Photographer: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Birchbox
Beauty

Birchbox to Start Selling Its Own Beauty Products

It's a first for the beauty subscription service and a bid to compete with Sephora and Ulta.

Birchbox made its mark sticking other brands' samples inside the namesake boxes subscribers receive each month. Now, in a move mirroring that of such established retail competitors as Sephora and Ulta, Birchbox will be adding its own in-house makeup for the first time.

Birchbox's new makeup line, LOC, which stands for Love of Color, includes sets of lipstick and eye shadow that cost between $22 and $49. Two collections, developed by Birchbox's internal team, will be released each year and the company says it will follow the makeup trends of each season. The idea is to allow Birchbox to address those trends without relying on other labels.

"We’ve been working closely with so many of our brands for many years with product development," said Birchbox Chief Executive Katia Beauchamp. "We saw an opportunity that we thought was interesting in color."

Private labels typically serve as a way for beauty retailers to flaunt their own exclusive products and widen margins. Sephora, Ulta, and Bluemercury each develop and sell their own private-label beauty goods, and Swedish fashion retailer H&M entered the fray this year with its own beauty line.

Founded by Beauchamp and Hayley Barna in 2010, Birchbox has steadily expanded beyond its original $10-a-month sample boxes and online store. In 2012 it added a men's business. Earlier this year, it opened the brand's first physical store, a 4,500-square-foot makeup emporium in New York City. With 1 million subscribers and $71.9 million in venture capital funding to date, Birchbox hopes its private-label items can be its next big source of revenue.

Beauchamp said her company was in a good position to get into private-label items because it already worked so deeply with vendors on everything from packaging to pricing.  The company didn't have to hire a new team to develop LOC and it took less than a year from the initial idea to get to launch day. 

Birchbox plans to sell a second label in early 2016, but the company won't yet reveal what kind of items it will include.

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