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Haley’s Trip to Birchbox’s Soho Store + BYOB Review!

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Hi, everyone! Haley here! As most of you know, I was recently flown out to New York to visit Elizabeth & Clarke and help them film a commercial for a Kickstarter for their new Unstainable Collection! You can read all about that here. On this (short, but awesome) trip I got the chance to stop by the brick-and-mortar Birchbox shop in Soho! I was thrilled to be able to check it out and I’ve been so excited to share it with you. Most of this is mostly a photo dump of what the shop is like, but I got to do a “BYOB” – Build Your Own Birchbox – and I’ll review that at the end!

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This is the shop! It is so cute and the styling is perfect. I loved the energy here!

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I’m happy to let you know that the shop itself is designed as adorably as the boxes are!

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In addition to all the shelves and such, there’s all sorts of little tables and pedestals set up featuring lots of different items, including staff picks! And, of course, lots of advertising for the subscription.

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They even sell some pre-curated boxes and limited edition boxes in store!

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Their walls of products are split up by category – so you have hair, skincare, fragrance, makeup (which is then split by face, lips, eyes, etc), body etc.

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It was so much fun seeing all the items I’ve browsed around hundreds of times only online! I love trying all the packaging and had a blast with browsing in person.

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Of course they had lots of mirrors and samples of every item out for you to swatch.

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I also liked seeing the displays of Birchbox’s own brands, LOC and Arrow.

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You can bet I left covered in makeup, like any good makeup or shopping junkie leaves any cosmetics store.

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Birchbox Soho also offers beauty services – hair, makeup, nails, and whole packages! In addition to the makeovers/services, they educate you and are a great resource when trying to tackle one of your beauty hang-ups or a new trend! Here’s an info sign of their available services.

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And here’s a peek at their little salon!

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Downstairs is where the Birchbox Man shop is (and the salon).

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Here is Birchbox Man’s little corner!

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Birchbox has some amazing employees – everyone I met was super enthusiastic and friendly. The guy who showed me around the Birchbox man corner definitely knew his stuff, too! He also chatted with me about life in New York and what it’s like to work at Birchbox.

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Lots of lifestyle items in the men’s section, too!

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And, of course, the gentlemen get to Build their own Birchbox, too. For them, it’s $25 and they choose 4 deluxe-sized samples and 1 full-size lifestyle item.

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When I got there this lovely lady named Dana showed me around! She is basically the cutest thing I have ever seen.

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The glorious BYOB area! So, step 1 is you grab a box. They have some generic ones as well as ones that are left over from recent months available. Next, you pick 5 samples – you have to pick 1 from each category of body, hair, skincare, fragrance, and makeup. And step 3 is instant happiness!

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There are all these sample bins filled with the samples you get to pick from, and they’re grouped together by category.

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And that’s all I want to give a big, giant shout out to Shain and Dana. They were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable! They not only made sure to show me around and talk to me, but were also constantly busy talking to, education, and helping other customers.

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Best day ever! Now onto my BYOB review!

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As I said above, Birchbox’s Soho shop has a “BYOB” station – which stands for “Build Your Own Box.” They have a counter set up with all sorts of samples in the categories of skincare, body, hair, makeup, and fragrance. You pick 1 sample from each category (a total of 5 samples) and that’s your box! I do have to point out that it costs more than the typical $10/month subscription box does, though.

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Birchbox kindly allowed me to build my own Birchbox at no cost when I visited! (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

The Box: Birchbox’s Brick-and-mortar Soho store’s Build-Your-Own-Box

The Cost: $25 for any 5 samples, or $15 for 1 sample from each category.

The Products: 5 samples chosen by you, from a set selection of samples. For the $15 deal, you must pick 1 sample from each category of body, fragrance, makeup, skincare, and hair. You can also do $25 for any 5 samples from the selections.

Check out our Birchbox reviews to learn more about this subscription!

FYI – I chose the $15 BYOB option.

