We’ve been watching beauty sample and e-commerce site Birchbox with great interest since its inception this past September. In case this is the first time you’re hearing about it, the site offers a box of deluxe beauty samples for $10/month. You can then purchase the full size products directly from Birchbox. The site itself is rounded out with beauty stories and a loyalty point system that gives you discounts on purchases.
To celebrate a recent infusion of $1.4 million into the company, thus ensuing new growth, Birchbox threw a party last night at Lani Kai in NYC. Its founders were on hand to dish about the company and their new challenges.
Katia Beauchamp, one of the site’s co-founders, told us that they now have about 2,700 paid subscribers, and were on track to double again. Their November box has sold out. Right now her biggest concern is trying to make sure they can meet demand. Good news: Customized boxes (based on hair color, skin type, etc) will definitely be coming in December.
Customer feedback and product evaluation are a huge part of the site, and Katia said it's been robust. One of the biggest customer requests is to offer more color samples. Many brands don’t offer samples of say, different eye shadow palettes, but Katia is working with the brand partners to actually develop more of these samples to meet the demand.
Mollie Chen, the site’s director of content, explained how the beauty coverage on the site is curated. They imagine that they’re writing for their “best friends who want to learn about beauty but don’t want to spend too much time on it.” And in case you’re wondering, Mollie is testing orange lipsticks now, right on-trend. Early tip: she loves Guerlain Fruity Orange.
New employees include a dedicated customer service representative, a brand relations person (they currently work with over 20 brands, but anticipate this number reaching the hundreds), and a strategic operations person.
And our biggest question: Who packs all those boxes? While the founders used to pack boxes in their dorm rooms, they now have a third party logistics company to do this.
Congratulations and good luck to Birchbox as they continue blazing trails through beauty e-commerce.