West Hollywood subscription box company FabFitFun is to try its hand at consumer-facing retail with a two-day pop-up launching Friday.
The company, which raised a $3.5 million Series A in late 2015 and reported 2016 revenue of $42 million, has tried pop-up experiences at business-to-business events in the past but never any open to the public. The success of those trade events in addition to the company’s expanded headquarters — it recently took over the entire 27,000-square-foot building — gave it the push to try something for consumers.
“We don’t believe retail is dying — just that it needs to be reinvented,” said FabFitFun cofounder and cochief executive officer Michael Broukhim, adding the company’s spin on retail is about curation and an interactive experience.
Visitors on Friday and Saturday will pay $49.99 for entry into the 660-square-foot pop-up, where they will be able to create their own FabFitFun box as well as peruse different interactive beauty offerings, including massages from Soothe, braid bar from Priv, color consultations from DP Hue and lip and highlight bar from Manna Kadar Cosmetics.
The store will be celebrated at an invite-only event Thursday evening, which expects Kyle Richards and Erika Girardi from the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” among the roster of guests.
More pop-ups on the trade circuit are planned, given their importance in exposing the business to prospective partners for box products. However, the company also wants to take the consumer-facing pop-up to other markets likely starting next year as a means of allowing members to meet with one another and also experience the brand in real life.
As for whether the business would consider a more permanent retail experience, the company appears open to all opportunities.
“Everything interests us,” cofounder Katie Rosen Kitchens said. “We are a true startup in the sense that there are dozens of ideas that get filtered through the office each day….I’ll never say never and I think certainly a full-time FabFitFun store is a possibility at some point.”
FabFitFun doesn’t disclose its specific membership numbers, but Kitchens said it’s in the hundreds of thousands. The company, which was at roughly 55 workers last summer, has ballooned to more than 120 people today, with Kitchens pointing out the business has grown quickly over the past 18 months.
That acceleration is being driven by a number of factors, Kitchens said, led by the company’s focus and refinement of box personalization and customization.
“When we launched the box with 2,000 members, they were very much like myself and my demographic and it was really easy to pick eight products that I liked and resonate with our members,” Kitchens said, noting that’s obviously changed the more the membership base has grown and diversified.
The company’s Select membership allows a customer to choose, for example, the pattern on a scarf or a lipstick color that comes in a box. In the spring, FabFitFun rolled out Choice, an option available to all members, allowing them the ability to pick certain products for their box, such as choosing between an earring or a cuff.
“It’s a limited idea of customization and personalization, but for us we really want to make sure that we get it right because I don’t think giving people random assortments of product is going to be the key to our success,” Kitchens said.