Beauty by Mail

Imagine having high-end beauty products picked out for you and sent straight to your door every month. This is what Birchbox has become notorious for in the last year, expanding a small business thought up by two women into a powerhouse service that continues to grow. The company have even gone as far as creating Birchbox Man, which provides personal care products exclusively for guys. Harvard graduates Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna co-founded Birchbox together because they “were inspired by the idea that every woman would want a best friend who’s a beauty editor and is helping them curate the clutter.” Beauchamp and Barna attribute the fast growth of their business to the help of YouTube beauty gurus and social media sites that have spread the word to potential customers.

The service is $10 a month and includes a box filled with 4 to 5 deluxe beauty samples that are then shipped straight to the address provided. Women interested in Birchbox must first register on the website. They will then be asked to fill out a beauty profile, which is essentially a survey that determines their needs and taste preferences in regard to beauty products. This profile generally determines what items will be chosen and shipped out in the monthly box.

Part of Birchbox’s charm is the element of surprise. Not knowing what is in the box can be exciting and something to look forward to, but it may also prove to be a downfall to the company as well. Similar services such as Beauty Army allow the customer to choose what items will arrive in their package, although their company charges $12 instead of $10.Birchbox strives to provide only the best for its customers. They have teamed up with companies such as Stila, Nars, Laura Mercier, and Kerastase to name a few. The company also tries to keep things interesting for customers by creating theme boxes that provide a variety of products that tie in together for a common purpose. In May 2012 the company featured a Gossip Girl box with products inspired by the hit CW television show.

Several subscription services just like Birchbox have begun popping up internationally, such as Glossybox in the UK and Glymm in Canada. Eco Emi is a $15 monthly subscription that sends boxes filled with eco-friendly samples of everything from food to home products and beauty, as well. These boxes make it easier for women to discover new products that they love (or maybe don’t love) without paying full price and without leaving the comfort of their home. While good old free samples are still an easy option to consider, the growing popularity of subscription services like Birchbox show no signs of slowing down. Beauty by mail is a thing of the future.

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