Support Military Families When You Shop Mindfully

In this era of mindfulness and intention, we’re all trying to be a bit more conscious of our shopping habits. Treating yourself is good -- there’s a reason self-care is crucial to one’s health and happiness -- but treating yourself and others is even better. That’s why supporting small businesses is so important, and why it matters where your purchases come from.

In honor of National Purple Heart Day this August, we sat down this week to talk with two brand-new merchants to the Cratejoy Marketplace, Saltwater & Sand and Bake Eat Love. These two businesses, each founded by a military family, go beyond mere products; each subscription box provides an experience to enhance and bring joy to your life, inspired by its founder’s personal experience as a military spouse.

You can read their stories below, then learn more about these businesses at their listings.

Saltwater & Sand

If anyone needs a chance to relax by the beach, it’s the husband and wife team behind seasonal subscription box Saltwater & Sand. Founder Adrianna’s family lived by the beach for years and years, and “when life took us inland,” she says, she missed that environment enough that she began collecting “anything that reminded me of the ocean.”

Later, the busy executive stepped down from her position when her husband Richard, a service member on active duty, was injured in combat. It was then, in helping her husband heal, that the idea for Saltwater & Sand came to Adrianna. The beach was such a comfort to their family -- and is for so many others -- that she founded this quarterly box to “package a little beach and happiness and deliver it wherever you may live.”

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Every product included in Saltwater & Sand’s luxury curations is carefully and intentionally sourced to provide a wholly unique experience for the customer. These high-end products are “found in luxury beach boutiques around the world” and can encompass everything from home and living items like artisan-crafted candles, bath and beauty products, gourmet food (summer’s box contains seasoned cocktail salt!), jewelry and accessories, beachy lifestyle accessories like hand-woven basket totes, and more.

It’s no wonder that Saltwater & Sand was one of 2019’s most anticipated subscription boxes. Judging by the thoughtfulness of summer’s curation, Adrianna is dedicated to helping others take care of themselves and their families -- just like she cares for her own -- with a generous dose of joy and beachy goodness. We can smell the sea already.

Bake Eat Love

Like the best recipes, Bake Eat Love is a family affair. “For a while,” Kristen, BEL’s founder, confesses, “I dreamed of opening a bakery.” However, her prior experience working in a cupcake shop and knowledge from her time business school told her this would be a significant risk. Still, baking was what she loved to do, and as a result, she found herself turning to the hobby while her husband Nick was deployed on a submarine. “It passed the time,” Kristen says, “and everyone loved my treats!”

After Nick returned, the question became how to pursue such a business without going the brick-and-mortar bakery route. Then Kristen found Cratejoy. “I was shopping for a Christmas present (for me),” she laughs. Looking through the Cratejoy Marketplace, she found a fair number of baking boxes, but none that quite matched her individual needs. “That sparked the idea for BEL Box,” she says. “After a little digging, I was impressed by how much Cratejoy offered. The community, blogs, CRM suite, and website templates would be excellent resources to get BEL Box off the ground.”

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Nick, now a project manager, was all too happy to support Kristen in achieving her dream. In fact, the two of them run the business together! The couple spent six months diving into business logistics and recipe experimentation, even going so far as to throw dinner parties for taste tests. “We spend months vetting and perfecting recipes,” Kristen admits. It’s not until they perfect several recipes for potential inclusion that they invite friends over for a tasting party. “Each recipe is graded on appearance, taste, and uniqueness.” After tweaking each recipe, “we move on to test boxes. Test boxes help us ensure the difficulty level is right, bakers can create a consistent look, feel, and flavor, and the instructions are clear.”

It’s important to the team behind Bake Eat Love that customers have an opportunity to explore new adventures in baking -- and, generally, have fun. “Recipes feature specialty ingredients, like lavender extract, and highlight creative flavor combinations,” Kristen says. In addition, every box includes a specialty tool for the kitchen, as well as links to video tutorials and more. Bake Eat Love, Kristen says, seeks “to leave you feeling more adventurous, accomplished, and excited for the next box!”

We’re already excited to see July’s festive cherry pie cupcakes, and we can’t wait to see what treats August will bring.