Every now and then we all appreciate a hug – a hug to lift our mood and alleviate stress. Sometimes a person is around to give that said hug but if nobody is around when life is stressing you out, occasionally a virtual hug will have to suffice. That’s when a BuddyBox can step in – it’s a virtual hug in a box – created for ANYONE who could benefit from a boost. Love to know more? Well, I wanted to know more so I caught up with Jayne Hardy, founder of Blurt to discover all…. Hi Jayne…
Hi, I’m Jayne Hardy, Blurt’s Founder. I lost most of my twenties to
depression. At the height of my illness I was unable to work, leave the house or even undertake the most basic acts of self-care. When I founded Blurt in 2011, my chief goal was to prevent others from feeling as isolated as I had done. Having experienced first-hand the powerful connections that could be fostered via social media, I deliberately focused Blurt’s activities online – providing interim support for those struggling with depression and challenging the stigma around mental health. I’m also a Mum to two-year-old Peggy and live in Cornwall.
What inspired you to launch the BuddyBox?
We applied for some grant funding from UnLtd to develop our online shop, as we’ve always wanted to be sustainable long-term. In the initial meeting, our grant manager, Julie, was speaking to us about her daughter’s struggle with mental ill health whilst at university and how Julie would love for there to be some sort of ‘wellbeing’ box that she could send. The idea struck a cord and BuddyBox was born.
BuddyBox is run by your organisation, Blurt. Can you explain a bit about Blurt and the work that you do?
We’re dedicated to helping those affected by depression. We’ll help you understand depression and what it means for you. We’ll support you, listen to you and introduce you to people who’ve been where you are. We’ll help you break down barriers and broach the subject with those closest to you. We’ll help you help yourself, with a little knowing nod. We think people who’ve experienced it know best, so we’re passionate about peer support – connecting those who have been through depression with those who are currently struggling, to provide reassurance and comfort during a very scary time.
I love your idea of these boxes – packed full of thoughtful, mood lifting treats – “A hug in a box” indeed. I know that the range of products for filling the boxes are a closely guarded secret, but what sort of items do you include?
We aim to provide a ‘self-care’ experience for the recipient and so we include products to nourish, comfort and inspire.
What subscriptions are available? Are you able to purchase a box as a “one off”?
We have several options available – a monthly subscription, quarterly subscription, 6-monthly subscription and an annual subscription. And of course, the one-off boxes.
Where do you get your ideas from when sourcing and looking for products to fill the boxes? Do you get customers suggesting particular products?
We come up with a box theme in the first instance and then we look for products which fit within that theme but also work together to provide an experience for someone. We’re still relatively new and so we’ve been trying new things and seeking feedback to help us grow and improve.
Any plans to expand your range of boxes in the future?
We’ve got ideas aplenty but it’s knowing whether they’re good ideas and also whether there’s a need for them. We’re taking our time and working with focus groups before we commit to anything.
As you are based in the UK, are your boxes available to purchase overseas?
Yes, they are indeed! We’ve recently opening up international shipping which was an exciting change and so we now ship worldwide.
Apart from receiving a BuddyBox, of course, what do you personally do or use that helps you to de-stress/ feel pampered?
I’m an introvert so I’m most recharged when I’ve spent some time on my own – reading a book, having a bath or watching a series of something on Netflix. I also enjoy running and spending time with my family, my daughter is 2 years old and I’m loving seeing the world through her eyes – finding the joy and excitement in simplicity.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I’m pretty much always in a pinafore dress, dungarees and jeans. And on my feet? Flip flops.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own)
I’m a bit of a lazy and unimaginative shopper when it comes to clothes and so I like ASOS because I can find everything all in one place. I also love Preta Portabello and LUSH.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I need some winter boots.
Boots or Shoes?
I don’t really like having anything on my feet which is why I love flip flops but during the winter, I can’t bear feeling cold so I love boots to keep my feet warm – with thick snuggly socks.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about BuddyBox and Blurt.
A fantastic idea Jayne and thank you so much for introducing your boxes on the blog! Opening a box of goodies would cheer me up no end … whatever it contained… Skincare, bubble bath, make up, hosiery, lingerie, chocolates, prosecco, books, perfume, teabags … dear readers, would you appreciate a hug in a box? If you opened a surprise package, what would be inside to put a smile on your face?
All photos have been published with kind permission of The Blurt Foundation.