Founded in 2011, Quarterly Co. is a subscription service that sends people curated, physical gifts in the mail every three months from influential contributors of their choice.
From the press release: Christopher Jobson, author of the Webby-nominated Colossal blog, is partnering with Quarterly Co. to connect with fans offline through personally curated packages sent every three months.
I had a chance to speak to Christopher Jobson yesterday about his involvement with Quarterly Co.
TF: Obviously there are high expectations for this project… Do you feel any pressure?
CJ: Going through the ropes for the first time I definitely do, but the folks at Quarterly have been awesome in helping guide me through everything. I think any scenario where people have committed to a subscription for something completely unknown, where the project is judged on the value and overall experience of what shows up in the mail, there’s certainly pressure.
TF: Blogging is basically curating, so in a lot of ways dealing with physical objects for these deliveries makes a lot of sense for you. How do you see the two processes relating? Are you physically interacting with all of your curated objects?
CJ:: You’re right, they are very similar and it’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed this so much already. I already look through an ungodly amount of artwork, photography and art projects each day, so it’s an easy extension to look at objects as well. There’s a high probability of seeing some crossover between Colossal and Quarterly, as I’m sure my interests in what I share will be similar. In some cases I will have interacted with objects so I’m familiar with their quality or design, but the actual purchasing, packaging, and shipping are all handled by the kickass Quarterly staff.
TF: Of all the current contributors involved with Quarterly, who’s offerings are you most curious about and why?
CJ: I’m definitely most interested in all of the designers because I’ve come to enjoy their taste via their blogs, books and talks. Specifically Tina Roth Eisenberg, Mike Montiero, and Jeffrey Zeldman. I had already subscribed to Jason Kottke and Maria Popova for several months before coming onboard.
TF: Why should I sign up for your releases?
CJ: When I showed a friend of mine the other day what we’re probably including in this first package she began to cry because she was a little overwhelmed. So hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come.
I also had the pleasure of speaking to Mitch Lowe. Quarterly is led by Lowe, former president of Redbox and co-founder of Netflix. I’m excited to see where and how this grows.
TF: What sorts of people do you think are signing up for this service? Do you have much interaction with your customers?
ML: Our audience is as diverse as our roster of contributors, and for good reason: we rely on them to spread the word about their subscriptions on Quarterly, so they end up bringing their existing fans and followers into our service. And we love to interact with them. Each package has a unique hashtag so we can follow along and participate in the conversations that unfold online as each package reaches the doorsteps of subscribers.
TF: Personally, I would love to see someone like David Byrne get involved. I can only imagine what sort of weird things he might send. While the list of contributors to Quarterly is impressive, who is on your wish list? In a perfect world, what would they send you?
ML: We’d love to see David Byrne too! He’s high on our wish list, along with anyone else who ticks off the same checkboxes: creative, original, authentic, notorious. Quarterly works best when our contributors are sharing their most personal interests and passions, which come to life through the physical good they send in the mail. When a tech personality is sending their favorite foods from their hometown, or a financial blogger creates an homage to his favorite artist, we know we’re connecting with subscribers in the right way.
TF: I see Poketo is a contributor. They started as a webstore, but now have a physical shop as well. Do you envision Quarterly ever taking up a store front? Where do you see Quarterly headed?
ML: Quarterly could easily have a physical presence at some point—we even talked about doing a pop up shop for the holidays last year—but it’s not on the near-term to-do list. The catalog we’re building of interesting products and the stories contributors tell about them is one of our most prized assets, and we think there’s a lot we can do with it. Our ultimate ambition is to see Quarterly become a platform where anyone can connect with the people they admire, no matter how well known they are.
TF: What other online retailers do you look towards for inspiration?
ML: Any retailers that combine well-curated collections with interesting product stories; places like Poketo, Kaufman Mercantile and Canoe.
Interested in checking out Christopher’s Quarterly output? Swing by his page and sign up!
What do you think? Quarterly zine drop anyone?