woman smiling while holding FedEx package

Purpose The Therapeutic Subscription Box

Purpose The Therapeutic Subscription Box

2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Bronze Prize Winner

2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Bronze Prize Winner

A photo of Purpose, The Therapeutic owner with a patient smiling and holding branded box.

A dynamic duo on a mission to help improve the lives of our aging population

Meet occupational therapy practitioners Holly Masters and Ali Izzo, who started Purpose The Therapeutic Subscription Box, a subscription and single gift box service designed to help combat the loneliness and isolation many older adults are experiencing while living in nursing homes. While working with this population, Holly and Ali recognized a glaring need. They found that many older adults in nursing homes have few or no visitors, which negatively impacts their sense of self and well-being. Compelled to do something about this problem, this committed duo started Purpose.

Can you tell us a little about your boxes?

We currently offer four different types of boxes — a themed quarterly subscription box, a “Thinking of You” box, a “Birthday” box, and a “Sponsor a Senior” box. For the sponsorship boxes, we reach out to social workers at nursing homes to determine what residents would benefit from our program — especially those who do not have family or who do not get regular visitors, if any at all. The people who sponsor the seniors can upload a note to be included in the box, and the box is hand-delivered to the seniors.


Who is usually purchasing your boxes?

Holly: Our main customer is the child or family member of an older adult. The ideal customer is a daughter between the ages of 40 and 60 who is buying a Purpose box or subscription for an older loved one — particularly if they live at a distance from their loved one. That said, people from ages 18 to 70 have purchased our “Sponsor a Senior” boxes.


A photo of Purpose, The Therapeutic owner giving  the  patient a branded box.


Your subscription service aligns with a lot of peak and mini-peak seasons, such as Grandparents’ Day, Valentine’s Day, Veterans Day and, of course, Christmas. How does having a subscription service benefit your business?

Holly:  You're able to plan out budgets and project revenue easier. Our customers get charged every three months, so that helps us plan out how many boxes that we need to have prepped. And we do preordering, so if we need to order a little bit more inventory, we can, to make sure things shipped out on time.

Ali: We acquire a lot of new subscribers during the Christmas season. We offer the Christmas bundle, which is a Christmas box and the whole next year's subscription [for the mini-peak seasons]. So, four boxes throughout the whole next year. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. We've had a lot of customers who purchase a subscription box for their loved one and then down the line, they sponsor a senior, as well.


How important is packaging to your business?

Our packaging is extremely important because our boxes function as a symbol of hope. We want our recipients to feel that they are getting something purposeful when they’re opening their box, which is why they’re bright orange – a gender-neutral color symbolizing joy.


What’s the most challenging thing about running a small business?

Ali: Spreading the word about our business has been the most challenging thing for us. We know there is a need for Purpose throughout the entire United States, and even the world. We’d like to get the word out into other communities in order to help more older adults and family members who want to have this kind of connection.


What’s your advice for someone who wants to start a subscription service?

Ali: There will be a lot of people who give you input and advice. Be kind to them and take their input into consideration, but always remember that at the end of the day, it’s your business, and you get to decide how to proceed. Also, reach out to other subscription companies for advice and to hear their story. It can never hurt to network.


3 Small-Business Tips for Success

Navigating the path for your small business is a constant learning process. Here are Holly and Ali’s tips for success.

  1. Let Passion Drive You
    Holly and Ali believe it’s their passion to make a difference that keeps them motivated. This passion drives them to constantly look for the most amazing products that will help older adults and makes what they’re doing not feel like “work.”

  2. Build a Loyal and Passionate Community
    The community that has developed around Purpose has facilitated strong bonds between the company and their customers. This allows Holly and Ali to easily share information and answer caregiver questions, something that serves one of their main goals — to educate others on the needs of older adults.

  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
    Ali’s therapeutic nature shines through when she shares that “there should be no stigma around asking for help from others when starting a new business.” In fact, she’s found that “a business cannot grow without a variety of expertise and knowledge. The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you will be headed in the right direction when scaling your business.”


FedEx Small Business Grant winners like Holly and Ali are doing great things in their businesses and their communities. See more inspirational winner stories and get insights for business success from past grant winners, plus other entrepreneurs and small-business experts.