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Athena Lazarides: Foxy Box’s Subscription Sales Secret

Helping people spice up their relationships by signing up for regular deliveries of a box full of tricks has led to consistent growth for this online entrepreneur.

Monique Verduyn




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Vital Stats

  • Company: Foxy Box
  • Player: Athena Lazarides
  • Est: 2013
  • Break-even: Within four months
  • Visit:



If you appreciate the value of recurring revenue, a subscription-based online business model is a sure bet. One entrepreneur who is seeing the value is Athena Lazarides, founder of Foxy Box, an online adult store that gives people the chance to explore their sexuality and have some fun without having to step into a seedy sex shop.


Sexy without the sleaze

With a background in psychology, Lazarides wanted to offer consumers – and women in particular – an opportunity to experiment with toys.

“There is a growing social acceptance of sex paraphernalia, thanks to film and television, but many people still find it intimidating to walk into a store.

“My goal is to enable customers to try out merchandise without having to deal with any of the stigma. The customer feedback we receive has shown that we are doing it right.” 

Why subscription works

General growth of the industry, thanks to greater social acceptance, has worked in her favour and there are no companies with a dominant market share in the business. The benefits of a subscription-based business model enable her to place inventory purchases against future sales.

That predictability allows an entrepreneur to maintain lower inventory levels and negotiate better deals with suppliers, which means customers get greater value for money.

Subscription sales also mean that marketing expenditure, through search engine optimisation and Google AdWords for example, can be amortised over the time that a customer is retained.


Long-term gain

The subscription model allows Lazarides to establish long-term relationships with customers rather than selling to them once and hoping they’ll come back.

Foxy Box offers six- and 12-month subscriptions, and a once-off option too for those who just want to dip their toe in. A range of different types of boxes includes ‘standard’, ‘prestige’ and ‘for brides’.

Boxes are discreetly packaged and delivered to the customer’s door. Three to four products tied to a particular theme are in each box. It’s this concept that has had an immediate impact on business growth.

“When we started, we shipped 30 boxes,” says Lazarides. “The only marketing we did then was sending emails to friends and family.

“Following a targeted online marketing strategy, we broke even within four months and have been growing monthly since then. We have an online newsletter for subscribers that has helped us to grow organically.”


Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Company Posts

Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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