Stuff in a Box is helping families show their MU student some love

A tailgating box and holiday-themed boxes will soon be available.
Example of a typical care package distributed by Stuff in a Box, a student-run custom care package service now located in the Student Center in Columbia, Mo.

Parents, grandparents, other family members and friends can deliver custom-made care packages to their MU students through 24-hour shipping with Stuff in a Box.

Five MU students united to create this business, which provides an inexpensive and easy way for loved ones to remind their student that they are thinking of them. The idea came to sophomore Jason Peiser, the Stuff in a Box CEO, while he and several other Stuff in a Box co-founders were in an MU Entrepreneurs meeting.

“One day we were just throwing out business ideas and (Stuff in a Box) was my idea and then we liked it,” Peiser said. “So we kind of broke off, separated and created a team and started developing a business plan for Stuff in a Box.”

After the members of the team gathered and developed a plan, they entered the Missouri Student Unions’ Entrepreneurial Program Competition and won. Their success in the competition gave Stuff in a Box funding and a room in the Student Center to work from, Peiser said.

The founders have also received funding help from local businesses, said sophomore and chief technology officer Frankie Cancino.

Once Stuff in a Box had money and a location, the team began focusing on developing their product. Chief Marketing Officer Chelsea Branscum built the prototype box and found an efficient way to buy their products.

“I went and bought everything I would put in this care package from Walmart, and it was kind of expensive,” Bransum said. “So on our side, we’re just buying things in bulk so that we can minimize our costs.”

Peiser said the Stuff in a Box team feels the product will give parents peace of mind, since they can send a thoughtful care package that will be delivered the next day.

“Some people are away from their home when they’re here,” Peiser said. “(Stuff in a Box) is just to kind of get rid of that distance.”

Cancino remembers how difficult and expensive sending care packages was for his parents during his freshman year.

“My parents would have to actually go out, get it and then package and send it out,” Cancino said. “My parents would usually procrastinate, or they’d get some of the items and not send it and stuff like that.”

After roughly four weeks, the care packages will be customizable. For now, Stuff in a Box is offering one launch box to ensure efficiency. This care package consists of different food, school supplies and loving cards. It costs $39.99.

“We really just wanted to make students feel comfortable starting school and also give them a little love from back home,” Branscum said. “(We wanted) to welcome them to Mizzou and the fun spirit that we have.”

Stuff in a Box is also planning on having seasonal boxes. For instance, the team is planning on coming out with a “Tailgate Box” soon for football season.

“We’ll have a Valentine’s Day box, and probably a Thanksgiving and Christmas box when (the) time comes around,” Cancino said. “Maybe even Halloween. We’re still coming up with different ideas.”

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