As a kid growing up in Wilmington, I never fully appreciated the city. It wasn’t until I got to explore other beach towns and drive through other states that I realized how beautiful Wilmington is—and how lucky I am to live here. Although I spent my youngest years in another state, my infatuation with NC’s varied allure—from mountains to rolling hills to barrier islands—thrives.
Kevin King, an NC native, possesses the same affinity for the Old North State. Though born and raised in Asheville, King attended UNCW, and stayed a while after graduation. The Port City became his second home.
“I had one set of grandparents that lived on a farm and another that owned a small business,” the 27-year-old tells. “I feel I grew up understanding hard work but with a strong emphasis on family—Sunday picnics after church kind-of-thing. I’ve always speculated that I had pirate ancestry, and I think that was fueled during my time in Wilmington. There’s something charming and unique about the fact that NC contains both mountains and gorgeous coastline, which both house so much history and mystery. Moonshiners and pirates shaped our state.”
After a stint working along the Florida coastline—and driving from coast to coast—Kevin’s love for home only grew. “No other place has the same feel,” he asserts. “It’s hard to explain, but the more I was outside of NC, the more I appreciated it.”
Thus, he returned to NC, to live and work in Raleigh. This adoration—plus a monthly subscription to Birchbox Man, a guy-focused version of the popular service offering samples of grooming and lifestyle products—is what fueled his idea to found The Wright Club.
“It hit me that people who love NC as much as I do would love opening a box full of it,” King tells. “I began to ask my friends across the state, and outside the state, and they were very excited about the idea. I quickly began to see not only how this could fulfill people’s love of NC, but it could help grow local businesses, which are the backbone of our state.”
Subscribers to The Wright Club will receive a box of NC-only products and discounts, tailored to the user’s preferences each month via snail mail. Currently, The Wright Club is accepting pre-orders for the first box, which is expected to ship at the end of the summer.
“After the pre-order period, you’ll have the option to pay month-to-month, being auto-billed on the first of each month, or to prepay for an entire year,” King explains. “If you pre-pay for the year, you get one month free, so it’s a better deal.”
He also is considering long-term options and more specific marketing ideas, whether they’re special-edition boxes or one-time orders. “My advice to folks in general is to keep their eye on us,” he says. “This is just the beginning of what we have planned.”
Once subscribers pre-order The Wright Club’s first box, they’ll soon be sent a quiz to help tailor the box to their needs. Personal preferences really guide the subscriptions. Questions asked include: “Do you prefer the mountains or the coast? Do you prefer craft beer, wine or non-alcoholic beverages? Do you enjoy the great outdoors, or crafts indoors?”
“By learning about our subscribers, we can give them more of what appeals to them,” King notes. “After all, that’s the whole goal: to provide people their favorite products and industries from NC. Plus, as we learn more about our subscribers, we can reach out to more of the businesses they love. “
King admits coming up with the name took much deliberation. He was sure it needed to be something that resonated regionally. Vascillating between Sir Walter Raleigh and Edward Teach didn’t fit the bill. “Then it hit me: There’s a biplane on every license plate in the state,” he tells. “I think the Wright Brothers are synonymous with NC, as well as the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that it embodies. Besides, the ultimate question after all is, ‘Are you in The Wright Club?’”
The Wright Club’s reach certainly will be widespread. Folks will learn about local businesses, no matter where they are geograhpically. It makes great care packages for homesick college students and long-lost relatives. “You could ship it to your friends across the country to rub in how much better your state is than theirs,” King quips. “Really, the application is endless.”
Local companies already onboard include Carolina Beach’s Good Hops Brewing, Farmville’s Duck Rabbit Brewery and Asheville’s Biltmore Coffee Traders. “We are also working with the NC Department of Cultural Resources,” King says. “For the box itself, we were lucky to find Carolina Packaging and Supply, Inc.”
Naturally, King wants to expand upon participants. He says they’ll ship product samples, merchandise, promotional materials, and anything else companies want to use in the box. “Since we are able to select recipients based on their preferences, businesses can narrow it to exactly who they think would enjoy their product,” King notes. “Breweries can reach out to beer fans, and local shops can reach out to people within a designated amount of miles from their location.”
Getting to know the varied businesses and entrepreneurs across the state has been a highlight of upstarting The Wright Club. “We are talking to businesses every day to build our partnerships and welcome all to the club,” he says.
The cost of the first Wright Club box is $10, and folks can pre-order at www.wrightclub.com. Readers of encore can save 20 percent by entering the promo code ENCORE during checkout (remember: Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21). Businesses interested in partnering can contact King through the website as well.