Working in fashion means you’re regularly gifted a lot of beauty products. And when I say a lot I mean a lot! (Why do you think I suddenly started covering beauty on Coco’s Tea Party? I had to do something with the samples). So the monthly subscription boxes that provide an edit of must-try makeup and skincare have never been much use to me – despite the fact they’re a brilliant idea. However, I’ve recently become a fan of Birchbox, who supply a monthly selection of beauty and lifestyle goodies. They’re the reason I’m currently obsessed with Weleda Skin Food and Chia Seeds.
Believe it or not, but Birchbox was only launched three years ago, by co-founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp. Hayley and Katia met at Harvard Business School, where together they developed the concept behind Birchbox. In such a short space of time they’ve become a global beauty brand, with their own online store and UK and European launches. They’ve even collaborated with Gossip Girl and InStyle magazine, producing special, one-off beauty boxes.
The Birchbox story is pretty inspiring, so I caught up with Katia Beauchamp over email to talk beauty and business…
CTP: How did you come up with the idea for Birchbox? What’s the story behind the brand?
Katia: We were inspired by beauty editors from our favourite magazines and their ability to bring the best new products, tutorials and experiences to life for their readers each month. We created Birchbox to combine this editorial experience with the opportunity to seamlessly discover, try and buy products.
Birchbox has become so successful in such a short space of time. When was your first ‘pinch me’ moment?
Definitely when I had my first conversation with Benefit CEO, Jean-Andre Rougeot! The first pinch-me moment was that he would take the call, and the second was when we got Benefit to sign up for our beta-test.
What’s the best thing about going into business with a friend?
For me, it seems impossible to do this any other way. Everyday I am grateful that we are in this together. It has been so amazing to have someone to completely share this experience with; it makes the ups better and the downs less lonely.
Katia’s Top Five Beauty Favourites: 1. Matriskin High Performance Cream | 2. TheBalm Cosmetics Instain Long-wearing Powder Staining Blush in Toile | 3. Yes To Cucumber Facial Towellettes | 4. Aromatherapy Associates Revive Body Gel | 5. Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil
Do you have any advice for those dreaming of making it big in the beauty industry?
Don’t stress about having all of the answers – work on having great questions. (Our new mantra here at CTP!)
The beauty industry moves so quickly. What do you think the next big thing will be?
Birchbox of course! Kind of joking, but I do think that we are an important part of the evolution of the industry. Birchbox helps every woman surmount all of the barriers of product discovery and find the things you never knew you wanted. We become your friend with insider access to the beauty industry, and we make sense of it all for you. In order to make this all happen seamlessly, we stay close to the exciting happenings in technology, personalisation and mobile. We don’t want you to ever worry about whether Birchbox is keeping up with your evolving lifestyle, we will always be right there with you!
Have you been inspired by Katia and Hayley’s business success? Do you like the idea behind Birchbox? Let me know.