Since Mollie was a beauty editor and our first hire, we’ve always had content as a big part of what we’re doing. There’s a lot of information about products online, but it’s all very separate from the other things customers are doing, which is finding products, trying them and then trying to shop them. So for us what made sense was bringing the content to you relevant to the products that you’re trying and also in an environment where you can shop.
The magazine launched from day one and really focused on supporting the products we were selecting to be in the box in addition to other products that made sense seasonally and theme-wise. We also write about things that we don’t sell. That continues to be what we do today. We have a larger editorial team than we did in the beginning, but its focus is creating content for the magazine and our blog and promoting it [through] social channels. We also create quite a bit of video that lives in the magazine section of our site. All of the different channels tie into one another. Everything is co-merchandised. If you’re reading an article, you’ll see products that relate to it will be merchandised in the story alongside. If you’re in an ecommerce environment looking at a product, you’ll see that we link out to articles, and we have relevant videos embedded.
You can find all of our videos at birchbox.com/video/list, and they are largely how-to content or short-form product videos about what a product is like, what you should expect, etc.
Our focus is to solve the problem of discovery, and we felt online was a great place to accomplish that goal. Discovering beauty products online is especially challenging because you want to smell it and try it and touch it and that’s really hard. So our vision with Birchbox was to solve part of that problem by having our offline product, the Birchbox.
We certainly miss out on people just walking by and coming into a store, which is—especially in New York City—a big part of how you can sometimes find the store itself.
And, of course, we are targeting a certain demographic of customers who are shopping online and who are comfortable shopping online—and that’s definitely a smaller pool than the total potential audience.
On the flip side, we can be everywhere in the United States at once with one store, which is really powerful. And we can truly capitalize on social media because when people are talking about us, there’s something for them to easily link to and send people to.
We really want to deliver the best to our customers. We want to deliver the most amazing service to our brand partners. We also want to be seen as partners in this entire, huge beauty industry that’s filled with very smart people.
We’ve had an incredible first year, but we feel like there’s so much more we can do to be a contributing member of the ecosystem. That means building out what our offering is, working on how our marketing and editorial continues to work together, growing our subscriber base and continuing to think and ask about what else our subscribers want from us.
Liz Barrett is a freelance journalist based in Oxford, MS.
[Photo caption: Birchbox logo]