I was president of the student body and I was captain of the cheerleading squad. I was a girl scout one year, and I got really frustrated with it because, when I sold cookies, I went door to door. What I didn’t know, because I was naïve, was that moms and dads sell cookies at work for their kids. I was superfrustrated that it wasn’t just about hard work. So I quit the Girl Scouts in protest.
Katia Beauchamp talks about cosmetic products the way a tech CEO might talk about a smartphone's functionality. Details, like the salt content in hairspray or the amount of product that clings to the tip of a mascara brush, are critical, and the beauty-junkie consumers her company serves rival Apple users in their tendency to be both obsessive and vocal about their products.
Beauchamp, 30, has been immersed in the beauty world ever since launching Birchbox with Hayley Barna in 2010, a few months after the two graduated from Harvard Business School, and her ability to speak her customers' language is key to the company's success.
At the earliest stages of venture capital investing, VCs prefer companies stay lean and spend their capital very carefully. But once they know they’ve got a winner, they want to fuel as much growth as they can, as fast as they can.
After having made over the faces of thousands of women (and groomed more than a few men), Birchbox, a subscription-based beauty sampling service operating in the U.S. and western Europe, is getting a makeover of its own. The three-year-old company is launching a global rebranding, extending to its packaging, website and to its European business.
When the grooming-products subscription service went looking for funding, it may have been too soon, says co-founder Katia Beauchamp. Here’s a better strategy.
Don't know much about Birchbox? The company launched in 2010 and has received $11.9 million in funding to date. The discovery commerce platform has 140 employees (100 in New York, the rest in London, Paris and Barcelona) who surprise and delight more than 300,000 subscribers every month with a box full of high-end samples that you can buy on the Birchbox website. (And no, this startup's not just for ladies — its bright new digs are indicative of the "de-pinking" of Birchbox. Haven't you see Birchbox Man?)
This week, we spoke with Melissa Enbar, director of recruiting at Birchbox. Read on to find out how to score a gig.
Special delivery: it's beauty by mail!
Each month Birchbox members receive a box of luxury beauty a delivery of exciting products that help their day-to-day routine.
Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, co-founders of BirchBox, an online ‘retail discovery’ company, now have an easy time recruiting. But the company wasn’t always a magnet for talent. Reviewing the phases at which they grew their team helps clarify recruitment at different stages in startup life.
Love to test new beauty products, but hate the commitment of buying (and frequently wasting) the full-sized bottles?
Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna were rooming together at Harvard Business School when they decided to solve that very dilemma with their business, Birchbox. For $120 a year, Birchbox subscribers get a box of sample-sized beauty products shipped to their home each month.
Birchbox, which offers a monthly subscription box full of new cosmetics and beauty products, is expanding to a new vertical today — home and entertaining and design. The company is debuting a limited edition box as well as an online shop featuring specially curated home décor and entertaining products.
Birchbox is one of those startups that’s hot with the New York tech cognoscenti but not everyone, here or in the Valley, understands exactly why. It tends to get lumped in with subscription commerce sites, but that’s not right — what it’s building is much more impressive.
Call it the deal of the month club 2.0. For $10 a month, these two Harvard Business School graduates deliver an assortment of cosmetic, grooming and lifestyle product samples to your home--heaven for beauty junkies. If you like what you try, you can buy a full-size version from the Birchbox website, delighting cosmetics manufacturers. Launched in September 2010, Barna and Beauchamp extended their business into men's products in April and now have 130 employees and more than 100,000 members--and, exhibiting the ultimate proof of a pioneering idea, a clutch of copycats.
Birchbox 2nd Anniversary—Thank You to All Our Subscribers!
Birchbox, which offers a monthly subscription box full of new cosmetics and beauty products, is crossing the Atlantic with the acquisition of Paris-based JolieBox (which offers a nearly identical service in Europe). Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed.
Birchbox, the subscription beauty product service, is having a big day. For one, it is the company's two year birthday, which it celebrated with an adorably silly video sent to subscribers this morning.
The Top 5 Reasons To Join Birchbox Man
Birchbox: Discover Beauty Better
A few months back, we introduced you to Birchbox, the 100% Renegade Recommended company that delivers high-end beauty samples to your door for just $10 a month. You have also read our rave reviews of products we have tested through Birchbox such as Color Club's Foil Collection Nail Polish. Now we would like to introduce you to the Birchbox founders and our Renegade Chicks of the Week, Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp. Featured on Inc.com's 30 most intriguing business owners in America under thirty, these two Harvard graduates are using their innovative idea to revamp beauty retail online.
Katia Beauchamp, 29, and Hayley Barna, 28, came up with the idea for their now white-hot company Birchbox-- which delivers a box of beauty samples to subscribers every month-- during their final semester at Harvard Business School and launched the startup months later in September 2010.
Birchbox, the New York City-based startup that provides a monthly delivery service of beauty and personal care product samples, seemed like a lark to some when it first came on the scene back in September 2010. At that time, web startups aimed at the female demographic existed, but the space has grown to be much stronger since then. And Birchbox's business model itself was a bit confusing to some people. Would anyone really pay $10 a month to get a box full of stuff they didn't specifically ask for?
