Entrepreneur supports female-led businesses in new venture

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A Cumbrian health and wellbeing entrepreneur has launched a unique new business to combine her love of books with promoting self care for women.

The Real MEE Project is a new UK-wide monthly subscription box service aimed at women and created with products supplied by female-led small businesses.

Kendal-based Danielle Hone founded the business and is passionate about combining literature and wellbeing.

I wanted to provide women with a treat – to have this time to relax, read a book, enjoy some beautiful products and get this surprise box through the post.

“I’m particularly excited about the Christmas box, as it’s such a special gift – whether for yourself or a loved one,” she said.

Each month, subscribers receive a beautifully packaged box containing a surprise novel, plus three to five treats ranging from scented candles to organic luxury hand cream and gluten-free chocolate brownies. The products are different each time, but one thing is always the same – the focus is on women.

“It’s really important to me that it’s always a female author and a female-centered business,” adds Danielle who is keen to hear from local suppliers – women-centred of course – whose products might be suitable for future boxes.

The Real MEE Project (standing for Movement, Education, and Enjoyment) was born out of online sessions, networking meetings and Danielle’s lockdown-inspired rethink of what she wanted to do after years teaching Pilates and working in health and wellbeing. 

This was a way of combining those with her lifelong passion for reading – lots of reading – and  turning it into her dream job.

Her target market is women over 40 who are regular readers but curious to try new writers. 

Danielle explains: “We all get stuck in a rut with things. If you are a big reader you have probably read most of the top 20. Or you might be someone who loves reading but just hasn’t got the time to research what’s new, so you go for whatever is quick and easy.

“I want women to discover new authors who perhaps don’t get a big audience, so I’m making connections with smaller publishers. 

“The first book was from a one-woman publisher down in Oxford who’s got about 10 authors on her list and she does the whole thing herself.

“One of my friends who took out a box said ‘Gosh, I would never have picked this book up but I’m really enjoying it. That’s the beauty of it.

“I want it to be an experience to open the box, so there’s always an extra little gift that’s wrapped up, and printed on it is ‘Do not open until page…’. That gift will relate to a specific page in the book so you’ve got an extra element of surprise there as well.”

Further down the line, Danielle says she may tailor her boxes to individual subscribers’ needs or expand the range to other audiences, including men.

For now, Danielle says: “This is relaxation, this is a treat. This is your time to sit back, chill and do what you love, which is to read books.”

* Monthly boxes from The Real MEE Project are £37.50 each. Three and six-month subscriptions cost £35 per month; the six-month option includes an extra mini box. Sign up by November 17 to ensure you receive December’s box.

* For more details visit therealmee.com, Instagram @_therealmeebox, or Facebook @realMEEproject

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