Friday, February 7, 2014

Do You Box?

Amanda Gerakos, Marketing Intern
Samantha Stein, Marketing Intern

Subscription boxes are a new trend that is becoming very popular across college campuses. There is just something really exciting about getting a package of surprise products delivered right to your doorstep.  There are tons of subscription boxes out there; the hard part is finding which one is right for you.  Some popular choices include the BarkBox (for dogs), KonaKase (for health food), and Escape Monthly (vacation-in-a-box), which can range from $10/month to $50/month. Within the subscription box trend, beauty boxes seem to rein above all the rest.

There are a lot of beauty subscription boxes available and competing for your money, but Birchbox and Ipsy are the most popular. They both offer a similar $10/month subscription and are personalized based on your beauty profile. However, Birchbox leans towards the skincare/body care end of things, while Ipsy leans almost entirely towards the makeup end of the spectrum. We will break down each of the subscription services to help you decide which option is the best for you.


   Cost: $10/month or $110/year
   Products: Full-size and samples of makeup and beauty products
   Comes with a makeup bag every month
    Ships to: US and Canada

When you first become a member of Ipsy, you take a makeup personality test. They ask you different questions about what type of products you like best, what facial area you focus on while doing your makeup (eyes, lips, hair, etc.), and your hair and eye color. This helps personalize each bag to the member. Therefore, not every member receives the same makeup each month. This customizes the experience so each member gets the most out of each bag they receive. Ipsy is first-come, first-served, so you may be added to a waiting list until space opens up for your first month to begin.

I have received Ipsy for over a year now. When I come home to see the package on my doorstep, I still get so excited to open it and use all of the products that are inside. Each month Ipsy comes in a very cute, metallic pink envelope. Inside the envelope there is always a different, stylish makeup bag. Then the real fun comes: opening the makeup bag to check out all the makeup inside! Ipsy is known for sending out a mixture of full size products and samples in each bag. Sometimes the value of your makeup bag can add up to $70! That’s not bad for only paying $10 a month! Ipsy features all kinds of name brand makeup, like Benefit, Urban Decay, NYX, Buxom and more.

Ipsy has a reward system that is based off the points you earn through referring friends, reviewing products, and using Facebook (to share what you received each month with your friends and taking quizzes).  For every 1,000 points you accumulate, you have the option of choosing an additional full-size product to add to your next month’s bag!

For a more in-depth look at the types of products that come each month, check out this Ipsy review. This user posts pictures and describes what she receives each month and the value of each product. This will help you decide if you really want to subscribe or not before you become a member! Remember, not every member receives the same bag, so her bag is just an example of what you could receive.


    Cost: $10/month or $110/year
   Products: Full-size and samples of skincare, makeup, and non-beauty extras
   Great rewards system
   Ships only to the US

When you sign up for Birchbox, you are technically requesting an invite. Birchbox only allows a certain amount of subscribers, so it is possible that you will be waitlisted until space opens up. Once you can create an account with the company, they will also give you a quick survey to assess your personality type and your interests in their products. The products you receive in your box each month will be based off the answers you give on this survey.

Birchboxes are generally shipped on the 10th of each month, and you will get an email with a tracking number once it has shipped. Your products will be sent to you in a small, reusable box each month (these boxes make good present wrapping materials!).  Along with your beauty products, you may also receive coupons for various retailers, inspirational quotes, or decorative postcards. Brands that have been featured in the monthly boxes include Aerie, BCBG, Isaac Mizrahi and Laura Mercier. The products you receive in your Birchbox could end up being worth more than three times the amount you initially pay for the subscription. If you are interested in a subscription, check out this website with a monthly write-up for what to expect!

Birchbox’s reward system sets them apart from the other subscription boxes. For every dollar you spend on their website, monthly box for 10 Birchbox points (free money!). Their website also uniquely features an option of purchasing the full-sized versions of the products that were in your box, along with various sample-sized products you want to try. Everything you purchase on their website transfers to Birchbox points, which will get you future discounts!

Birchbox also has a male option, Birchbox Man. It costs $20/month, but you receive items for beards and shaving, body, fragrance, gadgets & games, hair, home, skincare, style and even tools!

If you think Birchbox, Ipsy, or both are for you, check out their websites and sign up! Even if you only want one box per month, it may be worth subscribing to both services for a few months to see which box you prefer! I signed up for the subscription box because I wanted to try new beauty products, and I have found so many new favorites through the service. I have had my Birchbox subscription for about nine months now, and I absolutely love it. I also signed up for Ipsy a few weeks ago and am very excited to see what I get! Feel free to leave your comments if you subscribe to Ipsy or Birthbox and tell us what you think. 

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