The company is launching Birchbox Man, which will deliver a box of grooming and lifestyle products for $20 per month to a customer's doorstep. It might include four to five picks per month with samples like high-end shave gel, deodorant and skincare products from brands like Billy Jealousy, Costume National, Kerastase and Kiehl's. Then there are lifestyle products that might include headphones or socks.
When I met Birchbox co-founder Katia Beauchamp in the lobby of 60 Fifth Avenue last week, she was all giggles and compliments. "That sweater is great!" and "I love your Twist Band!" But when we sat down to discuss the launch of Birchbox Man, which goes live today, her demeanor changed and she was all business, fielding my questions with the intensity that only a Harvard MBA grad can muster over talk of beauty samples and female consumer behavior.
Last fall Stephanie Niezgoda went online and signed up for Birchbox, which sends her a box of beauty product samples for $10 each month. The 22-year-old engineer was wowed by the expensive moisturizer she received in a recent shipment and decided to switch away from her longtime favorite brand, Clinique. The new one "costs $125, and I normally spend $20," she says. That's why brands such as Elizabeth Arden are scrambling to give away samples to Birchbox's more than 100,000 subscribers. The success of the New York startup is inspiring a clutch of other online subscription services specializing in everything from tea to children’s clothing.
While Harvard Business School grads Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna were looking for a business idea, they noticed that the beauty product industry was seriously behind the times on the online retail side. They discovered that some of the biggest pain points for customers included the overwhelming selection of products and the inability to get a hands-on experience with the items before making a purchase. With that in mind, they created Birchbox, a company that mails women a box containing four to five deluxe beauty products every month. Their customers can test out a handful of new products from home and brands benefit from follow up purchases when the samples run out.
Founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp founded Birchbox, a $10 per month subscription service that sends beauty samples to members, last year. Less than a year old, Brichbox currently has around 45,000 users and 25 employees. Birchbox closed a $1.4 million seed round, from investors including First Round and Accel Partners. The service has expanded to giving beauty advice, via their blog. "We were inspired by the idea that every woman would want a best friend who's a beauty editor and is helping them curate the clutter," says Beauchamp.
Wrapping his interview with Birchbox founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp, Chris Dixon tosses out some interesting statistics. Roughly “92% of commerce is still offline and actually Amazon only has 6% of the online.” Dixon says it appears the first online wave of commerce revolved around hard goods (tickets, books and dvd players) and we are potentially entering a second wave where soft goods (beauty products) have an opportunity to claim more of the space.
Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp are co-founders of Birchbox and stopped by our studio to tape Founder Stories with Chris Dixon. Beauchamp tells Dixon that “Birchbox is a new subscription retail model” where customers fill out profiles and receive curated beauty products in the mail. The monthly fee is $10. If a customer is completely satisfied with a sample she can purchase a retail sized item through Brichbox's online magazine.
By now, its story is well-documented: Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp came up with the idea for Birchbox in December 2009 while students at Harvard Business School. They created a Netflix-for-beauty company that, for $10/mo. or $110/yr., sends subscribers sample designer beauty products, like Kiehl's and Nars. They were inspired by Mollie Chen, a former beauty editor and now its director of content.
Birchbox, a startup that serves as a makeup discovery retail platform, has raised $10.5 million in Series A round of funding, led by Accel Partners with First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, Forerunner Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Sam Lessin, Consigliere, Gary Vaynerchuck, Dave Morin, Stanford University Endowment and Andy Dunn participating in the round.
Female-helmed startups are having a hey day. Harvard Business School has bred the powerhouse duos behind Gilt Groupe, Rent the Runway and and a cosmetics company you may have heard of, Birchbox, run by Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna. Born out of the notion that women need a beauty editor to help them “curate the clutter,” Birchbox is a $10 monthly subscription service — you fill out a beauty profile, and then every month, a little box of high-end beauty samples from the likes of Kerastase, Laura Mercier and Nars arrive at your door. The YouTube channel offers product demos, and the website has tips and tutorials to help you “discover products you love.”
What if everyone had a friend who was a beauty editor—someone to sort through the gazillion products and tell you not just what's best, but what's best for you and how to use it?
Last week, I received a slender brown parcel in the mail. It contained a bottle of slate-colored nail polish, a tiny tub of facial scrub, rose-scented lotion, Italian herbal tea and a petite vial of perfume, among other things. But it wasn't a care package from my sister or a former college roommate.
Have you ever walked into your neighborhood Sephora only to feel utterly inundated by a sea of colorful beauty products? There are literally thousands of slots filled with bronzers, eye palettes, brushes, moisturizers, foundations, creams, creating a dizzying kaleidoscope of shades and scents.
In high school I used to swagger up to make-up counters, ask a bunch of questions, pretend I was going to buy something, then sheepishly ask for some samples. Which I usually got, but not without feeling rather undignified after the whole process. (Full disclosure: I still sometimes do this.)
Received $1.4M Seed Funding
Participation First Round Capital, Accel Partners, Sam Lessin, Dave Morin, Michael Dearing, Kirsten Green, Gary Vaynerchuk, Lerer Ventures