After An Injury Sidelined Her Career, Erica Raver Started Her Own Ballet Subscription-Box Business
There seems to be subscription boxes for everything these days from health and beauty, to pet care, wine and even calligraphy. Now ballet is no exception. Tulle Box, a new subscription box of ballet goodies, launched on April 5 and brings together various products to care for dancers both in and out of the studio.
The company was founded by Erica Raver, a former apprentice with Rochester City Ballet. After resigning from her apprenticeship in January 2020 due to a recurring knee injury, Raver was looking for ways to stay connected to her passion for dance. She came up with the idea for Tulle Box that November and just three months later, Raver was creating her boxes.
The boxes range in price from $72.99 to $175 and can be ordered as a one-time purchase, monthly (in standard or petite sizes) or quarterly. There is also an option for customized gift boxes. The first box to be released included a Gaynor Minden Roller Kit and Dancer Dots, R.E.D.D. energy bars, a hydrating face mask and a Sweats by Jo jumpsuit. International shipping is also available.
Raver chatted with Pointe about her new business and her advice for fellow dancers.
What was the inspiration for launching Tulle Box?
After I stopped dancing, I felt very disconnected from the dance world and I wanted to do something to enhance dancers’ training and rehearsal experience. I thought a subscription box with all of their needs was a wonderful idea. I definitely would have wanted something like this when I was dancing.
How did you go about curating the brands and products featured in the boxes?
I first thought, What would I want in a box, being a dancer myself? These are brands I personally have used and love. For example, I have been using Sweats by Jo since I was 13 years old, and Gaynor Minden was my first pointe shoe that felt great on my feet. I also added a hydrating face mask, since it might be a good way to unwind after sweating in a mask in the studio.
When I first contacted the brands about my idea, I had low expectations, but I was surprised that they were on board and didn’t hesitate to collaborate with me. I had never taken a business course before, so I learned everything from reading books, researching online and talking to people, like my significant other, who is a business owner himself. I first had to obtain a resale license online, which allows me to resell other products, and then I bought the products wholesale directly from the brands.
Courtesy Tulle Box
What was it like launching this business during the pandemic? Do you think it was challenging or was there more room for opportunity?
Both. It’s been hard with dancers struggling right now, but I also feel small businesses are taking off since people are realizing the importance of them. The support from everyone has been so incredible. My dancer friends loved the concept when I told them about it.
What types of products are you hoping to feature in the boxes in the future?
I would love to feature leotard brands and any products that are owned by ballet company members, so I can help them promote their businesses. I would also love to collaborate with dancers to feature some of their favorite products that they carry in their bags.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet dancer Tatiana Melendez with her first Tulle Box delivery
Courtesy Tulle Box
You made the difficult decision to stop dancing due to an injury. Thankfully, through Tulle Box, you are still able to contribute to this industry that you love. Do you have any advice for dancers who may be at a similar crossroads in their career?
After I stopped dancing, I tried to fill the void with other activities like yoga and Pilates, but there is nothing like ballet. I had to block myself from the dance world for a while, but it makes you realize how much you miss and love it. My advice would be to find your own unique way to immerse yourself in the dance world, like through teaching, for example. I also want to go back to taking class recreationally.