What: BeautyArmy, a beauty subscription service that lets you do the choosing—you get to hand-pick your samples online after filling out an online beauty questionnaire.
Differentiation Points (in their own words): CEO Lindsey Guest says, “We think of ourselves as Match.com for the beauty industry. Our customer has control over what they receive. We help them cut through the [beauty] clutter and test things that they want. There is a lot of technology involved in what we do. Our technology officer worked at NASA, he’s literally a rocket scientist.” Unlike other beauty subscription companies, Guest stresses that she doesn’t see BeautyArmy as a discovery platform, although there are elements of discovery. “We think of ourselves quite different. The waste element in the discovery platform is too big. We believe more in the opt-in model…working with the individual woman on their needs. [Although], there are definitely discovery elements in trying new product.”
Products: “We partner generally with high-end and niche brands. Brands have to apply [to be part of BeautyArmy], we try and test out all the products. If we love it, we will let it in.” Brands have included Jonathan Product, StriVectin, Shea Terra Organics, and Egyptian Magic. There is usually at least one full size in every month. Guest asserts, “percentage-wise, [it’s] 40% full size” and the rest a smaller sample size. After completing a questionnaire with a few questions and then selecting the type of samples you want to receive, the site’s algorithm directs you to nine picks. You select six of these picks to make up your box. The samples change each month and if you don’t like any of the selections, you can either change the answers to your beauty questionnaire to yield a different result or skip a subscription month.
Subscriber Base: Despite being only a year old, BeautyArmy is growing by 50% each month.
Brand Success Stories: “We think of ourselves as a marketing platform for the brand. Samples are never wasted, [and] every single person who receives it is more likely to buy the full size. One brand that did really well was Shea Terra [which uses products sourced from Africa]. We really put them on the map. They were just in InStyle two months ago and featured on TV segments. One of our main goals is to work with these small-end brands and increase their exposure.”
Future Plans: “We want to be number one in beauty. We want to help all the women, and save them time and money and the frustration of picking through the thousands of products online and in brick-and-mortar.”
Cost: $12/month, with a current holiday promotion of 3 subscriptions for $30.