Small Business Profile: Jake’s Crates

Jake’s Crates is run by Jacob “Jake” Rooney, a just-turned 8-year-old living in Pembroke ON. Jake’s Crates is an affordable subscription box company that mails out or hand delivers a monthly box to youth under 18 years old. The box contains a book or novel, stickers or temporary tattoos, a craft, activity or colouring sheets and supplies, a joke and a few small toys/games to add to the surprise. The premise is simple - to deliver smiles while we’re all stuck at home and spread the joy of receiving a package, normally experienced by adults, to kids. Everything is hand-picked for the child based on their age, reading level, and interests. It also includes a freebie or coupon from a local business to try to support small businesses and add extra value for our customers!

How did your business get started and what was your inspiration?

Jake’s Crates started in the middle of the summer of 2020. I (his mom, Kendall) had been looking for an affordable subscription box service containing basic fun items for him to have something to do and look forward to because we couldn’t go out and shop at stores anymore. All the services geared to kids were $30+ a month which felt excessive to us. We also figured these would be unaffordable for many families whose income had been impacted by the pandemic. So, we decided to create a business that met that need. We had just started delivering locally when it was picked up by the local paper and CTV News. Now, Jake’s Crates ships across Canada.

Where do you see your business in 1 year?

In one year, Jake would like to see the business expand further outside of Ontario and strengthen the freebies we provide from local businesses to support them.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

In 5 years, Jake will tell you he wants to have millions of customers across the world. To have a business that’s thriving within Canada, able to sustain operations while growing nationally and really help elevate other small businesses is a more realistic goal.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome growing your business?

The biggest obstacle is easily the time it takes to decorate, prepare and pack boxes as well as organize things to be shipped or delivered by us.

How has COVID-19 impacted your business and how have you adapted?

COVID-19 hasn’t impacted us thankfully as it was a business born out of a hole in the market that the pandemic brought to light. What advice do you have for other business owners who have been impacted by COVID-19? We feel deeply for those struggling because of COVID, I see it all the time in my day job as a banker, and the biggest advice we can give is to remain flexible enough to pivot. Whether times change because of COVID-19 or not, flexibility is key to resiliency in business and in life. Seek help with digital channels to make sure you’re capitalizing on all the income streams you can be, and really don’t be afraid to rethink how your business fits in the competitive landscape in light of the pandemic’s restrictions.

Why did you sign up for Staples Preferred?

Staples Preferred felt like the perfect way to source materials for the contents of the boxes as well as the boxes themselves. We had been using other providers and Staples was able to cut our costs way down so we could put more into the boxes for our customers to enjoy. What Staples Preferred features do you enjoy and use the most? (2-3 sentences) We love having an Account Manager to help walk us through various stages of the business and offer suggestions of other ways the program could help us. We went from just looking at the program to cut costs, to looking at getting custom-printed boxes to help reduce prep time and scale up.

How has Staples Preferred services helped you achieve your business goals? (2-3 sentences)

We would never have been able to scale up as much as we have without being able to cut our costs because of the program. We can’t wait to find even more ways to improve our efficiency with help on the shipping and printing side of things!

Where can consumers learn more about your business?

We take orders right now through Facebook messaging and Instagram, though a website is in the works. Add Jake at “Jake’s Crates” on Facebook or follow the business on Instagram @jakes_crates.

By Staples Canada

May 26, 2021