BFFs and business school classmates Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna had a beautiful idea: what if you could combine the insider know-how of a beauty magazine, the surprise element of a swag bag and the convenience of home delivery?
Just months after graduating from Harvard Business School in May, Beauchamp and Barna, both 27, launched Birchbox, an online subscription that delivers beauty product samples along with how-to content. Beauchamp calls it “Fruit of the Month meets Sephora meets Allure [magazine].”
After a summer test run, Birchbox launched in September. For $10 a month, subscribers receive up to five oversize samples from premium brands such as Benefit, Perricone MD and Kiehl’s. Members can also order full-size products from Birchbox.
Beauchamp said Birchbox serves people like herself and Barna.
“We’re part of a large and growing number of people who don’t have time to shop,” she said.
The women started the company with their savings and will seek investor financing as they grow. Only one month in, they’re ahead of their projections and aim to double membership by the end of the year. Their office is in Chelsea, and a New Jersey company does the fulfillment.
Birchbox works with about 20 beauty partners who provide samples to the company’s opt-in audience — people who shy away from assertive in-store efforts.
“I like that [Birchbox] does the shopping and editing for me and gives me a non-noisy environment to shop in,” said Rachel Shechtman, a retail consultant who has advised the company on marketing strategy, and who herself became a customer.
Members can also access interactive beauty content — how-to videos or a peek inside a stylist’s makeup bag. They can accumulate points through a loyalty program or by referring a friend and use them toward future purchases.
Jenn Falik, 31, an online commentator for MSN’s lifestyle channel Beauty BFF, said she’s bombarded by products and can’t sort through them all.
“It feels like someone actually took time to curate a collection of things they love, and they’re sharing [it] with you,” she said.
For more information, go to birchbox.com.