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Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk – 1 oz, value: $4.14

I picked this item because I love the Caudalie brand and I hadn’t tried this one before! I always remove my makeup BEFORE cleansing with my cleanser (either with hands or my Clarisonic), and this just feels so nice n my skin. It’s gentle and hydrating.

Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream – 1 oz, value: $3.16

Okay, so I know this might be a product that is a little polarizing for Birchbox subscribers – I find most people either love it or hate it – but I hadn’t tried it before. I actually like it okay! I prefer my L’Occitane Almond Shave Oil better for shaving, but this stuff works well, too!

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Harvey Prince Petaly Noir sample – sample size

I just don’t care for these little perfume samples, but I don’t generally mind if they’re a bonus to a box. So, I grabbed a Harvey Prince sample because I like his Hello fragrance and honestly considered it a bit of a loss. Yes, I smelled the rest of the fragrance samples but honestly I really didn’t care for any of them.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Nettle – 1 oz, value: $6.25

Yes, this is another pick I know many of our readers will groan at me for choosing. However, I personally love Klorane and I can’t live without dry shampoo! I knew I had to grab this!

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Cargo Swimmable Shadow Stick in Coral Reef – value: $22

So, I was excited to pick this item! It’s full sized and a nice value. The sample I swatched at the Birchbox store was smooth and glided onto my hand well. However, when I tried working with this particular pencil, the formula itself was dry and hard to work with. It didn’t glide on smoothly, and it broke and chunked. A little sharpening of the product helped a little but didn’t completely fix the issue. I figured it must just be an older sample and got dried out.

When I looked up these swimmable pencils on Birchbox’s website I saw the exact same comments being made in lots of reviews! Because I tried one that worked really nicely at the store when I was picking this as a sample, I’m confident that these pencils absolutely can work smoothly and be creamy. I suspect these may have had time to dry out (maybe sitting in Birchbox’s warehouses too long?) or just dry out quickly.

I haven’t reached out to their customer service about this issue, since this was a complimentary BYOB box. However, I’ve dealt with their customer service enough to know that they are probably the best service I’ve received from any company ever. I’m confident they would do all they could to make it right, were I to reach out.

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Also, while I was there, I purchased a full-size Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($44) (which I’m loving) and my favorite go-to brow product, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($21) in taupe.

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And here’s my makeup from a day I used the Anastasia Brow Wiz (which is every day, really), and the Cargo swimmables shadow stick on my lid. Like I said, it was hard to work with. I think I made it work, though! The shimmery golden coral was a very bright, pretty color, once I got it on! Even after being seemingly dried out, it wore well and didn’t crease throughout the day.

Verdict: I had a lot of fun building my own Birchbox! I wish I could do it more often! I really loved shopping at the store in person, and I even had fun BYOB-ing. I know it’s a higher price than the normal Birchbox subscription boxes, but the value is (mostly) within your control regarding what items you pick. When it all boils down, I did get a good value for the cost of the box: $30.55 for a $15 box. And yes, I’m including the hardly-workable Cargo pencil because I know I’d get it made right from customer service if I asked.

What do you think about my trip? Have you been to the Birchbox Soho store?

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

27 Comments

  1. Awesome!!!! I went there last summer and all BYOB boxes were $15 so they must have revamped that process a little bit. I absolutely loved it there. That whole block of stores and shops – I could just live there! (Not that I could afford the rent!)

    Glad you had a great time!

  2. Omg that looks like so much fun!! I live not far away from the city and have never made time to go down there!!! Now.. I totally totally have to go!!! 🙂 Awesome post!!!!!

  3. Thank you for the awesome, fun post!! It looks like a whopping good time shopping there. 😀

  4. I want to join you on your next road trip!

  5. This was SO cool! I love the babywearing pic, too 🙂

    I has an issue with Cargo swimmables, too. Except mine may as well be Barbie eyeshadow because it feels like hard plastic, and nothing comes off if I rub it on anything. So ridiculous. 🙁

  6. I love the SoHo store and I visit every time I go down to NYC! They’ve definitely improved the BYOB options since they opened.

