A little bit of Weekend Box history
Meet Andy, the guy who likes jazzy shirts and putting fun into boxes!
What do you get when you mix a twenty-something with a passion for children's learning and green issues? Weekend Box Club!
And did you know that it was started in our founder Andy's bedroom? He had to move a few old toys out of the way first of course, but once he'd made a space in-between the Lego blocks and Star Wars videos, he sat comfortably and could begin.
Back in 2013, Andy got bored.
Bored? Yes, then 24, he decided that what he really wanted to do was to work on his own project and so he quit his job to do just that.
Added to the fact that he just couldn't find the right present to buy for his nieces and nephews, he decided something had to be done, so he married the two and the Weekend Box was born.
He turned his bedroom into a craft hub, distribution centre and customer service point, making and sending the early Weekend Boxes.
And now he wants to send one to Prince George!
You quit your job - what were you doing?
Working as Tech Lead for a smart energy start-up in Newcastle.
Why did you quit?
I realised that I wanted to have my own project. I'd studied a post-grad in Technology Enhanced Learning at Durham University with a focus on how to engage primary school aged children in education and brought them together.
What was the trigger for starting Weekend Box Club?
I couldn't find presents for my niece and nephew, aged four and six at the time. I was looking for something educational, fun, engaging, with baking, planting and stimulating things to do.
And I realised that it didn't exist.
So I made them a Weekend Box instead of buying something. They were my guinea pigs and first customers; Weekend Box Club grew from there.
How did you start Weekend Box Club?
I used my small amount of savings and worked from my bedroom making, packing and sending the boxes.
How did Weekend Box Club grow?
I used to buy the boxes to fill but I wanted to have our own boxes. In the first 6 months, 1,000 boxes were sent out. I took out a Start-Up Loan to create our very own Weekend Boxes, so we moved to a warehouse to do that. The loan paid off as we were crowned Start-Up of the Year 2014 at the inaugural Start-Up Loans National Awards in November 2014. We heard that 20,000 businesses applied and we'd been going less than a year.
By 18 months we had sent 20,000 boxes out and in less than 3 years there are now 10 of us on the team.
What does Weekend Box Club have that other activities don't?
Where do I start?! The boxes are fun, educational, stimulating, keep children away from the TV, devices and computer games and bring families together to spend top quality time together. It's not a box you give to the kids and let them get on with - you join in! Make, bake, create, explore and more! They're personalised for the child, so a surprise comes through the door with their name on either once a month or fortnightly.
For the parents, they know that the boring bit is done - they just get the activities out and start having fun. We’ve done the research, created step-by-step ‘how to’ cards, popped all the bits in the box and sent it to them. No shopping, no disappointment, no hunting for stuff and no waste as we send the right amount of what you'll need.
What motivates you to keep making Weekend Box Club bigger and better?
I've got 3 older brothers, which has given me two great assets: being immune to tickling and being super-competitive!
When you were young, did you know that you'd want to be your own boss?
When I left Sixth Form, I was voted 'most likely' to become an entrepreneur, although that may have had more to do with my obsession with The Apprentice at that time!
What about your childhood? Any clues about the creative future that lay ahead?!
My three main passions are education, technology and green things and this dates back to my early childhood where I watched Blue Peter intently 3 times a week! The more I've learnt about the way I learn best, the more I realise the value in creative play and experimentation in early childhood. Understanding that children learn in different ways was a real eureka moment for me in learning about how I learn best.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stay naive and never stop asking questions
If you could send a Weekend Box to any famous kids, who would have one posted through their letter box?
If you'd like to get in touch with Andy or find out more about the Weekend Box story, please get in touch with Sarah Hawes at Izzy PR: