Entrepreneur Yosef Martin would like to set the subscription beauty-box model on its ear.
While there’s certainly no shortage of options in the space — including Sephora’s well-publicized entry — Martin, who is chief executive officer of the year-old beauty-box purveyor Boxycharm, has a different take on the popular concept. Rather than expecting companies to provide sample-size (or even full-size) products for free, he pays production costs, including cost of goods, for products included in each monthly box. He sends boxes to his 50,000 subscribers for $21 a month.
Each box contains four to five full-sized products, which Martin says consistently top $90 in value for each box. “It’s a discovery concept and a way to make sure we’re getting the best possible [lowest] cost of goods,” said Martin. “I also wanted to make sure that I could consistently provide good products, and it also allows us to be very selective of what we put inside.”
Beauty experts from the social media and customer service departments at Boxycharm, as well as top beauty bloggers and influencers, converge for curation meetings twice a week at Boxycharm’s Miami headquarters, where product submissions are tested across all skin types and tones.
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Thus far, Martin has worked with more than 60 brands, including Tarte, Oscar Blandi, Mally Beauty, Vincent Longo and Cargo, and is working to feature indie brands (which he notes are a key driver in snagging Millennials) and bring global beauty brands not yet distributed in the U.S. Stateside. Upcoming brands include Ardency Inn, Blinc and Tatcha. While the boxes offer a wide variety of items, they skew toward color cosmetics at the moment, he noted. The November box’s assortment: Luxie Rose Gold Concealer Eye Brush 211; Pūr~lisse Pūr~eye adore Quadra Benefit Eye Serum; Manna Kadar’s Lucky Lip Stain; Coolway Leave-In Treatment and Studiomakeup Soft Blend Blush Sahara.
Martin also makes sure that there isn’t overlap in categories each month. “If you’re a skin-care brand, you’ll be the only skin-care brand in the box that month,” he said. “And if you receive, say, a hydrating product one month, that category won’t be repeated the next month, so they get the true usage from the product.”
In the first quarter of 2016, Boxycharm will begin working with brands to include products they are market-testing, a concept Martin’s calling Boxycharm Lab. “We can offer the proposition of ‘let us produce the product. Don’t worry about naming it yet or the packaging.’ The subscribers will have the chance to try something that isn’t on the market yet, and they’ll put the reviews behind it, so brands will know if there’s anything they need to tweak,” said Martin, who noted that these types of products are slated to appear as one of the four or five monthly items after the program is launched. The concept came up, at least in part, as a result of a conversation Martin had with executives at Oxygen Development, which creates color cosmetics, skin-care and bath and body-care products.
Martin’s also got an innovative incentive program. Charms are earned when users (aka “Charmers”) review items. For each review, users earn 50 charms, and by referring friends, they earn 500 charms; also, remaining an active subscriber earns 250 charms a month. In dollar figures, 1,000 charms equals $10. Charms translate into currency that can be used to purchase any products in Boxycharm’s online shop.