The Scoop: There’s an artist inside everyone, but sometimes we don’t have the supplies that inspire our creativity. ArtSnacks solves that problem with its monthly subscription box designed to deliver a curated sample of premium art products to your home every month. Both professional artists and novice hobbyists look forward to an ArtSnacks surprise at their doorstep, and couples often use the supplies to spice up date night with a dash of creativity. ArtSnacks also has an active community that supports and inspires members around the country.
Sarah Rubenstein decided to get her sister-in-law a subscription box filled with beauty supplies as a gift in 2012 — and it was a big hit. Her sister-in-law loved it so much that Sarah’s brother, Lee, was jealous.
“He wanted a subscription, but I couldn’t find anything for him. He loved art supplies, but there was no subscription box for that. So we thought it would be fun to curate a box of art supplies,” Sarah told us “It turns out that many other people were interested in that, too. So we started ArtSnacks, and the rest is history.”
Sarah and Lee, who had both attended art school, put together their first box in March 2013. At the time, he worked in animation and illustration, while she was in the graphic design industry.
“We’ve been playing with paint and pens and Photoshop for a very long time,” said Sarah, who left her job to transform ArtSnacks from a fun hobby to a full-time venture with her brother in 2015.
Today, the subscription box company helps individuals, couples, and families spend quality time together making art. That process can be especially stimulating for romantic partners, as a recent study found that couples who create art together released a higher amount of oxytocin, also known as “the hugging hormone.”
In addition to, sending premium art supplies to subscribers, ArtSnacks sells curated products on its website and hosts challenges on social media. Sarah and Lee even organize events to share techniques and explain new products to art lovers everywhere.
Designed for Art Lovers by Art Lovers
ArtSnacks has two other full-time employees in addition to Sarah and Lee. They all work remotely and get together monthly for a team outing — often a trip to a museum — in either New York or Boston to stay connected and have fun.
While subscribers range from millennials to retirees, most of ArtSnacks members are between 18 and 35.
“We have a lot of different people who subscribe, whether it’s actual artists looking for new art supplies to grandparents who want to give a gift to a recent grad,” Sarah said. “We have a lot of customers who don’t live around art supply stores. The majority of our customers identify as artists, either as a working artist or if they do it as a hobby.”
And the ArtSnacks process is simple. Once people sign up for a subscription, they’ll receive a box filled with four to five full-size, premium art products, as well as a “menu” that explains each product.
The box also has information on best practices as well as new techniques worth exploring. And the ArtSnacks team tests all products before sending them, and shows subscribers how they can work together to make something unique.
And the company encourages its members to participate in the monthly ArtSnacks Challenge. For these challenges, artists must use only the supplies in the current month’s box to create an original piece of art.
Then, they can snap a picture of their masterpiece and post it to their social media with the hashtag: #ArtSnacksChallenge.
ArtSnackers Community Brings Imaginative People Together
ArtSnacks offers plenty of inspiration on its website and Instagram page through pictures of the artwork people have created using its supplies. The community of so-called ArtSnackers has a strong presence on social media, and many members are active through ArtSnacks Mix, a dedicated platform where subscribers can connect.
“There are people taking photos of their works in progress or fielding ideas on how to price their artwork. It’s less of a forum and more a place to hang out with other artists,” she said. “There’s never a dull moment. Coming from an art background, I have such a strong connection with these people. I love it. Everything we put out has a purpose, and we think of the customer first and how much value we can bring to their lives as they are discovering — or rediscovering — their favorite art supplies.”
Sarah said that people often subscribe to ArtSnacks to create art with their loved ones. Parents love to make art with their children, and couples often plan art-centered date nights to spend screen-free quality time together.
Sometimes the boxes are given as gifts, but other times the supplies are used for homemade gifts.
“During the holiday season we have sales and promotions, but we see a lot of customers making art for their loved ones — whether it’s a card or an entire portrait,” she said. “There’s something about making something yourself, and even more special about giving it to someone — especially if it’s your crush or someone you’re dating. It may deepen the relationship a little more, and we’ve seen a lot of that through ArtSnacks.”
ArtSnacks Will Soon Organize More Events to Encourage Artists to Connect
What started as an idea to bring art supplies to more people has grown into a thriving online community that connects artists from around the country. That success has led ArtSnacks to bring community members together offline, too.
At least once a quarter, the ArtSnacks team will organize events, usually held in art supply stores, to explain new products featured in its boxes. Sometimes artists will demonstrate different techniques designed to educate and inspire.
“Or we’ll meet at a museum and draw for a few hours. Some people just don’t set time aside to draw, so we bring the drawing to them,” Sarah said. “We’ve done a few pop-ups within art supply stores, which have always been great. They gather the artistic community, whether they’re our customers or not.”
The team plans out its schedule well in advance to ensure that boxes please a variety of artists. For example, in October 2019, ArtSnacks will work with Jake Parker, a storybook illustrator who created a movement known as InkTober. During the month, participants are challenged to draw something every day using only ink supplies. ArtSnacks will feature a special box in October and also offer ink product deals on its website.
“It’s about developing good habits, putting together a portfolio of artwork, and also spending a month mastering a new skill,” Sarah said. “We’ll do a lot of work around that, whether it’s videos, meetups, or curating a page on our websites of all ink products. And, if you need to restock before the challenge starts on Oct. 1, we can help you with that.”