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Birchbox Launches Its Own Makeup Brand

In a move that will put it in competition with some of its partner brands, the beauty discovery company is moving into product development.

Tomorrow, Birchbox is launching a line of lipstick and eyeshadows created by a team of in-house product development experts, under the brand name LOC (Love of Color).

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Until now, Birchbox’s business model involved giving customers the opportunity to sample new beauty products from existing brands through its monthly subscription box. Customers could then buy full-sized versions of products they liked through the Birchbox website or brick-and-mortar store.

In this new twist, Birchbox will be developing its own products and brands that will sit alongside other beauty brands on the market. Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox’s cofounder and CEO, says that the company plans to roll out new products and brands on an ongoing basis, and these items will be sampled in the monthly boxes and sold through Birchbox channels. “We’ve had a product development team for years now,” Beauchamp tells Fast Company. “We’ve had a hand—sometimes a significant hand and sometimes a lighter hand—in shaping products that were coming from our brand partners. This drives a lot of value for consumers and, as a result, for the company. This is just taking that process to the next level. “

Katia Beauchamp

The first brand in the Birchbox stable, LOC, was conceived in collaboration with Tati Westbrook, the YouTube star behind the GlamLifeGuru channel. The products in this collection focus on bright vibrant colors that are on-trend and seasonal. The items are deliberately sized to be used for one season, so that the consumer can move on to the new set of colors that Birchbox will release every six months. Lipsticks will cost $8, while eyeshadows will go for $10 and the entire collection of colors will be available for $46. “We believe in not feeling like you are wasting products,” Beauchamp says. “With colors, things do change, and the nice thing about these products is that you can use them up and be done with them. We had the opportunity to simplify this process, which is what a lot of consumers are looking for.”

The Birchbox product team is also working on creating other in-house brands, one of which will be released in early 2016. Rather than diluting or confusing the Birchbox name, the team decided to create an entirely new beauty brand from scratch. “There is a lot of substance that goes into building a brand,” Beauchamp says. “We went through an entire exercise of asking what this new brand stands for, what it’s value proposition is, and what its reason to exist is.”

So how will these in-house brands fit into the wider spectrum of brands sold through Birchbox’s retail channels? Beauchamp says that Birchbox’s collaboration with existing beauty brands will remain a priority for the company; the product development team will continue to bring insights, data, analytics, and consumer research to brand partners. However, if Birchbox sees an opportunity to create something new that consumers are looking for, it will consider developing new products or brands to meet this need.

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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