A true Mainer who founded a start-up that sells boxes filled with quintessential Maine items that are shipped around the country and the world? The idea is straightforward; source all the best Maine products, like blueberry jam, whoopie pies, and lobster-shaped pops, from around the state, and then have customers select what nostalgic goodies they want to receive. This month’s Featured Founder, Daniel Finnemore, who’s the owner of Box of Maine explained the business perfectly when he said, “We try to carry everything that makes Maine great. Then you pick it, and we ship it. That’s the essence of our company, sending this gift of Maine far and wide.”
What is Box of Maine, and how does it work?
Box of Maine is an online gift box company that’s filled with the taste of Maine. We offer the items that truly make Maine great, like our whoopie pies, lobster trinkets, blueberry items, and more. We source from over 30 different Maine businesses and offer over 70 items. Our customers can go on the site and learn a little bit about the history of Maine before browsing our selection of products and creating a Box of Maine all their own. Most of our customers purchase boxes as gifts for others, but we also ship a lot overseas to our soldiers who greatly benefit from having a piece of home shipped to them. That’s the essence of the company, sending the gift of Maine to people far and wide.
What was your inspiration for starting the company?
I was born and raised here in Maine. I grew up eating peanut butter and fluff sandwiches with a cup of Moxie on the side. I’ve spent 30 years here! However, most of that time was spent in Bangor where we really didn't get to capitalize on all that Maine had to offer. We didn't do the classic “Maine” activities like most kids our age did because we were in the city. Once I had kids, I knew I wanted to share that classic “Maine” experience of making maple syrup and hiking along the rocky coast with them, so we began to do just that. We love doing those outdoor activities as a family, which got me thinking about sharing this with everyone. Since not everyone who appreciates Maine lives in the state, I thought I would try to recreate the “Maine” experience by shipping people a box filled with items that reflect their most treasured Maine memories.
What does success look like in 10 years?
Success would be continuing to roll Box of Maine out and get it into more hands; people need to know about Box of Maine! I want people to be aware of it because as long as they know about it, it will sell itself. In ten years, I would like to hire a few new employees and begin to make Box of Maine into a family business. Right now it’s just my wife and I working on the business, but we have two boys. Sometimes my five-year-old will come help make boxes, so I would really like to see this become a family business.
What advice would you give early entrepreneurs?
My father was an entrepreneur. I watched him get up each and every day before going to work. My father wasn’t too successful as an entrepreneur, though. He had trouble scaling up. If I could give advice to early entrepreneurs, it would be to take your time to scale, avoid massive jumps, and take your time. Everyone wants to go really fast, which generally leads to problems. I bootstrapped Box of Maine, meaning I put in all the money myself and reinvested profits back into the company. This strategy typically means slower growth, but that may help you to build a better, stronger company in the end.