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Sephora Is Launching A Birchbox Competitor

For just $10 a month, get your fill of samples from the beauty retailer.

Sephora Is Launching A Birchbox Competitor
[Photo: Flickr user arielaot]

For makeup junkies who can’t afford monthly shopping sprees at Sephora, the beauty retailer is introducing a more wallet-friendly option: a subscription box for just $10 a month, à la Birchbox.

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Dubbed “Play! by Sephora,” the new service will send subscribers five products per month centered on a theme of some sort–say, dewy skin or essentials. Sephora will also tuck in bonus samples and even Spotify playlists, according to Fashionista.

Sephora already has a following of loyal beauty addicts, which should give its new venture a leg up. But Sephora faces stiff competition from Birchbox, which also charges $10 a month and has by and large cornered the beauty box market. In just five years, Birchbox has corralled nearly $72 million in funding; the company supposedly brings in $170 million a year. Birchbox opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in July last year–but it still pales in comparison to a brand like Sephora, which operates 1,900 stores around the world.

Earlier this year, Sephora launched an “Innovation Lab” in San Francisco with the goal of creating new retail experiences for Sephora customers. The first product out of the Innovation Lab was an Amazon Prime-like subscription service called Flash. For $10 a year, Flash subscribers get free two-day shipping when ordering Sephora products online.

“Our digital innovations have always been developed with the client in mind—what will be useful and helpful to her, as opposed to trying a bunch of technologies to be buzzy and interesting,” Bridget Dolan, vice president of Sephora’s Innovation Lab, told Fast Company.

Sephora’s subscription box will debut this September in Boston, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio, with a U.S.-wide rollout slated for next year.

[via Fashionista]

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About the author

Pavithra Mohan is an assistant editor for Fast Company Digital. Her writing has previously been featured in Gizmodo and Popular Science magazine.

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