Quarterly Co. and the shortcut to gift giving greatness

Posted by Emily Goldsher

While everyone else keeps themselves up at night over what gifts to give friends and family this holiday season, you can sleep easy, because Quarterly Co. has rendered the problem moot.  Last year, you gave your girlfriend sweatpants, and she never forgave you.  Your mom made a weird face when you got her yet another cookbook, and your dad still has no clue how to work his Kindle.  Let’s not even talk about what you gave your boss, because there’s no doubt that “White Wine of the Month Club” membership sends the wrong message.  

Quarterly Co. takes the quarterly subscription model and turns it upside down.  They have tapped a wide variety of contributors that curate packages to subscribers every three months.  The site says subscriptions will include “A blend of original, exclusive, and consumer items that are timeless, practical, exciting and fly under the radar.”  All packages also come with custom #hashtags, so subscribers can commiserate over their gizmos and gadgets over Twitter.  Normally we overlook this kind of buzzy strategy, but looking over the contributor offerings, it’s clear that Quarterly means business.

Writer Joshua Foer promises “Machines for experimental living,” while Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic will send gifts that are “Part science class and part history, sprinkled lightly with the bliss you felt out behind the gym when you looked up at the stars and thought, “Whoa.  There are so many stars.”  Your wonder was legit, even if you were really stoned.”

That all sounds promising, as do offerings from John Maeda (President, RISD), Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten (Cool Hunting) and Scott Belsky (Behance), but our favorite contributor has to be 826NYC institution, the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company.  This educational non-profit offers “such accessories as a 16oz. can of Antimatter (in a recyclable steel can), a gallon of Omnipotence, or a bottle of Mind Control” alongside “a selection of stories from kids in the free writing workshops” led by Supply Company superheroes.

Yes, getting someone any one of several Quarterly Co. subscriptions makes you look like a genius without having to do any of the work, but getting someone a Quarterly Co. subscription to the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company makes you look like a genius that cares about reading, and about promoting literacy among children in your home community.  If that doesn’t impress your girlfriend, your boss, your mom and your dad, I don’t know what will.