Sephora takes on Birchbox with new beauty box service

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Competition Sephora

Sephora takes on Birchbox with new beauty box service
In a move which sees the French-founded cosmetics giant step into direct competition with category titans Birchbox, Sephora has just announced the launch of its own beauty box monthly subscription service.

Weighing in at $10 per box, the new Play! By Sephora ​service will offer customers five products a month from across Sephora’s retail offering, which includes brands such as Marc Jacobs Beauty, Glamglow, and its own private label.

Having grown a million-strong consumer base since its launch in 2010, Birchbox has proven that subscription beauty services offer a lucrative retail category, and Sephora’s move will set the rival company up to take a slice of that action too. 

Beauty box successes​ 

There’s no doubt that the beauty box subscription model has established itself as a huge success within the industry, as category leader Birchbox’s projected growth continues to demonstrate.

Fortune recently reported that the brand is now setting out to raise a ‘Series C’ round of funding ​which would bump its valuation up to a hefty $750 million, with commentators suggesting this would see the company looking at gaining unicorn status in the not-so-distant future.

Both Hayley and Katia [Birchbox founders] believe the best days are ahead for Birchbox. After five years and more than a million customers, we are just getting started​,” a company spokeswoman recently stated. 

Such is the success of Birchbox’s service, that copycat models were always going to be sure to follow. Sephora will join an already strong range of competitors, including GlossyBox, Latest In Beauty, Nail Box, Julep, and more.

What’s new?

The novel aspect to Sephora’s model reportedly lies in its boxes’ ‘themes’, with which the brand hopes to capture consumer imagination. The first box, for example, has been dubbed ‘Uncover the Essentials’, a theme which looks to survey a range of beauty ‘must haves’.

The company is starting small though, with Boston, Columbus, and Cincinnati the only three cities set to test the service from September this year. If all goes to plan, the boxes are scheduled to launch nationwide in 2016.

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