Subscription-based businesses aren't exactly new - magazines and wine of the month clubs have used the model for many years.

But services like Netflix and Spotify have made a new generation of consumer more comfortable with the idea of paying a monthly fee for a product - while digital payments have made the process of signing up easier than ever.

"I think it works for people because it's totally digital; it puts everything back on to the customer and gives them full responsibility and control of their own schedule."

Roisin Lawless owns Chipped nail bar in Dublin City centre - which claims the mantle of Ireland's first subscription nail bar. 

It opened a year ago, and alongside walk in appointments, allows customers to pay a monthly fee in return for multiple treatments.

Ms Lawless dubs it Netflix for Nails, and it's proven to be a hit with customers

"Everything is done through Instagram," she says, "So they can make their appointments, they can cancel them, they can change the date that they pay their subscription fees, so everything is on them."

Chipped is one of a growing number of Irish businesses offering their products and services via subscription. In the US, where the subscription industry is already quite mature, and shoppers can sign up for a regular supply of all manner of goods.

"There is a brand called Smol which are producing a laundry detergent pod," says Dr Olivia Freeman, who lectures in consumer behaviour in DIT. "Smol are trying to disrupt the laundry detergent product category, others have had great success with this [model]."

Perhaps the most obvious example of success in the subscription business is Dollar Shave Club, which was founded in 2011 and offered users a regular supply of cheap razors and shaving equipment.

It was ultimately bought by Unilever for a reported $1 billion, with its Gillette brand even unveiling a subscription service of its own afterwards.

Of course there can be downsides to such services.

Consumers might unwittingly stay subscribed to a service that they no longer use, for example, while some report difficulty in cancelling a subscription when they've had enough.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission even has specific recommendations around avoiding the subscription trap - encouraging customers to read the small print before handing over their card details

But Dr Freeman says there are many reasons why consumers would be drawn to a well-run subscription service

"The barriers to entry for consumers are very low," she said. "There's a low cost, an ability to trial something and to easily cancel subscriptions as well."

For customers of BusterBox - the convenience factor appears to be a major selling point

"It's kind of a novelty when they first start off but then when [consumers] get into it it's actually convenient," said Gary Redmond, co-founder and managing director of BusterBox, which sends a monthly supply of dog treats and toys.

"They don't have to go to the pet shop, they don't have to worry about anything their dog needs, they could have it delivered to their door as and when they need it."

He said the subscription model has advantages for the business itself too - assuming they can build up a steady supply of customers.

"If you acquire a customer, you not only get a sale from them, you can continue to generate revenue from a single customer over and over again", he said. "[That's] very valuable to a company in terms of any kind of stock purchases, revenue prediction, projections into the future and obviously projecting your growth."

And it's not just businesses that are benefiting from the growth in subscription models - it's also given creators and artists a new way of funding their work

Fin Dwyer is a historian and producer of the Irish History Podcast. He helps fund his work through Patreon - which - as the name suggests, allows people to sign up as patrons to their favourite producers

"People who do become patrons of, say, my podcast get things like early access to the podcast, text references where they can read more about it, bonus podcasts," he said. 

Patreon is being used by a wide range of creators - from novelists to YouTubers - and has helped turn many labours of love into sustainable jobs.

Netflix and Spotify are often credited with reducing piracy rates as they showed people the value of paying instead.

Mr Dwyer feels that many now also understand that good content costs money to produce - and are increasingly willing to chip in to help foot the bill.

"In general people's attitude to how we engage with information, or anything on the internet, is changing," he said. "People understand that there's nothing for free - it might be freely available on iTunes, but ultimately it's costing money to produce."