Subscription services for geeks are all the rage right now with Loot Crate ruling the roost and newcomer Marvel Collector Corps joining the fray. There’s one huge problem with these services, though — they don’t ship directly to the Philippines (although rumors say Collector Corps will be available locally soon). It’s only a matter of time before a local geek box service pops up and that time… IS NOW (dun dun dunnn).
Block Haul, in their own words, is a “monthly mystery box filled with items for Otakus, Gamers, Movie Buffs, and Toy Collectors in the Philippines.” Note that it’s not strictly a subscription service (for now, more on this later). Aside from this mild difference, the concept is practically the same as that of Loot Crate’s and Collector Corps’: you get a box of geeky goodies that may include collectibles, apparel, accessories, and other things that the geek in you will love.
I asked Adrian Charles Valiente, Block Haul Geek Lab Managing Partner, some questions about Block Haul and here’s how it went down:
Collectiboss: What type of products will you be including in your surprise boxes? Will they be imported items, locally sourced, or a combination of both?
Adrian: Products will actually vary to almost everything that would be related to anime, games, and movies. Although there would be limitations. Products that would not fit our SRP and would most likely not to be seen inside our boxes. As to the source of the products, we will put items that are imported and locally sourced.
C: Cool. Can you reveal some of the manufacturers/distributors involved?
We have communicated with Arigatoys to make it possible to put their products/brands be seen inside our boxes. For items such as shirts, we would all the time source them locally from brands such as The Tshirt Project.
C: Will there be a theme to each surprise box or is it completely random?
A: For starters, it will be completely random. After we reach a certain growth, we will start spicing up our customer’s experience by implementing themes and other stuff.
C: Is this subscription service on a monthly basis?
A: Nope (Not yet) It would be a one-time payment monthly surprise box. We don’t think that the Philippines is ready for monthly subscription charges. We want our customers to be able to freely decide when to avail our surprise boxes, for them to be able to set their budget accordingly.
C: Do you ship nationwide or just in the Metro Manila area?
A: As long as it is serviceable by our preferred courier (ABest Express) we will sell.
Block Haul prototype box from their Facebook page
C: Can you tell us about yourselves and why you decided to launch this service?
A: Most of us are actually schoolmates from Mapua Institute of Technology who met each other in an organization called “Central Student Council”. Being members of the CSC, we organize events and gather lots of times. During our free time we usually play computer games, watch movies and anime together, and discuss related stuff. I, as an avid fan of some YouTube gaming channel (Scott Zack Gaming Channel and Melonie Mac to mention some), I’ve seen a lot of unboxing videos of subscription boxes; and that’s when I discovered Loot Crate, Nerd Block, 1UP Box, Bootybin, and even Barkbox (subscription boxes for dogs and dog owners).
As I see more and more, I craved more and more to buy one and discovered the unavailability of their services in the Philippines. I introduced it to my peers and they seem to like it and then we decided to conceptualize our own surprise box. We then launched a concept acceptance and preference survey which turned out positively and made us decide to execute the concept.
C: Wait a minute. There’s a subscription box service for dogs? That is crazy. Anyway, I’m guessing you’re also geeks/gamers. Which geek franchise/s are you currently into?
A: All 5 of us (Adrian, Mond Denaque, Rez Viloria, Renz Viloria, and Mark Valiente) are into the Avengers franchise. It’s one of the things that all of us are a fan of. Some of the franchises that most of us are into are Disney franchises, NBA, DC, and Nintendo. As to the type of collectibles, we are currently into Funko Pop Vinyl Figures, and Lego Figures. Aside from the western pop culture related geekiness, we are also into lots of anime. Like many otaku, we are also looking forward for the 3rd season of Sword Art Online and becoming hopeless but still hoping for a miracle for another season of Accel World. Of course anime series such as Naruto, Bleach, Eyeshield 21, Hunter X Hunter and more are in our list of favorite anime.
C: Nice! Can you give us an idea of what’s coming to Block Haul in the coming months?
A: For the first Block Haul Surprise Box, you can expect a dragon-type plushie, a shirt, some accessories and a comic book. As for the next months, people can expect Funko Pops inside our boxes. We are just trying to figure out on how we can provide Funko Pop that are not yet available in the Philippine market or at least release boxes containing Funko Pops the same time the Pop figure will be first available in the country.
The Block Haul Geek Lab team is now taking pre-orders for the very first surprise box which will drop in mid March 2015. Each box costs PHP1,500 plus PHP150 for shipping and handling. You can go to their Facebook page for details or you can go straight to the subscription form.
So what do you think of the very first geek box subscription service in the Philippines? Are you getting one? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading! *fist bump*