CGN’s Insider Report: Beauty Box Subscription Services

Posted July 6, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Building Your Brand


I was an early adopter of Birchbox, signing up for it in July of 2011 nine months after its launch. The business model was a stroke of genius – an elegant solution to legitimizing beauty sample sales: offer a subscription based fee model, which allows consumers to receive 5-6 different samples customized for them on a monthly basis for a nominal charge.

The concept (of course) of a sample is you try it, you love it, you buy it… on Birchbox’s website. Or, somewhere else! Who cares? The brand is happy, Birchbox is happy, and most importantly, the consumer is happy!

Since then, similar ‘beauty box’ services entered the market, so In rounded up their top picks for us!

Beauty Box Five

This club gathers hot launches from established and niche brands, plus products from up-and-coming lines—and differentiates itself with a good showing of eco-friendly options. There’s a bit of everything in its turquoise box, but items tend toward the useful (Smith’s Rosebud Salve, sunscreen wipes) instead of the trendy or ultraluxe.


Co-founded by makeup artist and YouTube star Michelle Phan, this beauty community offers viewers detailed instructional videos (accessed online), as well as a service called Glam Bag, which sends subscribers a cute tote containing products picked out by the site’s “stylists” (YouTube beauty pros).


If it’s big in Asia or something fresh from Bulgaria, it’s in this site’s monthly lineup of luxe products. A mix of makeup, hair, or skin-care finds from niche and major brands, in travel, deluxe (i.e., slightly bigger than travel), and full sizes. Past boxes have included tubes of Missha BB cream (popular in Korea) and the latest crushes of fashion blogger the Man Repeller.


If you’ve recently given up on chemical straightening in favor of embracing your own texture, you’ll want to check out this site to help sort through all the styling choices and products involved with daily spiral maintenance.

Find more boxes, full details and pricing for each service here.

About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.