A neatly taped parcel practically screams “open me,” whether it’s Christmas morning or just your latest Amazon shipment. In an age when the mailbox is basically Phase 1 recycling, most of us only get packages on special occasions. Enter the subscription-box business: fun, curated finds that arrive at regular intervals, like CSA for non-edibles.
But what distinguishes one mail-order box from another? The theme—and tastes—behind it. Take Founded 1776 (founded1776.com). It’s the only one of its kind in the country that curates household goods and lifestyle accessories made in the USA. Plus, they’re local. The company is the brainchild of Mike Litt, an Austin, Texas, transplant who quickly made a name for himself with “Greetings from Las Vegas” (the pop-up art event at the Gateway Motel), and Mikayla Whitmore, a born-and-raised, fourth-generation Nevadan. (Full disclosure: Whitmore is photo coordinator for Greenspun Media Group.)
The pair launched Founded 1776 because, as Litt explains, “We care about how the products we purchase are made and want to support our economy.” And they love good design. The evidence is in the box. Wrapped in brown paper covered with colorful triangles, the first Founded box was dubbed Sweet Freedom and contained objects that are useful and beautiful, like a one-handed bottle opener with a cap-catching magnet, an American flag bottle insulator called Baberaham Lincoln and an adorable bandana emblazoned with mustard-colored foxes, hand screened in North Carolina. Each Founded box contains three or four products for $33, and each quarterly installment is shipped using 100 percent recycled and made-in-America material. Plus, all products are vegan, so you can get cool stuff delivered to your door with a clear conscience.
Box 2 is called the Paul Bunyan, a tribute to our country’s woodsy folklore. As for Boxes 3 and 4, well, you’ll just have to subscribe.