Birchbox offers inexpensive, high-end beauty products for students to sample

At least 400,000 men and women throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Eurpoe look forward to receiving a small box every month.

The box, which contains four to five handpicked samples that have been handpicked for them, is brought to them by a service known as Birchbox.

Birchbox was created to help consumers survive the madness of the retail world and find cosmetic products that work for them personally. It was co-founded in 2010 by Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, two Harvard Business School graduates.

The process behind Birchbox is simple. After registering online, customers fill out a personal profile detailing information about their hair, style, skin concerns and beauty knowledge. Once a profile is complete, Birchbox sends customers beauty samples according to their preferences.

Every Birchbox box contains a different merchandise and ranging from skin care to fragrance, plus a non-beauty extra.

Birchbox costs $10 a month, which can be a drawback for people such as Jordyn Siko, junior environmental science major at California Baptist University.

“A friend of mine uses Birchbox and highly recommends it,” Siko said. “As a college student, I can’t quite afford using $10 a month, even though I would like to.”

Christina Dodd, junior nursing major, received her first box last month. She bought a full-size version of the lip balm sample she received because she liked it so much.

“I really like that you get a wide range of products such as tea, nail polish, perfume samples, moisturizer, Chapstick and a hair mask,” Dodd said. “I also like that it gives me the option to buy the products I like.”

Full-size versions of the sample products are available for purchase online. Customers earn points every time they buy a product, refer friends through social media and email or offer feedback. Any order over $50 always ships free.

Cassandra Ramey, senior political science major, first heard about Birchbox after reading beauty blogs online and has been using it for two years.

“Since I am a self-proclaimed makeup addict, it made sense to try a service  that let me try expensive products without the financial commitment,” Ramey said.

Ramey recommended Birchbox to those who want to try a variety of different beauty products.

“Birchbox gives you around five to seven samples of high-end beauty products for $10 a month, so it is relatively inexpensive,” Ramey said. “The only negative is that you cannot really control what type of makeup and hair products you receive, so if you get a box full of things you don’t really enjoy, you can’t return the box.”

Birchbox leads more than half of all their subscribers to purchase full-size products on their website. They also source their samples from both emerging lesser and well-known brands.

In addition to the women’s subscriptions, Birchbox launched a men’s subscription in 2012. It costs $20 a month for the men’s monthly boxes, but that is because they usually contain a full-size item such as a polo shirt or a tie. Men’s subscriptions deliver top-tier grooming products along with lifestyle accessories.

The company is constantly expanding, as Birchboxes also contains home goods, which have been offered as one-off tests and not part of a subscription.

About Kaitlyn Edwards

Staff Writer

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