  7. I was at the NYC store about a year ago and the build your own box area is TOTALLY different!! When I was there all the samples were under glass and one of the employees would get whatever you picked from behind the counter. It was a Saturday and super busy and it took a while to get someone to help me. I’m guessing the BB people figured out that it’s easier for customers to build their own boxes by grabbing their samples themselves. It was a really fun experience and the area it’s in is so much fun to walk around. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

  8. When hubby and I went to NY last October, one of the things I insisted on doing was going to the BB store. I agree, it’s one of the greatest places ever!

  9. What a fun post/review!

  10. Wow Great Review!! I would love (Only in my Dreams) to go to the NY Store!! Thank you for bringing Soho BB home to us!! Great Photos thank you so much!! And I like your BYOB we all have our own taste!! The photo with your little one outside was Adorable!! And literally in the the Workers eyes in your other photo you can see & the Energy they put out in in their Smiles!! Thank you so much for bringing a little bit of NY to us!!! If it’s ok with Liz our you allowed to post other photos of different places!! I feel like I’m on my own mini Tour without Makeup all over my hands & arms lol Well Done Haley great Tour!!! ??

  11. So I’m the only one who while quickly skimming thought BYOB = Bring Your Own Baby? Hmm…odd. 😛

    • I totally thought the same thing!! Must be because I have a baby too ?

    • I also thought Haley meant Bring Your Own Baby!

    • Me too!!! Hahaha I was just coming down here to add that exact same comment, for real.

    • LOLOLOLOLOLOL!! That literally made me laugh out loud! So cute..??

  12. Regarding the shadow pencil: try warming it up first. Like putting it on your thigh. The tester in store has been sitting under warm lights so that may be why it glided smoothly but yours did not.

    • You can always stick in your bra while you’re getting ready too! It works like a charm for mascara too!

  13. I bought 3 of the Cargo shadow sticks online from Birchbox, and I found them all to be incredibly hard to use. And once it touches your eyelid, it’s very hard to adjust or remove. I wasn’t a fan. Looks like a fun trip and experience, though. 🙂

  14. I also love that Klorane dry shampoo. I’ve tried many brands, as I’m sure other sub box junkies have, and that one is honestly the one that works the best for me!

  15. There is one in DC also, and when I was in Georgetown a couple weeks ago I stopped in. It is much smaller than the NYC one but was an amazing experience. I went in to browse but when a sales person approached me I used the opportunity to ask questions regarding the proper way to care for hair (how often to shampoo, how to use dry shampoo, and all other types of things I feel like I should know but couldn’t find clear advice on). The sales person was simply spectacular. She explained that it is very individual, and that is why competing advice isn’t uncommon. She explained what she does, and then made recommendations. She then provided me with generous samples of shampoo and conditioner. I then decided to build a box and she helped me to pick products based on our discussion (I also asked about skin care in the process). I left with some awesome samples and now need to go back that worked wonderfully, and now need to go back so I can buy the awesome products she recommended (I want to make sure Birchbox knows that the store is a really helpful resource and thus should keep it around as much as possible, otherwise I would probably just place an order online).

    • I have been in the DC one too. The staff was nice, but I was disappointed by the small number of sample choices for the BYOB 🙁

  16. When I was visiting their shop (right before Christmas?) it was too crazy-busy for me to even get near the build-you-own area. Still – fantastic shop. You left out one of the best features – they have a public restroom! (Always handy when touring around the city).

  17. You don’t have to apologize for your selections — it is YOUR box! If everyone liked the exact same things swapping here on MSA would not be possible 🙂 I honestly don’t know how sub boxes handle trying to please all of us.

  18. Looks like you hit it at a good time-every time I’ve ever been in or been buy, there’s hardly anyone in there. It seems like they redesigned the BYOB area. They used to have one of each sample in glass case. I think they were going for high-end, but it just looked kind of sterile. I like how they have the open bins of products now…much more inviting!

  19. What fun!

  20. Awesome! This looks fun. I love your choices. I can’t wait til I have the opportunity to go. Love it!

  21. Thanks for this awesome post! Now you have me excited to go visit their store. 🙂

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