Vive la France! After several successful pop-ups in Paris (including temporary shops within Le Bon Marche and Galeries Lafayette), Birchbox has decided to put down permanent roots in France. France is the subscription beauty brand’s biggest market in Europe and the largest beauty market in the European Union.
The brand, which also operates a New York City boutique, wanted to offer customers the opportunity to interact with the beauty products and get that touch experience. With 1 million subscribers globally and 4 million total customers and 800 beauty and grooming brands on offer, Birchbox is growing faster than ever.
“We want to create a better experience for women who typically haven’t enjoyed shopping for beauty, so we focused on designing every element for the average woman—not a beauty-obsessed shopper,” says Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox’s co-founder and CEO.
“It’s also important to us that we respect our customers’ time and create a discovery experience that is highly efficient,” she adds. “For that reason, we have a very curated product assortment that is merchandised by category (hair, makeup, skincare) and the steps in your routine—not by brand, which is a huge departure for beauty retail.”
Many may question why an e-commerce brand would want to expand into IRL real estate, but customers clearly like to touch and feel products before making a purchase. “That’s part of why retail is important in [the beauty] market,” says Beauchamp. “It allows access to brands that require brick-and-mortar as an important part of doing business.”
The 1st arrondissement Les Halles boutique opened on April 10th and features 100 brands—including French brands Caudalie and Clarins—and the following services:
• A build-your-own box section (called “The Factory”) where customers can customize Birchboxes with five samples of their choosing. Available for 15 € for subscribers and 16.90 € for new customers
• The Birchbox Studio, a separate level of the shop designed as a co-working/event space and photo/video studio. It also includes stations for hairstyling services, available by appointment.
• A sampling bar and dedicated testing areas• A team of specialists to provide personalized service and expert guidance.