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.
The idea for Bichbox sprung from real-life experience. Barna’s friend was a beauty editor and asked Barna to test top products that she had curated for her. Wanting to recreate the experience for others, Barna says they launched “a subscription model” and “put some editorial content around it.”
Beauchamp adds, “every woman wishes that she had a friend that lived in New York and had access to this editor’s closet so that was kind of the customer side of the inspiration.” On the business side the thought was, “what industries haven’t really had their technical renaissance yet?”
With an idea and industry in hand, they began testing the concept.
In the video below, Barna tells Dixon they initially tested with 200 customers and eight brands over two months. They wanted to see if brands would be “excited about the fact that what we can give them ROI data” on their sampling efforts, data that had traditionally been lacking. And on the customer side, they wanted to see if customers would pay for samples if samples were delivered in an attractive presentation.
In both cases the answer came back yes. Birchbox now claims more than 45,000 paid subscribers and is growing. Last August the New York City-based startup raised $10.5 million series A from Accel, First Round and others.
Make sure to hear more of Barna’s and Beauchamp’s story by checking out both videos.
Past episodes of Founder Stories featuring leaders including Soraya Darabi and Lauren Leto here.
Launched in 2010, Birchbox is the discovery commerce platform redefining the retail process by offering consumers a personalized way to discover, sample, shop and learn about the best products and brands available. Birchbox members have first-touch experiences with products each month and access to educational content to help them get the most out of their products. Top brands like Kiehl’s, Benefit, Deborah Lippmann and Stila have partnered with Birchbox. To learn more about Birchbox, visit http://www.birchbox.com.
Katia Beauchamp is the Co-Founder of Birchbox, the discovery commerce company changing the way women shop for beauty and lifestyle products. Through its multi-channel platform, the Birchbox experience features personalized sampling, informative editorial content and a hand-picked online store. Katia began her career as an entrepreneur after graduating from Harvard Business School in 2010, where she met Hayley Barna, her Birchbox Co-founder. Their connection grew into friendship and the pair’s collaborative idea for Birchbox inspired the company’s debut in...
Chris Dixon is a Partner at and co-founder of Founder Collective. He is also a contributing writer for TechCrunch. He previously was the CEO and Co-founder of SiteAdvisor, which was acquired by McAfee, and Hunch, which was acquired by eBay. In addition to his work with Founder’s Collective, Chris is a personal investor in early-stage technology companies, including Skype, TrialPay, DocVerse, Invite Media, Gerson Lehrman Group, ScanScout, OMGPOP, BillShrink, Oddcast, Panjiva, Knewton, and a handful of other startups that...