Birchbox raises $60M for monthly beauty boxes

Faith Merino · April 21, 2014 · Short URL:

The company plans to ramp up international expansion efforts and marketing initiatives

Subscription commerce has been a mixed bag, working for some but not for others. One company that seems to have nailed it is Birchbox, which announced Monday that it has raised $60 million in a Series B round led by Viking Global Capital, with help from First Round Capital, Accel Partners, Aspect Partners, Glynn Capital, Comcast Ventures, Sam Lessin, Consigliere Brand Capital, Slow Ventures, Red Swan Ventures and TriplePoint Venture Growth BDC Corp.

The company says it plans to use the new capital to ramp up global growth and expansion. Birchbox touched down in Europe back in 2012 with the acquisition of European rival JolieBox. Additionally, the company plans to increase investment in marketing initiatives, will refine its mobile app, fortify Birchbox Man, and expand its team worldwide.

To date, the Birchbox platform has amassed 800,000 subscribers, which is double that of August 2013. The company also has 800 brand partners, 6,500 products in its e-commerce store, and 250 employees altogether.

While co-founder and co-CEO Katia Beauchamp declined to break down the company’s subscribers by those receiving the Woman Box versus the Man Box, she did say that the men’s service has seen “dramatic growth and traction” since its launch in 2012.  

Beauchamp tells me that the company plans to grow its existing business in the U.S., UK, France, and Spain while it explores “potential new markets.”

Not every subscription commerce company has been able to make the tricky model work for them. In Birchbox’s case, it found a unique solution in its e-commerce store. While $10 monthly boxes of women’s beauty samples probably don’t generate a whole lot of profit, Birchbox has created a platform in which subscribers can try a sample and then go to the e-commerce store to order the full-size item. Currently, 30% of total revenues come from the e-commerce store, and the company previously revealed that a full 15% of e-commerce orders come from non-subscribers. Meanwhile, half of Birchbox’s subscribers go on to make purchases from the e-commerce store.

The company plans to open its first brick-and-mortar store in New York City this summer.

“With Birchbox, we are growing the existing beauty market by inspiring new customers to shop; we’ve learned where to invest for a leading industry position, and this raise will allow us to further grow our footprint and position in the beauty industry,” said Beauchamp, in a statement.

This is the first round of funding the company has raised since 2011, bringing its total to $71.9 million. 

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