May 26, 2013

If you love your beauty as much as I do and you haven't heard of bellabox, then you must check it out. I heard about this brand whilst I was visiting one of my beauty clients at marie claire last year. Basically it allows you to trial all the new 'it' beauty products without...

If you love your beauty as much as I do and you haven’t heard of bellabox, then you must check it out. I heard about this brand whilst I was visiting one of my beauty clients at marie claire last year. Basically it allows you to trial all the new ‘it’ beauty products without spending the big bucks on purchasing them- trial before you buy, perfect!

So I was very lucky to get a chance to chat to one half of the entrepreneurial brains behind the brand co-founder Sarah Hamilton.

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Sarah, you and your twin sister Emily have an inspiring story launching bellabox, an online beauty destination and subscription service in October 2011, tell me about your fabulous service and where your idea stemmed from? bellabox is a monthly indulgence delivered to your door, which contains 5 to 7 beauty samples. At bellabox we customise the products to suit the beauty profile of our members. The pioneer of the beauty box concept is Birchbox in the US- it was launched by two girls while they were at Harvard and it totally blew up! I was living in New York at the time so Emily and I studied their model and determined that it would be perfect for the Australian and Singaporean markets.

I love bellabox, as I think its amazing that we can trial products before we buy as I am one of those girls that spends so much money on all those new ‘it’ beauty products only to regret my purchase later. Do you get to test the products before you decide to include them in your boxes? I always laugh at my past beauty regrets – I’m the sort of person who has sat down, quite innocently, at a beauty counter, proceeded to have more makeup applied than one would on your wedding day despite asking for the “natural” look and then finally I have walked away with an expensive bag of products that I never intended on purchasing!!

Yes, we are truly a team of beauty obsessed girls in the bb office, everything is tested and discussed before it goes into a bellabox. We are as excited as any of our members each day a new product hits our desks. We are also lucky enough to enjoy treatments from some of our brand partners as a way to showcase their products.

If you could curate your own dream box of 5 makeup/skincare items what would they be and why?

–       Tom Ford Neroli Portofino. I try to change but I am obsessed

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–       Erborian bb crème; unbelievable coverage and such an all purpose product

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–       Clarins Beauty Flash Balm; it just feels amazing on my skin

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–       Almay Get Up & Grow mascara; the best thing about bellabox is that we try ultra luxe, through to more every day beauty items, and this was quite a find from one of our more affordable brands.

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–       MeMeMe Goddess Rocks; this is such a cute brand and I like the polished look that this gives with a little bit of shimmer.

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 What is your must have beauty product that you always have in your bag? I have to say foundation. In New York you get used to being uncomfortable walking the dog with wet hair and no makeup, so you adapt. After living there, I have been known to put foundation on at 6am before walking the dog to the park – how ridiculous!

You work with over 250 brand partners from SK-11, Lancome, Benefit, Clinique & Philosophy, did you sought out most of these partnerships or do brands also come to you? I’m not embarrassed to say that when we launched bellabox it did feel like we had to beg for products – it was a new concept that wasn’t proven here so the brands were a little dubious at the start. I’m happy to say that following all of the hard work by the team at bellabox, we now get approached quite regularly by brands who would like to participate in a campaign with us.

Starting a new business is very challenging; did you have a breakthrough moment?  The work never stops and success only breeds the desire to create more ambitious targets. We have had lots of wins along the way, our metrics look good and we were able to secure $1.3m earlier this year but I don’t think we are satisfied yet! Perhaps when you see me having a long lunch in Geelong with my family sometime soon we will have reached that moment!

bellabox has grown so fast and is a hugely successful business selling in Australia and Singapore, Can you give my readers some of your tips about launching a new brand? I think it takes a huge amount of dedication but I believe that everyone has it inside himself or herself to take that risk. You are ultimately responsible for your success and while luck can/might play a part you shouldn’t wait around for it.

I also think that it is super important to hire well and learn to give up control of elements of your business, your staff should have more skills than you do in their chosen fields (I’m going through that evolution now so admitting to that can only help me too!).

 What can we expect next from bellabox? I always point to the two stakeholders in our business, our members and our brands, so you can expect that we will continue to improve the service for both groups. Recent funding has meant we can spend a little more on supporting brands and coming face to face with our members through pop up stores and other retail activities.

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