Birchbox CEO on the evolution of the disruptive beauty brand

Listen and subscribe

Don’t miss an episode: Subscribe to Retail Gets Real via Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher.

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.

Latest from Retail Gets Real

Chief protector: Inside the business of loss prevention
Security camera in store
Read more
Engaging consumers in a channel-less world
Anthropologie model wearing bandana and colorful shirt
Read more
R.Riveter: Empowering military spouses
Co-founders Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse of R.Riveter
Read more
How tech is evolving the customer experience at HSN, QVC and Zulily
Shopping for shoes on a tablet with coffee in hand
Read more
Poshmark challenges the norms of traditional retail
Straw hat, handbag, sunglasses and camera on a white wood background
Read more
MM.LaFleur empowers women in the workplace
MM.LaFleur model wearing suit writing on whiteboard
Read more