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(Founder Stories) Birchbox: Helping People “Find What They Didn’t Know They Wanted”

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In part II of Chris Dixon’s interivew with Birchbox founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp, Dixon asks if Birchbox fits into what could be considered the trend of subscription commerce.

Beauchamp believes they do. Barna meanwhile points out “there are a lot of different flavors” of subscription. In comparison to Diapers.com, Barna says Diapers solves “convenience” and “replenishment” while Birchbox offers a way for people “to find what they didn’t know they wanted.”  The three discuss additional companies that occupy the space such as ShoeDazzle and BeachMint.

Recognizing their business model works, and that they could expand to sell more than beauty supplies, Beauchamp tells Dixon they chose the name Birchbox in order to offer flexibility to their users. For instance, Barna says “we have already tested non-beauty products” such as “tea or chocolate or stationary.”

Continuing their conversation below, Dixon asks about the challenges of growing rapidly. Beauchamp says one of the challenges was, “we waited a little bit too long to hire and it is just like this vicious cycle of you don’t have time to hire, because you are really busying doing everything, but of course if you hired you would have more time.”

The discussion then turns to talk of subscription becoming the new the daily deals business model, and the issues that go it (flooded with competitors for instance). Beauchamp says this is on their minds, but feels Birchbox’s distinct “voice” and “personality” offer defensibility.

Make sure to watch both videos for additional insights, along with part I of this interview. Past episodes of Founder Stories with guests including Ben Lerer, Kevin Ryan and Lauren Leto are here.