If you're not one of the 30,000 American subscribers to the Allure Beauty Box, here's what you need to know: Launched last year, the subscription service delivers a batch of luxury-size beauty samples for $15 per month. The products are chosen by Allure's editors, led by Contributing Editorial Projects Director Patty Tortolani, and it comes complete with a mini-magazine of product reviews that go on to live in Allure's online library of over 8,000 reviews.
This isn't Allure's first beauty box offering — it previously partnered with Sample Society to distribute and market boxes that weren't always branded with the Allure logo — and publisher Agnes B. Chapski explained that the magazine decided to take the business in-house at Condé Nast last year both as another revenue source and to capture consumer data from subscribers. Current research shows that 80 percent of the subscribers are ages 25 to 54 and a third make over $100,000 per year.
"There are a lot of boxes out there," said Chapski. "We have a very pure story: Our editors curate the boxes and they have to be products that are worthy of being reviewed." The boxes exclusively feature "indie and prestige brand" beauty products, so subscribers won't find protein bars or other surprises that box subscription services often include. One sponsored product is featured in the box each month, but it is clearly labeled and isn't reviewed in the mini-magazine unless Allure already had a review on file.
After experimenting with two limited-edition boxes last year — one sampling Allure's Best of Beauty winners and the other on the theme of red carpet beauty — Chapski and her team decided to continue offering special boxes on specific themes. "Beauty is a lifestyle," she said, explaining that the brand identified "key areas that our consumer was wildly interested in," including weddings, travel and men's products for significant others. Realizing the value of cross-promotion and editorial input from other Condé Nast titles, Allure approached several sibling magazines to collaborate. "All of them said yes," said Chapski.
First up? A bridal box curated and designed by Allure's Editor-in-Chief Michelle Lee and Brides's Editor in Chief Keija Minor that features "the kind of stuff you need on your wedding day: fragrance, water-proof mascara," explained Chapski. The white, patterned boxes also come with a sticker palette so brides can customize them with their initials. Starting Wednesday, 5,000 boxes will be for sale on Allure.com and Brides.com for $49.95. (The retail value of the products is $131, according to a rep for the magazine.)
Next Allure will release a travel-themed box with Condé Nast Traveler in the summer, a back-to-school themed one with Teen Vogue in August and a male grooming box with GQ in October. The prices will range from $40 to $50, depending on the contents. Plus, the data gathered will allow Allure to identify more key themes for future limited-edition offerings.
Meanwhile, the monthly beauty boxes roll on and Chapski says Allure plans to expand to 50,000 subscribers by the end of 2016. When asked if the monthly themes might correlate to seasonal themes established by #TheLookIs, Condé Nast's upcoming multi-brand, social media friendly beauty content network, Chapski said it is under consideration. But the boxes will continue to rely on editorially driven curation that consumers trust Allure to deliver. "Every month we try to tell a story," said Chapski. "Credibility is really important."