Back in October, I'd read about The Little Black Box in the Etsy Forums. The idea is to send in your promotional products which are then sorted into outgoing boxes that go on sale monthly. You don't pay to do it, nor do you get money in return, but hopefully the exposure will bring you some new business. So I thought, "Hey, I'll try it out." I had read on the site that the more promos you sent, obviously, the more exposure you'll gain. Makes sense.
I spent a month assembling 150 single korker hair pony-o's to send out using my snowflake holiday ribbon. I was going to be in November's Little Black Box and thought it would be perfect for Winter. The whole thing turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself. Even the packaging was perfect. I included the bow on a hang card, a business card and a coupon for 15% off a single item in the store. Everything was sealed with a cute little mouse round sticker.
I shipped them out and waited to see what would happen.
On the LBB site there is a section in the forums for promotional item reviews. It's broken out into the monthly features and every participant has their own thread for customers to post reviews.
November came and went. I didn't gain any increase in traffic to the store. I didn't notice a change in items being hearted either. I also didn't have a single redemption on the coupon. I wondered if my items even went out. I assumed they did since I was included in the November box listing but I didn't even have one single review posted in the forum either. 150 samples were sent out and I didn't have anything to show for it.
Now mind you, all I knew about my audience was that they were interested in buying handmade items. I didn't know if any of them had any kids or knew someone with young kids. Perhaps some didn't even know what it was I'd sent them.
In any case, I would call my experience with The Little Black Box completely unsuccessful. You may have better luck (I've heard that some do really well), but don't invest too much time and effort. Maybe only submit a small number of samples, like 25, and see what happens.
I, for one, will not be doing The Little Black Box again and will try something that directly targets my intended audience rather than just "throwing it out there" and hoping it hits someone who may be interested.
Bottom Line: Mixed-Bag