Since 2010, the beauty obsessed have been turning to Birchbox for almost too cute to open packages stocked with mini cosmetics and other must-haves of the moment, sent straight to their doorsteps each month.
But now, the online-based subscription sample service is turning the tables, and finally opening its long-rumored, first ever brick and mortar store, right in the heart of SoHo. (Where else?)
"The reason we started Birchbox was to make it easy, efficient and fun to discover new beauty products," co-founder Hayley Barna, who launched the company with former Harvard Business School classmate Katia Beauchamp, told amNewYork.
"We started online, but with this really important physical component-- samples to try at home-- so we always bridged the two worlds. The decision to open a store is sort of an extension of that ... bringing the Birchbox brands to life and then integrating technology and the digital assets that we have for a better in-store shopping experience."
The store, which opens its doors July 11 at 10 a.m., is a literal translation of the Birchbox.com experience, with new monthly products, customer reviews via iPads and personalized recommendations, plus added perks like a hands-on, Build Your Own Birchbox bar, a Try Bar for testing editors' favorite looks and in-store beauty services.
Here are 11 things you need to know before you go.
New products arrive each month
Whether you're a subscriber who loved your recent samples or a wannabe eager to get in on the action, one of the first displays in the store contains the products straight from the latest Birchbox each month. #FOMO, be gone! (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
Real reviews are at your fingertips
Ever yearn for the customer reviews you see before buying a product online when shopping in person? Simply choose the product you're looking at on one of the iPads around the shop, and get instant access to real customer reviews, plus see what the editors have to say. (Or you can ask a staff member, but who wants human interaction these days?) (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
You'll shop by product, not by brand
Just like the online shopping experience, the Birchbox store is organized by category (lips, eyes, hair, skin, etc.), not by brand, so it's that much easier to compare options and find exactly what you're looking for. (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
You'll always know what's hot
One wall of the store is always dedicated to the top online sellers of the moment. For the lady who prides herself on being on-trend (or just wants reassurance that she's buying a well-received product), this is THE spot not to miss. (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
See personal recommendations before you buy
In the mood to try something new? Answer a few simple questions about yourself, such as your age range, hair type and style on a touch screen, and you'll be able to see what products people similar to you have been buying and enjoying, all available in the store for instant gratification. (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
You can test the latest trends
The hottest beauty trends of the moment, as told by the Birchbox editorial team, are on display at the "Try Bar," where you'll get step-by-step, magazine-style tips, plus a variety of products to recreate each look with on your own. Hot right now? Bold lips, arched brows and a bronzed glow, of course. (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
It's more than just beauty
Birchbox goes beyond beauty, with a range of lifestyle products to complement the cosmetics. From tea cups and candles to headphones and jewelry, "the Birchbox consumer understands that beauty is a part of life," Barna says. (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
BYOB (Build Your Own Birchbox!) is probably the best part
For an interactive experience, build your own Birchbox, selecting everything from the color of your box to the five products inside it. Offerings change every month, and can range from nail polish and facial cleanser to perfume and eyeliner for a total of $15. (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
Your hair-washing woes are over
Downstairs is your soon-to-be best kept secret: a space filled with dry shampoo and other products dedicated to those who want to skip a few washes. Maybe you're lazy, in need of a quick pick-me-up or have delicate strands. We're not asking questions. (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
It's fun for men, too
If your guy is complaining you dragged him along on your oh-so-girly shopping expedition, send him downstairs to Birch Box Man, where he can browse shaving cream, cologne, hair gel, fancy socks and more. A little taste of luxury for him, and a well-groomed man for you-- that's what we call a win-win situation. (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
Head downstairs for pampering
While you're downstairs, indulge in some pre-night out pampering, whether it's a hot tool hair-styling session (choose from a bun, braid, glamour curls or beach waves; $30), an on-trend makeup application (try the blue cat eye if you're in the mood to be bold; $30) or a manicure (the nail polish selection is as crazy as you would expect; $10-30).
Plus, Birchbox subscribers can attend weekly classes for free ($30 for non-subscribers). The first class, taking place the week of July 21, will focus on contouring tricks.
Where: 433 West Broadway
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Contact: 646-589-8500, birchbox.com (Credit: Nina Ruggiero)