One of my most anticipated boxes over the holidays was the Best of 2013 Art and Design box from Quarterly Co. I definitely ripped into it as soon as I got back from the airport!
Quarterly Co. is a service that offers subscriptions curated by influential and inspirational people in various fields and specialties. I love the wide range they cover; seriously you should check out the impressive curator list! Each box ships once every 3 months, and depending on who your curator is, each shipment is $25, $50, or $100. I subscribed to the first Nina Garcia shipment for $100 and loved it, see the review here!
Knowing that Quarterly has such a great selection of curators (and being unable to afford all the ones I want), this “Best Of” box was a great idea. They had a “Best Of” for Art and Design, one for Food and Home, and one for Toys and Treats. All three boxes sold out within a few hours, so I’m glad I was able to snag the Art and Design one for $83.00 ($75.00 + $8.00 shipping).
First impression: this box is huge!! I was so surprised to find such a large package when I got back, especially since Quarterly boxes are usually on the small side. This one was about the size of my big suitcase!
Every Quarterly shipment comes with a letter from the curator. Since this time there was more than one curator, the letter just mentions that each box will be different, and it lists the various curators that are contributing. I was excited to see Pharrell Williams and Tina Roth Eisenberg on the list!
True Ventures Laser-Cut Spirograph | $3.00 (?)
This spirograph is from the True Ventures #TRU03 box, and since it’s obviously custom-made for that shipment, it’s hard to put a value on it. I’m guessing $3 is pretty fair since the quality isn’t very high (it’s literally just the shapes laser-cut out of a wooden board), but it’s a unique item and certainly fun to play with.
Stabilo Point 88 Black 46 Pen | $2.50
I love Stabilo pens! I usually buy them in a pack that comes with various colors, and they’re much more reasonably priced in packs (comes out to about $0.70 or less per pen). These pens write smoothly and the ink doesn’t smudge, so I always keep a stash of them on my desk.
Not Quite What I Was Planning | $11.69
A super addictive book. It’s a simple concept: use 6 words to tell a story. Some are funny (“I like big butts, can’t lie”) while others are sad (“Girlfriend is pregnant, my husband said”) and some are truly touching (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”). I read the entire book in one sitting, and I highly recommend it!
Postcards from Penguin: One Hundred Book Covers | $21.25
While these postcards are really cute, I was disappointed that it didn’t come in a box. They were just held together by a rubber band, which makes me think this was leftover or damaged inventory.
Moleskine Classic Extra Small Notebook in Orange Yellow | $9.95
Another favorite of mine! I already have a ton of Moleskine notebooks; they’re seriously the best for sketching!
d.school Institute of Design at Stanford Sketchbook Trio with Pencils | $15.00 (?)
This set came with “An Incomplete Sketchbook About Sketching”, the d. sketchbook with graph paper inside, and three pencils. The sketchbooks are really cute, especially the “incomplete sketchbook” which has tips on sketching every couple of pages.
Pharrell Williams Mini Perspective Chair | $15.00 (?)
I laughed when I saw this cute mini chair. It’s a tiny version of Pharrell Williams’ Perspective Chair (see the actual chair here) and it was 3D printed by Sculpteo.
Kumare Flash Drive | $25.00 (?)
I’ve heard a lot of reviews about this film, so it’s nice to have it available on this super trendy flash drive! I will definitely watch it! It’s a documentary about a false prophet, and the flash drive also includes behind the scenes photos and the soundtrack. I’m impressed Quarterly made custom flash drives for this.
Beats Antique USB with 7 Albums | $25.00 (?)
At first I thought it was just a cool USB drive, but when I plugged it in I saw that it has 7 albums on it and a personalized video just for Quarterly! I wasn’t familiar with Beats Antique, but I really like their music now. It’s a unique mix of modern beats with instruments and jazz and even Middle Eastern belly dancing music.
Just with all Quarterly boxes, calculating the value for this box was very difficult. Quarterly has a lot of custom-made items and part of the value is the experience of interacting with the curator and getting an exclusive “inside scoop” on things. But based on some of my vague estimations, I would say this box had a value of around $128.00. These are definitely fun items and I think fit the “Art and Design” theme pretty well. However, I do have three complaints about this box:
1) Nothing describing the items or inventory sheet. I didn’t know what a lot of items were and had to research to figure it out. For instance, if I had not found out that the mini chair was a Pharrell Williams design that was 3D printed, I would have estimated the value at closer to $5.00. Same with the flash drives, I thought they were just unique blank USB flash drives at first.
2) A waste of packaging materials. All of these items could have easily fit in a very small box, but they mailed it in such a huge package stuffed full of kraft crinkle paper. While I appreciate that everything was safe, I don’t think it needed 2 feet of padding in each direction. I ended up recycling an entire 33 gallon trash bag full of the crinkle paper!
3) Some of the items (like the True Ventures Spirograph and Penguin postcards) felt like leftover stock that they were just trying to get rid of. This is a minor complaint, since I know one of the reasons to do a “Best Of” is to get rid of extra inventory. But nonetheless, getting items that weren’t in any kind of packaging and held together with rubber bands felt very cheap.
Did anyone else get this box? I’m curious to see what the variations were!
As always, all views in this post are the opinion of the author. I am not affiliated with Quarterly Co. in any way.