The Internet can make the world feel a lot smaller, and it’s possible to do quite a bit of “traveling” with just a computer and a cable connection. But while this type of touring is comfortable and cheap, a staycation won’t get you any cool souvenirs. Enter Berlin-based designer Elin Aram and her fantastic idea: A Box From.
Aram goes abroad to captivating cities, picks out souvenirs and curates to-go boxes for 30 Euros a pop. The “beta box” came from Seoul, South Korea and included: noodles, stickers, tea, post-it notes, chocolate sticks, notepads and a collagen face mask.
The aim, Aram explains, is to “tell the stories about the cities you haven’t heard yet.” The chocolate sticks, for example, are made by Lotte, one of the conglomerates that “seem to rule the country,” Aram says. In addition to snacks, Lotte also has theme parks and sells oil. The collagen mask “tells the story of the hunt for youth and beauty in Korea.”
This first A Box From (Seoul edition) collection sold out in under an hour!
Starting in Seoul was an inspired decision. (Readers should recognize Koreans as leaders in the popjects trade.) Aram’s A Box From idea also just made me realize something: great popjects inspire great prose. Witness Aram’s excellent words on the lovely little notebooks pictured above:
This is so quintessential Korean. You buy a notepad in a nice color. It’s nice. You feel good. Wow, it’s that a guy dressed out as a cat? Amazing. Wait. Then you flip the side and discover another color! It’s “service”. “se-vi-zuh” Service is the free ice cream buffet at the karaoke place. The 12 free products you get at the beauty store. The extra time at the video game room you rent by the hour. It’s all about getting more than you expect.
Elin Aram is currently sourcing souvenirs in Tehran! I won’t miss this twice. Sign up for her mailing list to throw money at her when the next box is ready.