Experience tastes and smells from around the globe without leaving your seat: that’s the promise of Try The World, a new service that sends subscribers boxes full of specialty treats from places most of us have only dreamed of visiting.
Try The World debuted in February with a Valentine’s day box full of macarons, chocolates and other gourmet French treats. “We sold out within 72 hours,” says Frenchman David Foult who co-founded the little business with American Kat Vorotova, adding “The buyers’ girlfriends must have been happy.” Emboldened by success, the “trip around the world from home,” as Foult describes it, soon took off.
The startup was born of a chance encounter between Vorotova and Foult. Both students at Columbia University, she was a globetrotter, and he an entrepreneur with a micro finance venture and stints at one of France’s largest banks and its Ministry of Finance already under his belt. They found each other at a cultural event and soon had the idea for Try The World. They modeled it after the highly successful cosmetics subscription service Birchbox. Launched by two Harvard grads in 2010, the founders of Birchbox raised more than 11 million dollars from Accel Partners, who were early investors in Facebook and Groupon.
Try the World is currently seeking investors. “Several companies that are publicly traded at the Paris Stock Exchange have contacted us saying, ‘We’re proud of French culture and we want to promote it among our clients and employees,” says Foult. For the moment, the venture is financed only by sales. For $45 dollars every two months, a box will arrive with new and exotic treats.
So where to first? The city of lights, of course! The “Paris Box,” a coffer in an inviting shade of mint green, is the star of the moment. It’s filled with French treats like chestnut cream, cheese, nougat and teas, as well as a list of recommended songs, movies, poems and tourist attractions to get you in the mood.
“I hope it inspires Americans to go get a passport,” says Foult, “70% of Americans don’t have one. They like the idea of going to France so much, but they don’t go.” Next stop: the “Tokyo Box,” and the “Rio Box” is in the works. After that? You decide. When you visit the page with the product descriptions, a pop-up window invites you to vote: Istanbul? Rome? The world is your oyster.