Update (02.09.2015): TiqueBox recently announced that they were shutting down their site. While TiqueBoxes are sadly No Longer A Thing, you can visit the individual vendors at their websites – or, if you want to support this site, click on the direct links to buy some of these products on Amazon.com.
Like most children, I always enjoyed getting mail – especially packages – when I was younger. A parcel with my name on it was usually was the harbinger of something cool, like a present from my grandparents, the latest issue National Geographic Kids , or an auto-penned letter from George HW Bush or Bill Clinton. (When I was very young, I thought they were writing to me directly. Come to think of it, I also don’t know how both the RNC and the DNC managed to get my address by the time I was eight years old, but no matter. It was a different time.) The worst thing that could show up in your mailbox was maybe a copy of Highlights Magazine.
My ardor for patronizing the Postal Service began to fade with age, however, as 8×10 glossies of GHWB were gradually supplanted by bills, credit card offers and junk mail. By the start of my late-twenties, I had gone the way of many Americans – depositing my mail, unread, on my dining table every night as I came home.
Subscription services like TiqueBox have the potential to change my dour outlook on mail delivery, though. Every month, the Portland company sends out packages with a fresh take on their concept of “Portland in a Box” – a curated assortment of artisan goods, all sourced from companies here in the City of Roses.
A couple of weeks ago, the folks at TiqueBox were kind enough to send me one of their Dudefully Splendid boxes – which, as the name implies, features a collection of dude-appropriate goodies. Let’s crack open this bad boy, shall we? I haven’t been this excited since The Gipper asked me to help him build his Presidential Library!
1. BB Design Fab – Oregon Keychain/Bottle Opener
There’s not a whole lot that you can say about the venerable keychain / bottle opener combination, but this number from Etsy seller BB Design Fab does sport a pretty sweet design. And, you know, it’s pretty good at opening bottles, too.
2. Whiskey Ink & Lace – Shave Soap
A traditional soap-and-lather shave is a rare luxury these days, but one that more men should avail themselves of: A) because it’s relaxing and can net you a closer, smoother shave and B) because it looks badass. This shave soap from Whiskey Ink and Lace has a pleasantly manly scent (fitting for a product called “The Gent”) and works up a decent lather.
The only weird thing about the experience was the included shave brush. Traditionally, such brushes are made from badger or boar hair, and well… I had forgotten the one downside to a traditional shave: if you take a bunch of badger hair and get it wet, it smells a little like – you guessed it – wet badger.
3. Sock It To Me – Fish Socks
Portland sock purveyor Sock It To Me does one thing, and one thing only: they sell socks. Of the wide assortment of whimsical patterns on their website, these fish socks are one of their more sedate designs – just flashy enough to show some character, but sufficiently low-key that I could get away with wearing them to the office. The knee-high red lightning bolt ones? Maybe not as much. Buy yourself a pair here.
4. Illustrated Playing Cards – Portland Breweries Deck
Local artist Aaron Trotter’s line of Illustrated Playing Cards have featured landmarks from cities near and far: Portland, Boston, Chicago and the like. For his Portland Breweries deck, Trotter’s cards feature 52 different hand-drawn scenes from Breweries around the city. While the retail price of $20 may be a little steep for some buyers, there’s no more distinctly Portland way to throw down during a round of King’s Cup or Texas Hold ‘Em.
5. Portland Roasting Coffee – Portland House Blend
6. ShurkyJurky – Cowboy Style Beef Jerky
No gift box would be complete with that most important of all categories: snacks. The Dudefully Splendid box includes samples of both the Portland House Blend, a medium roast blend from Portland Roasting Coffee, and a sample of ShurkyJurky’s Cowboy-Style Beef Jerky. I’m not a coffee expert (my level of expertise rivals Conan O’Brien’s in this clip), but both the coffee and the jerky proved to be perfect snack-time indulgences, and Shurky has some new flavors (Guajillo Chile? Yes, please!) in development that I’m looking forward to trying. One lesson you can learn from me, though: you may enjoy the favors more if you try the coffee and jerky separately. Want brew some Portland Roasting Coffee for yourself? Get a bag here.
A monthly subscription to TiqueBox costs $25 a month; you can buy individual boxes for $40-$50 each. While the value of the individual items in my box easily added up to well over $50, the cost of an individual box can be a little steep unless all of the items appeal to you. In my opinion, where TiqueBox really shines is as a subscription service: for $25 a month, all that swag is a steal, and the folks at Tique do a marvelous job of scouring the city to find new and interesting products to put in front of you. Getting mail is finally fun, again.
BB Design Fab
Whiskey Ink & Lace
Sock It To Me!
Illustrated Playing Cards
Portland Roasting Coffee