients include Ralph Laurent, Gilt, and eBay, Edmond's new project is Minimalism & Co, a subscription box surface that appeals to fellow design ascetics. For $105 each ($95 for subscribers), Minimalism & Co. will ship an appropriately minimalist box of themed lifestyle goods to your doorstep, sourced from indie designers, mom-and-pop shops, and smaller design brands. All items are dual-gender in nature, and were chosen to be highly functional.
The first box, which just shipped out, is themed around Travel Essentials. It contains a Memobottle, a slim, flat canteen shaped the size and shape of an A6 notebook; a sleek Baggu flat pouch made of black leather or gray suede; and a Siwa paper passport case, a washi paper travel wallet made in Japan that can be used to safely store all sorts of valuables. The next parcel, shipping in May or June, will focus on beauty and grooming, while the following box will have the theme "fall style."
Minimalism & Co. isn't the first design-centric subscription box we've seen. One way it is trying to differentiate itself, though, is by shipping quarterly instead of monthly. Part of the reason for that, Edmond says, is that it doesn't make sense to preach minimalism and then send people a box of random crap every four weeks. "We want to be thoughtful on how we craft these parcels," she says, before throwing some shade at the likes of Birchbox. "The last thing we want to do is just shove a bunch of free samples in a box every month."
Which raises an important point: in the aftermath of Birchbox's success, the market for subscription boxes seems oversaturated. My Subscription Addiction, a site devoted to cataloguing and reviewing subscription boxes, currently lists over 1,000 different subscription box services. Is there really room for another one? But Edmond says looking at subscription boxes as a "market" is a mistake. "At the end of the day, subscription is just a form of distribution, same as an online shop or a storefront," she says. "It's a discovery engine. The way you distribute isn't as important as finding an audience, and paying attention to the product and experience."
And does Edmond think she's found that audience? Minimalism & Co. has just started shipping out boxes, but over 1,000 people have expressed interest. Minimalism & Co. also has a Tumblr with over 20,000 followers. Those numbers bode well for Edmond's thesis that the market for minimalism is more than just a niche.
All Images: via Minimalism.co