Luxe Box brings luxury beauty samples to the masses
Last September, I wrote about Toronto company Loose Button, an online shopping site that made international fashion brands accessible to Canadian consumers. In true tech start-up fashion, they recently started to offer a service similar to the U.S.-based Birchbox, which delivers hand-picked beauty samples to one's door every month in a nicely packaged Haute Box.
Because Birchbox doesn't deliver to Canadians' doors, the opportunity was open for Loose Button founder Ray Cao. He re-focused the company and debuted a similar product, Luxe Box, earlier this year to a select group of invite-only testers. Now Loose Button has rebranded it as "Luxe Box by Loose Button" and its opening the "luxury beauty products for everyone" service to the public.
Luxe Box is a monthly subscription service that delivers three to five high-end deluxe-sized beauty products to one's doorstep so they can be tried in the comfort of the home. The samples are bigger than the ones given out by department store employees — they're full-sized travel samples, similar to the ones you get with "gift with purchase" offers. They come with a card explaining the nature and attributes of each product, and range from skincare to makeup, fragrance to hair products. The company offers three subscription plans: $12 for one month, $36 for three months and $120 for a year. Shipping is free for all plans, and the multi-month plans ship earlier than the one-time Luxe Box.
I was one of Luxe Box's early beta testers, and though the product has evolved since then, I loved the initial experience. The box was beautifully packaged with ribbon and tissue paper, so it was like opening a gift (sure, one I bought myself, but whatever). The products were varied, and though I didn't use all of them, it was fun to check them out. There was a Benefit highlighter (I didn't really know what to do with it, but now the boxes includes a card with information on each product so I'm assuming that helps), two face masks that made me look like a serial killer when I put them on but were really refreshing, Balmshell lip gloss that I carry in my purse to this day, and a face cream that sits in my cupboard unused.
Since I'm probably forgetting one or two products, I would say I'm 50/50 for the ones I used vs. the ones I didn't. But I loved trying the new products, and I mostly loved getting something fun in the mail. In fact I've even bought 3-month Luxe Box subscriptions for a few of my girlfriends' birthdays, which were a hit.
One feature the company is working to implement is the ability to customize the samples customers receive. I'm not a huge haircare person (drugstore shampoo for me!), so I'd rather receive makeup or fragrances. The ability to customize means less samples will end up getting re-gifted to your friends or destined to remain forever collecting dust in the medicine cabinet. In terms of providing more information about the products, Losse Buttons also plans to post tutorials on its website site in order to to help recipients use the products effectively.
Since shipping is expensive and the boxes are relatively inexpensive, I'm thinking Luxe Box may choose to go the way of Birchbox and allow users to purchase the full-size products featured in the Luxe Box for a discounted price in an online store, which would give them another revenue stream (they currently charge brands a fee to be featured as a monthly selection). The website claims they're working on making Luxe Box available in other countries around the world, so it will be interesting to see if they try to go up against established player Birchbox in the U.S., or if they set their sights on other international countries first.