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  • 06.03.16

Birchbox bets on retail stores to help it finally make a profit

“We are not in the business of selling people samples.”

Or so says Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox cofounder and CEO, speaking to Bloomberg. Her makeup startup has been struggling of late, as the novelty of a try-before-you-buy makeup subscription loses its luster and competitors vie for market share. As it turns out, it’s hard to turn a profit by selling a monthly box of trial-size beauty products. In January, Beauchamp laid off 15% of Birchbox staff. 

Her solution: Hiring a former Sephora executive as COO and building out retail stores stocked with full-size products. Other e-commerce startups, including Bonobos and Warby Parker, have adopted a similar approach, with mixed success. AH