Birchbox Founder Katia Beauchamp on Embracing Challenges
If you know subscription boxes, you know Birchbox. It’s the OG beauty subscription (we’ve been reviewing it since 2012!) and remains a great pick for established beauty-lovers and just-starting-out beauty explorers alike. In June of 2020, Birchbox rolled out a curated box option called “Katia’s Picks,” which offers a peek into what products Birchbox’s co-founder and CEO Katia Beauchamp is loving and how she’s using them.
How did Beauchamp rise to her role? To start, she and her partner came up with the idea of a beauty subscription box in business school and just had to act on it.
“We came up with the idea for Birchbox in a whirlwind 48 hours, and once the idea took root, I believed in it whole-heartedly,” Beauchamp told My Subscription Addiction. “I knew we had created a win-win equation: this experience would make discovery better for consumers, and it would help both established and nascent beauty brands acquire customers.”
The seed was planted, but things really picked up with an epic insight Beauchamp and her team identified in the early days.
“Only ~20% of shoppers are motivated by an obsession with beauty products — yet, almost everything in the beauty industry is designed with this group in mind. The majority of us are underserved and find navigating products to be confusing and unenjoyable. So I asked myself: How can we put an end to being underwhelmed with our routines or overwhelmed with all the choices?” Beauchamp recently told us.
With the goal of making the process of finding beauty products fun and simple for women who aren’t living and breathing the latest trends and brands, Beauchamp thought of Birchbox as a “best friend/secret shopping weapon” to help consumers find items they’ll love.
Try, Try Again
Birchbox wasn’t Beauchamp’s first endeavor. She started her career in real estate investing before realizing what her true calling.
“It wasn’t a fit for me — I was frustrated and unhappy. So, I invested in myself and applied to business school. I didn’t really know anything about entrepreneurship prior to that, and it was a big reckoning moment for me. I wanted to find out what I was capable of, and this was the thing that forced me to meet myself,” Beauchamp said.
Even after she rerouted her focus and founded Birchbox, she had a steep hill to climb. Her new company—which was a completely new category in the beauty industry—experienced quick growth. This meant tons of excitement paired with lots of on-the-fly decision-making. Beauchamp and her co-founder had to convince big beauty brands to believe in them, and convince the male-dominated world of venture capital that their idea had wings. They had to find the balance between thinking big and saying “yes” selectively.
“Challenging and rewarding all at the same time, those experiences really helped us learn our limits and boundaries. It taught us how to walk away from really incredible opportunities when the fit, timing, or partnership just wasn’t there,” Beauchamp said.
Now, Beauchamp smiles looking back on those early days as a startup.
“I vividly remember spending an entire day running across town to gather signatures for a lease on a new office so that come Monday, new team members would have a desk and space to work in,” she told MSA.
But that doesn’t mean it’s just a joyride every day. Beauchamp believes in shifting one’s mindset from goal-oriented thinking to finding joy in the daily challenges.
“It’s supposed to be hard! If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I’ve come to recognize that ‘hard’ is a constant state, and that is a good sign. It means you are pushing yourself, you are growing, and each day you are strengthening yourself for the challenges of tomorrow. Challenge is not the enemy. It’s a frenemy of learning. And that constant growth and education leads to you becoming a better version of yourself,” Beauchamp shares.
As a CEO, mom, wife, and so much more, Katia Beauchamp wears many hats. So, with all those roles to juggle, how does she define success?
“The definition of success is not static. It’s constantly shifting, and you can’t judge your success in each on a daily, or even weekly, basis,” Beauchamp said.
But, as it relates to Birchbox, it’s all about finding a way to do good work every day. She is proud to continually create a space where integrity is prioritized through a positive employee experience, supporting growth in smaller brands, and creating pathways for new voices.
“It is important to me that this company I founded is grounded in using our place to help build the world we want to live in, and that we are addressing that on all fronts.”
The Cost: $15.00 per month. Sign up here!
COUPON: Use code FIRST15 to save 15% off your first Birchbox purchase and get free shipping on $50+ orders! (Not valid for subscriptions).
The Products: 5 beauty samples including as makeup, skincare, haircare, and fragrance items.
Ships to: Worldwide
Check out our Birchbox reviews & details to learn more!