Outside the Box Creation: Delivering Delightful Art Education in a Box

Beth Herrild, founder of the art project subscription box company Outside the Box Creation, says creativity is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

If that’s true, then Beth’s creative muscles have got to be super-sized by now. Every month, she creates an art project for the parents and children who subscribe to her boxes. Every month, they’re depending on her for an immersive, educational, and delightful experience they can share as a family. Every month, she curates supplies, including a picture book that kickstarts the project, and creates easy-to-follow instructions.

So, where do her ideas come from?

Outside the Box Creation – Subscription Art Box

“Steve Jobs said creativity and intuition are like connecting dots,” Beth says. “So, if you expose yourself to lots of things, there are a lot of dots to connect.” She practices artist and author Julie Cameron’s suggestion of going on ‘artist dates’ with yourself. It can be anything that you find visually stimulating from going to a fabric store,  an art gallery, or even a walk in the woods.

As a life-long artist, one-time interior designer, and former volunteer art teacher at her children’s elementary schools, she deeply understands the value of creative stimulation.

“When my children were in elementary school, I was appalled by the lack of quality art education. So many schools don’t have paid art teachers at the elementary level. But I remember how excited the kids would be when I came and started setting up an art project. A lot of them didn’t even want to go to recess.”

Once Beth was exposed to other e-commerce subscription box companies, she saw an opportunity. She could help parents and children meet their need for art education right in their homes.

“I created a product that reflects the way I like to teach art,” she explains. “Each box has a book that sets the context. Sometimes it tells the story of an artist, sometimes the illustrations are done with a particular technique we’re teaching, or they illustrate the element of art we’re focusing on that month. Parents can read the book to their children and then they create something together.

“The way I write instructions is also unique. They don’t just tell you what to do. They teach kids to make their own decisions. There’s enough structure to follow, but they also get to make their own choices. That’s creativity.”

Outside the Box Creation - What's in the box?
Outside the Box Creation – What’s in the box?

Beth says that homeschoolers, in particular, appreciate the truly educational potential of the boxes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she has seen an uptick in business, principally due to an increase in homeschooling. Homeschool families love that her regular size boxes contain enough supplies for up to two kids and the large boxes contain enough for up to four children.

“Folks who were thinking about homeschooling in the past just started doing it after COVID-19.”

Relatively early on, Beth experienced a challenge e-commerce entrepreneurs are, sadly, all too familiar with. “My fulfillment warehouse called me up one day and said they didn’t have enough boxes to fulfill my orders. I called my original box supplier to reorder and they told me that their business model had changed and I needed to find a new supplier.”

Outside the Box Creation - Orders Ready for Shipment
Outside the Box Creation – Orders Ready for Shipment

The silver lining of that unfortunate incident was striking up a relationship with Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC), a relationship that for Beth has been “amazing.”

“When I deal with adversarial companies, it just sucks the life out of me. Why can’t people just be honest and kind? Fortunately, the GLBC reps always are. They’re always helping me problem-solve.”

As a company committed to sustainability, we love Beth’s focus on “making things as eco-friendly as possible.” For example, the packing paper in the box also doubles as a cover that protects surfaces from inevitable spills and drips. In the future, we look forward to working with her on ideas like “printing designs inside the box that will encourage people to keep using it.” Here’s to tackling many more creative challenges together!

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