Social Impact through Subscription

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In this article, Robbie Baxter interviews Alli Harper,  founder and owner of OurShelves, on how an e-commerce subscription can play a role in social impact.

Most subscription entrepreneurs initially are attracted to the model for its predictable recurring revenue, but there are other benefits to having an ongoing relationship with members. Our guest, Alli Harper, works at the intersection of subscription eCommerce and social impact. Her subscription business is an intentional tactic to advance change in the picture book industry and to achieve that impact. Alli is building a scalable enterprise that serves the currently underestimated audience for diverse children’s books. Alli is the founder and owner of OurShelves, a diverse children’s books subscription service and advocacy effort. OurShelves has a dual mission, to connect high-quality curated, diverse children’s books to the families, teachers, and librarians seeking them, and to leverage the collective consumer power to advocate for the many more diverse books still needed. Alli who was trained as a lawyer and community organizer launched OurShelves from her kitchen table in the home she shares with her wife, Jenn and their two children. I featured her launch story in my recent book, The Forever Transaction.

I invited her to share the way she’s using her subscription business to persuade publishers to include more diverse families in the everyday stories they tell in their children’s books. In this conversation, we talk about what it takes to bootstrap a subscription eCommerce business, what metrics are most important when profitability isn’t the highest priority, and how her training in law and advocacy has helped her build a vibrant community of parents, librarians, and schools around her subscription offering.

Key points include:

  • Starting the business
  • Running the subscription part of the initiative

  • What a year of prepay cost

 

Read the full article, How to Use an eCommerce Subscription to Change the World, on LinkedIn.