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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+.


27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton



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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton



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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton



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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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