Beauty Store Business

JUL 2017

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60 July 2017 | beautystorebusiness.com Birchbox birchbox.com Headquarters: New York City, NY Founded: 2010 Number of Employees: 230 Successful business owners will tell you that there's no such thing as an overnight success, but Birchbox definitely begs the question. Founded in 2010, the beauty retailer delivers monthly sample boxes to subscribers. Just seven years after its inception, the company's expanded offerings include men's grooming and full-size beauty products (including 800 prestige beauty and grooming brands), and its branded retail store in Manhat- tan's chic SoHo neighborhood—with plans to open another in Paris in 2017. The brick-and-mortar store offers hair and makeup services in addition to an enormous selection of products meticu- lously organized by category. And the retailer boasts two in-house brands: LOC, which allows consumers to experiment with bold color trends, and ARROW, athleisure-inspired makeup and skin care. Surprisingly, Birchbox's marketing efforts are hyper-focused on its highly niche market of "non-beauty-obsessed consumers." That's right, the brand tar- gets a different kind of beauty and grooming consumer: namely, the woman who doesn't necessarily like to shop for beauty and grooming products. "The industry typically focuses on marketing to women who are passion- ate about beauty and spend the most in the category. That group happens to represent just a small percentage of the population, leaving the major- ity of women ignored," says Amanda Tolleson, Birchbox's head of marketing. "Birchbox focuses on creating a differ- ent voice in the market—a brand that speaks to that underserved consumer. Birchbox is uniquely able to change her perspective—and grow her spending— by delivering a monthly assortment of samples, tailored to [her] needs and preferences, and creating a seamless way to purchase full-size versions of [her] favorites." Birchbox attributes its marketing success to this particular beauty con- sumer and market, comprising more than a million subscribers and four mil- lion total customers. Its early marketing boost remarkably arose organically on social-media channels, such as Face- book and YouTube. Excited customers in love with their monthly delivery of beauty samples couldn't help but share their discoveries with the world via social media. "And our customer word- of-mouth continues to be a big driver of success—so we give credit to having a strong product-market fit and connecting with a specific consumer in a meaningful way," Tolleson adds. Some of the brand's favorite market- ing campaigns have developed from a variety of strategies: • Partnerships: Currently, Birchbox is in a multi-year partnership with JetBlue, which provides the airline's Mint class passengers with a Birchbox amenity kit. The brand says the partnership has been effective in driving awareness, product trial and brand perception. • Gift Giving: Customers often purchase the Birchbox subscription as a gift for a friend or loved one, introducing the brand to potentially new customers. • Pop-Up Shops: Pop-up shops have allowed the brand to effectively engage customers in insightful ways and led to the opening of its flagship store in SoHo. Expert Advice: Tolleson offers the following advice to small businesses/ beauty retailers that are growing their marketing strategies: "It's critical to clarify who your customer is (and who she is not), and why your company is uniquely solving a need for her. Then, commit to building your strategy around that customer." 5W Public Relations (5WPR) 5wpr.com Headquarters: New York City, NY Founded: 2003 Number of Employees: 150 Representing a host of beauty brands (across skin, hair, oral care, cosmetics, fragrance and spa categories), 5WPR has made an indelible mark on the beauty industry. The New York City-based firm offers full-service public relations to a variety of industries, earning recognition as a Top 20 public relations firm in the U.S. In 2016, the agency was named a finalist for both the PR News Agency Elite Awards in the Consumer Marketing category and the Holmes Gold Sabre Awards in the Digital and Social Media category for its blogger outreach program on behalf of skincare/makeup brand Jane Iredale. 5WPR was also named a finalist in the PR News Agency Elite Awards' Marketing to Women category for its rebranding campaign for FullBeauty Brands, its second time being recognized for the category. The agency's 2017 achievements include the campaign it developed for client It's a 10 Haircare's 2017 Super Bowl commer- cial. The campaign led to more than 43 million impressions on social media, with more than a million YouTube views, send- ing the commercial to the seventh top- trending spot on YouTube post-game day. "Our campaign also resulted in Adweek ranking the commercial No. 2 on its list of Best Super Bowl Ads. This multifaceted approach is a great example of how our PR and social media teams can really amplify efforts in tandem," says Ilisa Wirgin, senior vice president and group director for 5WPR. One of the most notable characteristics of 5WPR and its effectiveness as a marketer is its ability as an entity to evolve, becoming and provid- ing whatever is required of it in an ever-changing market- ing landscape. So as the rules of digital, social media and traditional marketing change, 5WPR follows suit with rele- vant strategies. As Wirgin puts it, five years ago, the agency was focused on creating opportunities with celebrities; now it's more focused on creating connections with digital and indus- try influencers—because that's what's effective today, particularly in beauty. "We are executing more and more fully integrated PR and digital pro- grams for our client partners, taking a 360-degree approach to PR, social media, branding and digital marketing for brands within the beauty and groom- ing space," says Wirgin. "We're also seeing new types of clients in our beauty and grooming practice as more and more men's skincare brands start focusing on consumer marketing." Expert Advice: Wirgin offers the following advice to small businesses and beauty retailers that are growing their marketing strategies: "Understand your audience and yourself. Know what Amanda Tolleson Images courtesy of the companies 5W Public Relations Birchbox

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