Hi Readers! Really excited to bring a review to you today of a new box! Called the New England Sack, they just launched with their inaugural box in November. While I missed that box, I was able to purchase the December box and several months thereafter. (See my reviews for other months here.)
I’m a Midwestern transplant to the Mid-Atlantic region, with a long-time fascination of New England. I love the culture and lore, not to mention the beautiful scenery one can find in the coasts and forests (both features of which are somewhat foreign to me having grown up surrounded by flat farmland). So it was a bit of a no-brainer to at least try a box that promised to bring small batch, artisan products from local, New England small business owners.
You know me…I’m a huge fan of supporting entrepreneurs!
THE DETAILS: The New England Sack box is listed on their website as “a monthly gift subscription service focused on providing high-quality regional products to our customers”. Their box promises to include “nearly a half dozen products from delicious gourmet treats to one-of-a-kind artisanal items. [Also] included in the box are unique personalized touches that will change with the theme and seasonally”. Currently the box only ships within the U.S. and is $35 a month (including shipping), with discounted prices for ordering 3 or 6 month subscriptions. It looks like you are able to return items that you don’t like within the box; if any one makes use of that policy let me know how it goes? For the December box, I had a discount code so actually only paid $23 for it.
The packaging of the New England Sack (NES) I find to be very earthy and with a hand-made vibe. I love artisan elements like this. (As well, in honor of the New Year festivities, this box came with some fun, brightly-covered confetti in the packing!) When I get items with these touches, I feel like I’m getting something that someone actually cared to put some effort and personality in to. NES did it well by including the stamped label on the outside of the box, the seasonal note on the lid, and this amazing, wax-sealed item list letter! It’s a nice touch and hearkens back to “olden times”. I also did skim the item list letter and there are some great blurbs that tell you the back story of these artisans and businesses, with very clear info on how you can visit their sites to learn more/make purchases.
Here’s the first look. It’s like a present within a present as it looks like most of the goodies are wrapped up inside this month’s sack! Speaking of which, the “sack” that the box gets its name from is a flour sack bag, hand-stamped with the company brand. It’s a good size and is very well made. I can only guess as to whether it is made of cotton, cotton blend, microfiber, or linen. (NES send me a note and let me know?) Either way, while I usually loathe getting another bag, I love the vintage aesthetic of this and can’t wait to collect more! My guess at the retail value of this is $4, dependent on the fabric.
The first item I pull out is this cute lip set. It’s Scentsational Scrubs’ Mango Papaya Lip Scrub and Mango Papaya DA BALM Lip Balm. These retail for $7 and $3 respectively. Scentsational Scrubs is a small business located in Connecticut and the citrus-y scent is a great pick-me-up during these cold, gray months of winter.
I was reading up on this product at their website and apparently this New England Cupboard Bloody Mary Mix doubles as a dip mix, too! This company is from Maine and sells the famous Bakewell Cream, “a traditional New England powdered leavening agent that originated over 60 years ago in Maine”. This mix retails for $5.25.
Up next is Connecticut-based Savory Fare’s Fiesta Chili Soup Sack. We love chili in this house so this will get made for sure! (And I’ll post when I do.) I actually was only able to pull this up on a Connecticut-based grocery store’s website, which is kind of cool actually. It retails for $5.99.
So it was super mind-blowing to learn that it was likely this lady’s designs that first started the trend of combining vintage images with the oftentimes naughty legends you see associated with them. Anne Taintor, a native Mainer, started designing such things for sale in 1985 and the rest is of course, naughty vintage history! This Anne Taintor Coaster Set retails for $6.
The last item in the box is another mix courtesy of New England Cupboard. What’s chili without cornbread? It doesn’t happen in this house so we are glad to get this Country Corn Bread Mix to pair with our chili (and it includes the Bakewell Cream!). This mix retails for $4.25.
This box has such a different feel from the last one, which I like because it’s nice to think that the boxes will always continue to surprise. It feels so “hearty” and perfect for a wintry month like January. As for total retail value, it stacks up to about $35.49. That’s just about break-even for the regular price of a box but above what I paid at my discounted rate. Plus, once again I am really pleased with what I received!
Looking forward to February’s box for sure! Thanks NES!