Local Startup Adventures in Boise Sends "Experiences" by Snail Mail 

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Each hand-lettered envelope from Adventures in Boise is intended to be a gift in itself.

Adventures in Boise

Each hand-lettered envelope from Adventures in Boise is intended to be a gift in itself.

At the age of 26, Jennifer Godoi was bitten by the adventure bug; she took a trip to Morocco, and her experience abroad turned her world on its head, sparking a fascination with foreign countries. Back in the U.S., this love of the new and different inspired two Idaho businesses—first, Paint N' Sip, the successful wine bar/art studio in Garden City that Godoi opened in 2012, and now Adventures in Boise, a startup subscription mailing service that delivers adventures by post.

"I love to go off and do things," said Godoi, an energetic woman whose easy smile grew as she spoke about her experiences overseas. "I drive little tiny cars through ridiculous amounts of countries. I did 26 countries this year. I drove through the Sahara Desert twice in a little Fiat Seicento, which is smaller than a [Volkswagen] Rabbit, just a tiny little car. I just love doing stuff like that—I love going off and trying new adventures, trying new things. My friends know that, so a lot of times I get a phone call asking, 'Hey, my friend's coming to town, what should we do this weekend?' or 'Where should we go eat?' or 'What's coming up that we should know about?'"

click to enlarge So far, Adventures in Boise has been a hit with couples, who use it to escape the date night rut.  - ADVENTURES IN BOISE
  • Adventures in Boise
  • So far, Adventures in Boise has been a hit with couples, who use it to escape the date night rut.

Adventures in Boise is Godoi's way of answering those questions—not just for her friends, but for anyone in Boise who is wondering what to do on a night out. Partly inspired by Loot Crate, a subscription service that sends out boxes of geek and gaming merchandise, Godoi and her business partner Michael Marvos created a service that will send monthly adventures to subscribers in the form of local business vouchers and accompanying trinkets. The mailings, which cost $30 for the first month and then $25 per month after that (with discounts for couples) arrive in intriguing, hand-lettered envelopes that look almost like treasure maps.

"Instead of sending people stuff, we send them experiences," explained Marvos, co-founder and operations manager of the growing company.

Past adventures have included archery lessons at Dead-On Archery, rock climbing at Urban Ascent, an escape challenge at Boise Escape, dance lessons at Heirloom Dance Studio, a black light ropes course at Bodies in Motion and painting classes at Paint N' Sip, with experiences like sword fighting and cheese making potentially in the works. The subscription base is still small—as of Nov. 15, about five months after the official company launch, Adventures in Boise had a total of 20 subscribers—but it's growing. So far, Marvos said the service has been a hit with couples who are new to town or stuck in a date night rut.

"We help you solve the 'What do you want to do? I don't know, what do you want to do? Let's watch TV' problem," he said with a grin.

According to Godoi, who has taken on the title of co-founder and chief financial officer, the slow pace of subscribers isn't too worrying; she and Marvos aren't drawing salaries, and for her, the business is still in the "for fun" stage.

"Slow growth is what we want," Godoi said. "We want to keep the people happy. We want to make sure our customers are having a good time, that we have a good relationship with these local Boise businesses."

Supporting local businesses is a pillar of the Adventures in Boise philosophy; Godoi and Marvos want to go a step beyond Groupon by keeping the partnership free for businesses, who simply have to agree to opt into the mailings, and offering customers the going rate in order to encourage repeat visits.

click to enlarge Each Adventures in Boise envelope contains trinkets customized for the adventure of the month. - ADVENTURES IN BOISE
  • Adventures in Boise
  • Each Adventures in Boise envelope contains trinkets customized for the adventure of the month.

Apart from supporting local businesses and spurring Boiseans to embark on adventures, Adventures in Boise is about the magic of the mailing itself. Each envelope is unique, and takes Godoi's roommate Ally Jardine—who is an IT worker by day and artist by night—about 20 minutes to hand-letter.

"Nobody gets mail any more, or all the mail that you get is just junk mail, stuff that you don't want," Marvos said. "So when you get something that's made for you...then that's really special."

Godoi agreed, adding, "It was really important to me that the mailing be just as much of a gift as the actual activity...That's why we always put in something little to tie in...Like for the rope climbing [adventure], we put in a little instruction book on knots and a couple of pieces of climbing rope, little tiny climbing rope so that [our subscribers] could practice some knots."

The trajectory of Adventures in Boise is uncertain, but Godoi sees huge potential for the company; Adventures in Seattle or Adventures in Portland may be on the horizon in years to come. For now though, the founders are still brainstorming ways to monetize the business while keeping prices low. Marvos said one option would be to include coupons in their monthly mailings to advertise local businesses that don't quite fit the adventure profile or price range.

In the meantime, the pair hope to see business pick up around the Christmas season. As Godoi put it, an Adventures is Boise subscription is a "repeat gift," the kind that keeps on giving.


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