Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription service. Like its competitors Glossybox and Lookfantastic, Birchbox offers four or five sample-sized products in every box, with the option to purchase the full-sized product through its website.

Based in New York City, the US business was founded by Harvard Business School graduates Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna in 2010. It has since extended to the UK, Spain, France, Belgium and Ireland. It also has an online magazine and store.

Birchbox calls itself a disruptive “discovery platform”, providing a seamless path from discovery to purchase for customers, which gives beauty brands the opportunity to engage with customers in their own home.

Birchbox says most customers initially discover the brand via mobile; 70% of its sales and 80% of its traffic comes through its mobile platform. Personalisation is also a big focus for the business: customers fill in a beauty profile when subscribing, so they can get products tailored to their skin and hair types and preferences.

US drugstore giant Walgreens has a minority stake in Birchbox, leading to concessions in Walgreens stores and websites. The online retailer has also ventured into bricks-and-mortar stores: its first physical store was in New York’s Soho and it opened a pop-up in London’s Carnaby Street.

Birchbox has over 1 million subscribers with almost 200,000 in the UK.


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