Birchbox burst onto the beauty industry scene in 2010 with their product sampling model. Women of all ages immediately embraced it- what better way to try new beauty products than in a pre-packaged box delivered to your doorstep? Since then, Birchbox has grown to encompass different markets, including expanding their services to Europe.
We sat down with Katia Beauchamp, Founder and Co-CEO of Birchbox, to see what the company has been up to since its launch.
1. Birchbox is the leading discovery commerce platform, where do you see this type of commerce headed with so many other companies jumping on the bandwagon?
We created Birchbox to solve the problem of product discovery in beauty online; there are so many different products and brands in beauty–thousands a year–and we believed that there was a more efficient way for brands and consumers to connect. The Birchbox model is designed to drive product discovery in a way that is fun and also effective. We also recognized that the concept can apply to many industries, where there is a lot of competition and products- we launched Birchbox Man in April 2012, and in that service we “sample” both grooming and lifestyle products. Based on what we see in that business, we know that our model extends to the large category that is “lifestyle” and we will continue to explore new categories that have strong opportunities to succeed.
2.Can you tell us more about Birchbox Man? What category seems to be more in demand, hair or skin care? Is BirchBaby on the way?
We started seeing demand from both our women subscribers and men who wanted to see a Birchbox geared towards them. We released a Limited Edition Men’s Box for the holidays in 2011 and it sold out in days. We shipped our first Birchbox Man box in May 2012, and have seen tremendous growth since then. The difference with our men’s box is that it has a stronger focus on lifestyle items. In every box, men receive 3-4 grooming samples, and 1-2 full size lifestyle products such as stylish socks, cool barware, or a bright watch.
As far as grooming items, the demand for both hair and skin care products are growing very quickly. I do think men are paying more attention to their skin routine and making upgrades, particularly when it comes to shaving. We’ve seen a trend towards products like Mr. Natty’s Beard Elixir and Proraso Shaving Cream, which are enhanced with moisturizers and toners. A quickly growing category for men is also in body, with products like deodorizing wipes and body powders.
We don’t currently have plans for a Birchbaby box. Right now we are focusing on our women and men’s businesses in the US and Europe, but we are always thinking about new verticals.
3. Congratulations on your Paris-based JolieBox acquisition, will the two companies keep their own brand identities or eventually be the same as far as brands and assortment?
Eventually JolieBox will be completely re-branded as Birchbox. The UK business officially launched as Birchbox UK as of mid-January. We’ve always been aware that the need for discovery is universal, and we are committed to creating a service in all of our markets that truly defines discovery for brands and consumers.
4. What do you and your merchants see as the HOT beauty trends this spring/summer?
We’ve seen some great beauty trends for this summer and they are definitely a departure from the coral tones of last year. White nails were a huge runway trend for spring/summer at shows like Rag & Bone and Karen Walker. Deborah Lippmann’s Amazing Grace shade, which just hit our shop, is the perfect summer white. Blue-accented eyes have started to come back, but in a modern, updated way. A swipe of blue liner such as stila liquid liner makes the trend subtle enough for day.