VISTA — Vista resident Terry Chamberlin said she had to create a way to stay connected to three of her grandchildren when they moved to Seattle a few years ago.
The grandmother, who has lived in Vista for 46 years, said she began sending her grandkids holiday-themed cookies that they would then decorate via video-chat Skype. The idea worked out so well that Chamberlin decided to turn it into a business.
Gramma in a Box, which was created in 2018, is a monthly subscription service that provides subscribers fresh-baked cookies and decorative tools such as frosting and sprinkles. For $20 a month, the service provides everything you would need to decorate up to 20 cookies, Chamberlin said.
“The goal for Gramma in a Box was to connect parents and grandparents with children of all ages by providing an easy and fun activity each month,” Chamberlin said. “Many grandparents, like me, do not live near their grandchildren, so sending Gramma in a Box each month is a real way to connect. I encourage my clients to skype with their grandchildren when they receive Gramma in a Box.”
Chamberlin, who has owned several businesses including a coffee shop and a hair salon, said she explored her new venture by seeking the advice of friends.
“When I first put together the idea for Gramma in a Box, I shipped out 25 boxes to friends and family for their honest evaluation,” Chamberlin said. “It was an overwhelming success and I gained a lot of insight from them on how to make Gramma in a Box a perfect monthly subscription.”
It’s been more than one year since Chamberlin has created Gramma in a Box and she now has 100 subscribers nationwide, she said.
Danielle Delaney, who met Chamberlin through a local nonprofit, said she became a customer because she loved the concept of adults and children having fun together through creative activity.
“The projects in Gramma in a Box help develop kids’ creativity and self-expression and helps them to learn by reading and following instructions while having fun,” said Delaney, who has purchased the gift for friends as well. “In our day and age of technology, Gramma in a Box gets families back together again at the kitchen table talking, laughing and making memories. When I purchase Gramma in a Box for my family and friends, I feel that I am gifting quality time together, laughter, creativity, fun and a hands-on experience with a delicious outcome.”
But it isn’t just grandparents who are subscribing to the service for their grandkids, some of whom are college-aged. Delaney said she subscribes to Gramma in a Box as an aunt. Other subscribers enjoy decorating and indulging in the cookies as a date night activity, Chamberlin said.
More importantly, the sweet-tasting activity is helping subscribers create memories with their loved ones. In fact, Chamberlin said she has many happy memories of being in the kitchen with her own grandparents.
“I have lots of fond memories of baking with my grandmothers and I think this type of lasting memory is important,” Chamberlin said. “Many of us have lost our grandparents and these memories are treasures that we share with future generations. Gramma in a Box is designed to bring kids of all ages together to create memories.”
Looking ahead, Chamberlin said she hopes to grow her one-man, passion project to more than 200 subscribers in 2020. She also hopes to teach Gramma in a Box programs through city and community programs so that all children have the opportunity to enjoy the activities.
“I have heard from so many customers that the special time spent between parents/grandparents and children has become their favorite activity each month,” Chamberlin said. “It’s the perfect way to be there with them when they are miles apart.”
For more information about Gramma in a Box, go to grammainabox.com.