Birchbox, the New York-based startup that racked up more than 100,000 subscribers for its monthly kits of beauty products, is now aiming for a certain well-styled gentleman.
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, Kérastase and Kiehl’s. Then there are lifestyle products that might include headphones or socks.
“It’s not as obvious the we would go for men,” said Katia Beauchamp, one of the company’s co-founders. “When we launched Birchbox, we would have never guessed that this would be the next vertical.”
But when the Accel-backed company did a test run with a $45 limited edition Birchbox for men last fall, they ended up with thousands of prospective customers on a mailing list. That gave them a sign that they should consider launching a full monthly product geared at men.
“The prestige men’s grooming category is a smaller total market, but it is experiencing some of the fastest growth,” Beauchamp said. “We’re really exploring this idea of discovery retail. Customers love discovering new products or brands, whether they’re men or women. A Birchbox is a surprise and hopefully, it pushes you into things that could be fun.”
Birchbox has rounded up more than 100,000 subscribers who pay $10 a month to receive a box of beauty samples. (That’s an annualized runrate of at least $12 million if you’re doing the math and Birchbox is growing at 20 percent month over month.) But Birchbox also earns revenue from its online store. About 40 percent of the company’s subscribers go on to purchase full-sized products from the company within their first year.
“The e-commerce store is a substantial and growing piece of business,” Beauchamp said.
Could this double Birchbox’s subscriber base? Perhaps not for awhile, as Beauchamp said the overall size of the men’s market is smaller. But the higher price point at $20 could make up for this.
Birchbox has raised $11.9 million to date in two rounds led by Accel Partners and First Round Capital. It’s attracted a whole host of copycats for other target markets like Wittlebee for children and Lollihop for healthy snacks.