While Birchbox has grown in popularity thanks to its beauty sample subscription service that emphasizes product discovery, the company is changing its focus to include the entire healthcare space as it moves under startup FemTec Health.
The beauty company was taken over by FemTec Health, a health science and beauty care company for women, for more than $ 45 million.
With the acquisition, Birchbox will re-launch this year with a new focus on personalized skin and health products, a shift from its original focus on product discovery through beauty samples. Katia Beauchamp, founder and CEO of Birchbox, becomes a strategic advisor to the company and sells her remaining shares in the company.
FemTec Health was founded in May last year and was unveiled publicly this month with the aim of transforming “the entire health experience for women” with the help of technology and data. For Birchbox, this means a wider product range than the core offering and a focus on personalization. According to Beauchamp, the vision is to include things like current beauty and ingestible beauty, as well as other potential connections to wellness, while enabling a product experience.
The subscription model “will continue to be a core aspect of Birchbox,” said Beauchamp, but companies are “rethinking” what types of products are included in the subscription.
Whether that means using data to connect customers to existing products or to develop custom products for customers is not yet set in stone. Kim Capone, FemTec’s Chief Scientific Officer, responded with these options that “the world is at our feet” even though FemTec is currently developing its own line of wellness and personal care products that will be launched next year. These articles will “go very well with the acquisitions, particularly Birchbox,” said Capone.
“We are also building another direct-to-consumer brand that is heavily focused on this healthcare offering… The idea is to offer your currently very fragmented healthcare – for example fertility, menopause, sexual wellness offers, among a number of different ones Brands – the idea is to bring them together in a very clear and cohesive way so that a woman can come to one place and find the solutions to her needs, ”said Capone. “And bring these solutions, or at least some of them, to this area of beauty where they are relevant and pollinating, if you will, so that women understand beauty and the health aspects of beauty.
Changes to Birchbox to reflect the broader focus will begin shortly and will continue through 2022. Birchbox’s own brands could continue to appear in the boxes. Capone said FemTec is considering how to build these own brands and add more scientific value through them.
“We’re not trying to leave beauty at all, we’re trying to rethink the potential of thinking about beauty,” said Beauchamp. “We want a feeling that it is about effectiveness. It’s about really improving your health and wellbeing. “
“We never started Birchbox as a sampling company.”
Founder of Birchbox
According to Beauchamp, Birchbox had already thought about a step in the direction of “Beauty Health” before taking over, including through dietary supplements and products “relating to the psyche”. It’s not the only one – Ulta executives just last week outlined a vision for an “expanded view of beauty” that includes more emphasis on wellness, including supplements and grooming. FemTec had a similar vision, and while Birchbox wasn’t looking for a buyer at the time, the additional financial support didn’t hurt.
“I think that after the pandemic year that only brought a lot of changes and uncertainties, we were definitely thrilled that FemTec was not just a big vision, but a really well-funded vision.” said Beauchamp.
Birch box last February 25% of the world’s workforce laid off, including nearly half of the employees in the New York headquarters, and increased prices in 2019 because of higher costs.
Beauchamp does not see the takeover as the pivotal point or departure from its beginnings, but rather as a “natural evolution” to address a beauty area that has become more confusing.
“We never started Birchbox as a sampling company,” said Beauchamp. “We really thought about the pain point consumers have in finding the right products. … Do we feel like we’re getting the best out of them? one way. “
For FemTec’s Capone, the marriage of healthcare and beauty enables the company to capitalize on the relationship that beauty brands have with their customers and expand that into healthcare to foster a broader understanding of the wellness space in general.
“The reality is that the healthcare industry doesn’t understand women as well as beauty care does,” Capone said. “So when we bring them together, we can really help women understand this entire space and promote wellbeing for themselves.”