When a friend of mine mentioned the phrase “birch box” during improv warm-ups for a podcast several months ago, I was initially confused. She’s a playwright, actor, and director, after all – a self-affirmed city girl. I could not fathom any scenario in which she would own anything made of birch, let alone a box.
So I did what any woman would do: I asked her to explain what she was talking about. Kymm (my friend) responded by sending me an invitation to Birchbox.com, and I was immediately hooked.
What’s Birchbox.com? On the surface it’s another etailer, specializing in beauty and skin-care products, but the reality goes much deeper. First of all, the folks who run the business are die-hard beauty product connoisseurs, which means their products are hand-picked, hand tested, and never boring or average. (It also means the items they sell tend to be significantly more expensive than products you can get at your local drug or beauty supply store.)
And then there’s the actual BOX – the reason for the name. It’s not made out of birch, but from recyclable cardboard, and for $10 a month it shows up in your mailbox, lined with brightly colored tissue paper, and filled with an array of samples of high-end beauty products. Since I joined in March (after two months on the waiting list – it’s a popular program), I’ve received bottles of Color Club nail polish, neon-green earbuds, several perfume samples, Miss Dior mascara, several kinds of facial mask, and some amazing teas that I’ve actually ordered full boxes of.
The point of the birchbox, is, of course, to generate sales of the products teased within, and the company makes this easy, by waiving the shipping charges on anything you buy within 30 days of it being in a box.
The samples are tailored to your age, skin type, and preferences, and while some really are one-use samples, most are purse-sized multi-use containers, and some are even full-sized products.
As someone who loves shopping, enjoys playing with beauty products, and gets giddy whenever her mailbox holds real MAIL, Birchbox is an ideal expense for me. Through it, I’ve learned about new brands I’d never have thought to try (Juice Beauty, for example), but I’ve also fallen in love with the Birchbox blog, a combination of text and video that demonstrates product useage (the series on funky nail design using office products is a personal favorite) and other beauty tips.
Birchbox subscriptions are available monthly or annually at Birchbox.com, but don’t forget to browse the general merchandise.