Birchbox CEO on the evolution of the disruptive beauty brand

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Beauty company Birchbox pioneered the subscription box model, using data to create highly personalized experiences for consumers interested in beauty — but often overwhelmed by the experience of shopping for beauty products; it recently announced a partnership with Walgreens and opened its first bricks-and-mortar Walgreens locations in December. In this episode, Birchbox co-founder and CEO Katia Beauchamp shares more about the newly announced partnership and the evolution of the disruptive beauty brand.

Before Birchbox launched, Beauchamp and her co-founder Hayley Barna looked at the beauty market and saw a $500 billion industry that hadn’t been disrupted since the primary market shifted from department stores to specialty stores. In 2010, she says, only 2 percent of beauty sales were sold online. “We just thought, ‘Wow, this one feels obvious,’” Beauchamp says. “Within two days, we came up with a business model that was a personalized subscription paired with content, paired with ecommerce, so you could discover, learn and buy in one encapsulated experience.”

Beauchamp says the company’s big “a-ha” moment was realizing the average Birchbox consumer is very different from the consumer who is extremely passionate about beauty and spends a disproportionate share of their wallet on beauty products. Birchbox, rather, appeals to the more “casual” beauty consumer.

“It’s really just about learning how we’re going to be the destination for this woman who we feel has not been a priority of the industry, getting to the point of this intersection of delight and efficacy,” Beauchamp says. “She wants to get it done. It needs to be efficient, but it’s beauty. It should be fun.”

Although Birchbox launched as an ecommerce brand, moving into physical retail enhances the experience. “We believe that physical retail can just deepen that relationship,” she says, “and create something that is long-lasting for a new kind of consumer-driven business.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about the Birchbox-Walgreens partnership, forming meaningful human connections and how Birchbox leverages data to help beauty brands sell and market their products.

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