Who’s your average customer?
What’s been interesting to learn as we’ve grown as a company is that we really have a wide appeal.
We appeal to young women who are just getting into finding the products they’re going to love for years, older women who have been using the same products for years and haven’t changed their routine but are now finding new products as a result of Birchbox, beauty junkies, and those who absolutely hate to make that trip to Nordstrom or Sephora.
We definitely have a core customer; the average is a young professional who is savvy, urban and highly educated.
Hayley and I started the company thinking that this was something that we needed a lot of; the early customers we attracted really have a similar profile to us.
But as we’ve grown and received press and have had customers talk about us in social channels, the demographics are always changing. And we’re always nurturing that because we see a lot of value in all parts of the spectrum—the young girls who talk a lot and will be chatting about what Birchbox is and what they’re finding to the customers who are quieter but finding what they love.
Are men using the site?
We actually launched a limited-edition box for men for the holidays and that has been great for raising our awareness. It was interesting to see whether men would like it, and it did really well.
Men also want to be surprised and delighted, and they like to be educated in a way that’s tailored and edited down from all of the content out there.
What questions do you ask during the subscriber sign-up process?
We ask everything from age and where you live to your biggest beauty concerns, your hair type, if you classify yourself as classic or trendy, etc. It’s a simple questionnaire that can be answered in just a few minutes.
How do the customers’ answers help you fill their sample boxes?
It helps us curate each box. If we have a product that’s specifically targeting dry or color-treated hair, we make sure to send that to customers who have identified as that. If we have something that’s for sun protection and we have customers with fair skin and concerns about sun protection, we can send it to them.
It seems like the process for choosing products for so many people would be overwhelming. How does it work?
It can be difficult, but each month we decide on a theme that anchors some of those decisions. Some products are also classified as every-woman products because they have a wide demographic reach. Then there are products that are very specific, such as tinted moisturizer, antiaging products, etc. In the end, it is all based on our customers’ beauty profiles.
[Photo caption: Currently, Birchbox’s ever-growing list of beauty brands numbers about 150.]