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Accel-Backed Birchbox Makes First Purchase With JolieBox

Birchbox Inc., the online U.S. cosmetics company backed by venture firm Accel Partners, acquired Paris-based rival JolieBox as the startup looks to expand internationally and fend off competition.

Birchbox, known for sending monthly boxes of beauty samples to more than 100,000 subscribers for $10 a month, will use the purchase to boost its brand partnerships to more than 400, Katia Beauchamp, co-founder of the New York-based company, said. JolieBox, which has a “significant” base of customers will give Birchbox access to France, Spain and the U.K., she said. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“Our vision was always to define discovery retail globally,” Beauchamp said, referring to the business of introducing curated products to drive further purchases.

The decision is partly an effort to define discovery commerce abroad as Birchbox’s business model spawns dozens of copycats, and to help make the company “as big as possible,” she said in a telephone interview today.

Birchbox, started in 2010 by two women who met at Harvard Business School, uses the tailored monthly boxes to introduce customers, especially young professionals, to beauty products from brands such as Laura Mercier, Kiehl’s and Stila. The idea is to encourage full-size purchases of products they like at its online shop.

Beauchamp said more than 50 percent of customers go on to make purchases at the online shop based on samples.

Expanding Business

Its online tutorials and e-mails to more than one million consumers attract additional purchases on its website from people who aren’t necessarily subscribers, Beauchamp said.

The startup, which had 40 to 50 employees in February, now has about 90 and will add 25 staff members from JolieBox, Beauchamp said.

Birchbox is focusing on growing its business and recognizes it has multiple options in its future from being a standalone business to conducting an initial public offering to being acquired, she said.

Venture firms Accel and First Round Capital have provided financing for the company. The company has raised $11.9 million since its inception.

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