A few words with a Marketing Manager at Birchbox

Albert Botet is Marketing Manager at Birchbox Spain. 33, Casual, cool Millenial, degree in Business Administration, Advertising & PR, Master in Internet Business and IESE Executive MBA candidate 2018. Outdoor sports fan, good skier, marathon runner and ironman.


The Fashion Retailer: Could you define what Birchbox is? 

Albert Botet (AB): Birchbox is a monthly subscription beauty box service that helps women (mostly) redefine their beauty routine and discover new products in a very comfortable way. We also have a strong e-commerce platform in which customers can purchase all those products they discover and like thru the box experience.

Our commitment is to bring to their door step, every month, new brands and products they have never heard of.

We are currently in 5 countries US (New York, HQ), FR, UK / IRE & SPAIN and send more than 1.000.000 boxes every month worldwide.

TFR: What’s the business model of Birchbox? What’s the value proposition? 

AB: Our business model is based on a monthly rebillable subscription and the eshop. Both business units are equally important for the company in order to offer a complete beauty service to our customers.

The value proposition and approach to the market is quite unique. Birchbox is the first mover of the beauty subscription boxes and the discovery ecommerce. We create a specific product (box) for each of our customers based on their beauty profile and their shopping habits. Adapting the product sourcing in the box to their beauty needs is key for our success.

Birchbox is the first mover of the beauty subscription boxes and the discovery ecomm.

What Birchbox has brought to the beauty industry is the way of discovering new products based on real customer needs and concerns. Before Birchbox jumped into the market there was no value given to the beauty samples and brands could never get feedback or keep track of what happened with them.

Birchbox beauty and cosmetics start up_fashion retail blog

Making cute design boxes with a selection of 5 beauty products that are specifically selected for each customer is the key success factor that has changed the rules of the game.

TFR: Who are your competitors?

AB: After Birchbox, many monthly box subscription companies have appeared in many industries: fashion (specially for men), wine & beer, food, sport nutrition, pet food & accessories and also for the sex industry. It’s good to see that the business model as a whole is growing consistently worldwide and thru many different sectors.

Diving into the beauty boxes, the biggest competitors Birchbox is facing nowadays are Ipsy (in the US) and Glossy (in the US & UK). Competition in France & Spain is not relevant in terms of volume.

TFR: What’s your biggest challenge?

AB: Our biggest challenge as a global company is to keep growing in terms of brand awareness and target penetration (we are not a start-up, but still a young company). We aim to reach the “beauty majority” and that includes nearly all women in an age range between 18 and 65.

Looking into the Spanish market, our main challenge is to build confidence around the online channel. Many brands are still reluctant to invest in the online channel. Beauty sector in Spain is still a strong believer in paper magazines and offline advertising.

Compared to the US & UK, where we find a more “digital” customer, Spain is still behind in terms of e-commerce penetration. We are growing steadily but some years are needed in order to reach the US levels.


TFR: Do you envisage to test offline retail with, for example, a pop up store?

AB: Birchbox has 2 stores, one in Soho, New York, and the other one in rue Montmartre, Paris, which has opened it’s doors during Q1 ’17.

“Offline retail is a key business unit for the company, it helps unlock certain brands (high end) and builds confidence and points of touch with our subscribers”.

TFR: Do you think men cosmetics is the next big trend?

AB: Men cosmetics is definitely a growing trend and market but it’s still behind in terms of women’s cosmetics category. The truth is that men seek for simpler products (all-in-one) and are not as concerned for skin aging and treatments.

Birchbox US has a monthly subscription for Men: https://www.birchbox.com/men and works as an independent business unit.

In the rest of Birchbox markets there are Limited Editions for men launched every, but there isn’t enough volume for a monthly subscription yet.

A day in the Life of a Marketing Manager at Birchbox Spain

AB: Working in a start-up is somehow a very special job. It is fundamental to be a highly motivated person because you are taking your job with you everywhere. A start-up needs constant care (almost 24/7).

It is really challenging to build up a new company and also to introduce a new business model in the market.  The work load is double in terms of raising brand awareness and in terms of adapting the business model you have in mind to the real needs of the market.

A day in my life as a Marketing Manager at Birchbox starts every morning (8:30am) with a quick look at the MKT calendar and making sure all campaigns are ready to be launched. It is crucial to collect all the data, from the previous day campaigns, to understand what went well and what didn’t perform as expected in order to make adjustments and modifications if required.

“Working in a start-up is somehow a very special job. It is fundamental to be a highly motivated person because you are taking your job with you everywhere”.

Understanding the behaviour of our customer during all its journey makes work much easier when deciding in which paid media channels you want to invest.

Once the day is “on”, we keep track of how all channels are converting and we are constantly taking decisions so we are able to optimize channel investment. The difference between online & off line marketing is that in 2 – 3 hours you are able to know if your campaign is going to be successful, and this is great.

During the rest of the day you have to work on advanced planning of future campaigns (which is the key to success and good performance) and also continuously think how can you do things in a much better and more efficiently way.

The most important skills a start-up team member must have are optimism, energy, creativity and business point of view.

This is the first of a series of interviews hosting people from the Fashion industry that I will regularly update on fashionretail.blog

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