PROFILE — Ontario teen helps create subscription box service for tweens

Published 2023-04-10 06:00

Boxes contain seasonal items for teen and tween girls

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Sienna Avery


Oakville, Ontario



Claim to fame:

Three years ago, Sienna Avery knew very little about business or marketing.

Today, she assists in running a company that helped grant her access to this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Sienna is the “chief crate-ive officer” of Ruby Crate, a subscription box service tailored to teen and tween girls.

Subscription box services periodically deliver a box of products to customers. Those products are usually chosen based on a theme.  

An open cardboard box filled with products like string lights, a pencil case and makeup.

Ruby Crate sells subscription boxes that are shipped every three months. They offer two separate subscriptions, one for tween girls (ages seven to 13) and one for teens (ages 13 and up). (Image submitted by Ruby Crate)

Sienna has been helping her mom, Heidi Avery, run Ruby Crate since the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020.

Over the last three years, they have watched their business expand. Their boxes are now delivered throughout Canada, the United States and Australia.

Sienna has spent the last three years learning the ins and outs of business and marketing from her mom in hope of one day taking over the newly founded family business.

A pandemic-inspired project

At the beginning of the pandemic, Heidi Avery began looking for a subscription box service for Sienna to break up the boredom caused by the lockdown.

“Everyone was home and no one really went out to stores to buy things and subscription boxes were really thriving,” said Sienna in an interview with CBC Kids News.

Unfortunately, Sienna’s mom wasn’t able to find a box tailored to teen or tween girls that shipped to Canada.

“There were other ones, but they’d have a lot of mature products,” said Sienna.

Heidi, who works in marketing, then had the idea to create their own subscription box service together.

“She pitched it to me and I thought it was great, so I just said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” said Sienna.

They decided to name the business after Sienna’s great grandmother, Ruby.

The role of a ‘crate-ive officer’

Sienna has had the opportunity to wear many hats in the company.

For each seasonal box, she designs a postcard that’s included in every crate. She and her mom also work on creating the boxes together.

“When we’re both working at the same time, we have my speaker going, playing some tunes and it’s really awesome to work with her,” said Sienna.

Teen girl and her mom sitting, heads together, smiling. Teen holding a closed “Ruby Crate” box.

Sienna, left, says she has learned a lot from her mom working on Ruby Crate together. (Image submitted by Cass Enright)

Sienna said her job also comes with its own unique set of challenges.

“One of the biggest challenges is deciding what products go into the box. Obviously not every girl likes the same exact things,” said Sienna

In the past, she has organized focus groups with her friends to help decide what products should be featured.

She also compiles her own research into what’s trending, keeping in mind the seasons the boxes will ship to their clients.

“Depending on which box you get, we try to focus on things like sunglasses for summer,” said Sienna.

Markers of success

A one-year Ruby Crate subscription, which consists of four boxes, costs $259.95, not including taxes and shipping.

In their first year, Sienna and her mom shipped 400 Ruby Crate boxes to their customers.

They’ve since increased their sales, selling 4,000 boxes in 2022. 

“Just looking at our growth has really been incredible,” said Sienna.

Ruby Crate also received the award for best teen box from the website A Year of Boxes, for the second year in a row.

“Ruby Crate is a fun and unique subscription box for tweens and teen girls filled with treasures of beauty, style and self-expression to inspire imagination,” according to A Year of Boxes’ website.

In February, Ruby Crate boxes were also featured in the House of Barretti fashion show for New York Fashion Week.

Sienna, left, and her mom were invited to attend House of Barretti’s fashion show for New York Fashion Week in February. (Image submitted by Andrea McLoughlin)

House of Barretti is a fashion label, specializing in sportswear and high-end suits for teens and young adults.

The label invited Sienna and Avery to its show, where audience members received a mini Ruby Crate box for attending.

“It was so cool, just being at New York Fashion Week. I was very happy and very grateful that I could go,” said Sienna.

What’s next for Sienna and Ruby Crate

Since its inception, Ruby Crate has expanded its line of products.

Along with their teen and tween subscription boxes, the company now offers one-time boxes, including a  Campus Ruby Crate for teens heading off to college and a Mini Ruby Crate for girls aged four to seven.

Sienna said she and her mom have one mission in mind as they expand their business. 

“The most important thing is making sure Ruby Crate continues to make girls who are buying these feel special and feel happy about themselves,” said Sienna

Sienna also has her sights on taking on a bigger role in the company in the future.

“As the business grows, I hope to take it over, continue to lead it.”

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TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Ruby Crate, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC

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