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VIDEO  •  HOW I DID IT

Lessons Learned: Conquering Scaling

Birchbox co-founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp share how they manage scaling their quickly growing beauty discovery service.

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Video Transcript

00:08 Katia Beauchamp: I'm Katia Beauchamp.

00:10 Hayley Barna: And I'm Hayley Barna and we're the co-founders of Birchbox.

00:14 Beauchamp: And we started Birchbox together. We launched Birchbox about a year ago but we came up with the idea while we were in business school and beta tested it first. Inspired by real life; one of Haley's friends was a beauty editor and both of us kind of representing a spectrum of women's needs.

00:31 Barna: So Birchbox is a beauty discovery service. So it's a monthly subscription, women pay $10 a month to receive a box of high end beauty samples in the mail.

How do you educate your consumers?

00:44 Beauchamp: We create content to make all of those products kind of come to life for our subscribers. And with that content you can click right there and buy full sized versions of what you love. So what we were thinking about were really the pain points around discovery, in particular; the beauty market is just completely cluttered, every brand is clamoring for your attention, and if you're a woman looking for the best products it's challenging, it's kind of intimidating. And we wanted to make a process that was efficient but also really fun.

How have you managed quick growth?

01:16 Barna: So, we're a tech company but we have a physical product and we were growing extremely quickly and we needed to basically double in size every month and it was really hard to scale. We had to make a lot of fast decisions.

01:29 Beauchamp: Still really hard to scale. I mean we're much bigger than we thought we'd be really. So we know that doesn't sound like a challenge but we're not just producing software, we're not just a service, we have a physical product. And kind of going with that, what really makes that a challenge is that we are a company that is doing something new, that hasn't been done before and you can call that disruptive, you can call it whatever you want but bottom line is that we're in an industry, we're in a beauty industry and a media industry where there are a lot of rules of engagement.

What is Birchbox's biggest challenge?

02:01 Barna: We're changing behavior for customers but also for brands and what we've built is a platform that connects the two. So it's a challenge to match the supply and demands as we grow and make sure that we're consistently delivering a great product for the consumers but also for our brand partners.

What is the most important focus for a young start-up?

02:21 Beauchamp: Getting out there with the product that is a pared down version of this big idea that you have and seeing really what the product-market fit is, what the consumers say before you go out and build something big. We always recommend, you can do with a lot less capital, a lot less time, you can fake a lot of it...

02:39 Barna: And consumers we'll give you a lot of feedback too. Especially if you put things out there as a test, even if it's not perfect, just say it's an experiment, ask them for their feedback and they'll help you build a better product eventually.

Last updated: Sep 7, 2011




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