Who doesn’t like getting a present delivered to their doorstep? There’s been a steady but aggressive growth in the luxury goods sample market (beats me what the more official name might be). Birchbox first hopped onto my radar last year and since then I’ve started paying attention. One of the last rounds of demo days in New York by DreamIt Ventures featured another one of these types of monthly sample subscription services which tells me one of two things.
1) The model is working (a year later), hello copycats
2) The market, or the people with the money in the market, believe there’s still value to be mined in this space
I’m not saying Birchbox was the first, but it was the first one to market itself in a way that caught my eye. If you actually think about it, it’s hardly new at all. Subscription services have existed for custom beers, bacon, wines, fruits of the month, etc for years. These deals have been around for awhile, just not applied to the luxury space. It’s a clever idea and a clear cut business model. Samples are cheap, and subscriptions with automatic renewals are a clever way of hooking and keeping your revenue stream steady as she goes.
Recently BB managed to snag my attention again via its partnership with Ms. Paltrow’s GOOP. Given their respective target markets, I imagine this would be a great partnership for the both of them. Looks like celebrity endorsements and curated content is in demand. In any case there’s room to grow here and absolutely in the global sense. Birchbox is on the move. With some serious backers and capital behind them, they’ve just acquired Joliebox earlier this year to get their foot in the European door. I imagine Asia won’t be too far behind. May the fastest player win.
Don’t fret men, in the sea of beauty products out there, there’s also been plenty of new male oriented subscription services featuring “manly” things, too, like…shaving cream, aftershave, and uh, citrus-y smelling products. You know, because guys like that stuff.
Sean Percival of Wittlebee put together a lovely little matrix on the space awhile ago highlighting the biggest players in 2011. Kissmetrics created a nifty infographic followup to Sean’s comments that summarizes the state of the subscription ecommerce “box” arena as of the end of 2011. More recent data however, is available by CBInsights. You can find up to date graphs on venture funding in this space on their blog here.
List of recent subscription ecommerce subscription sites (thank you quora columbia student…)