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“Our goal is to continue to build our unique ecosystem with a strategy that goes well beyond the box”, Quentin Reygrobellet, Birchbox France

Eight years after joining the U.S. Group Birchbox, the start-up who pioneered in France the “box” concept, launched at the time under the name of JolieBox by Quentin Reygrobellet and Martin Balas, has regained its independence. With the support of Otium Capital, the young founders have regained ownership of their now flourishing business, with the ambition of accelerating its development in data and e-commerce both in France and in Europe. With 60 employees, year-on-year sales up 20% in 2019, Birchbox France has been a profitable company since 2016. Quentin Reygrobellet, Managing Director, comments for Premium Beauty News the Company’s ambitions following this acquisition.

Quentin Reygrobellet, Managing Director, Birchbox France

Quentin Reygrobellet, Managing Director, Birchbox France

Premium Beauty News - What motivated your decision to do without Birchbox to continue the adventure?

Quentin Reygrobellet - It was a real desire on our part, we had reached a point where our life stages were different. It seemed logical for both parties to be able to move forward independently. For our part, the company was profitable and growing steadily with a virtuous and sustainable model. By regaining possession of our working tool, we are now opening a third chapter with just as much adrenaline and all the maturity acquired in past years.

Our goal is to continue to build the unique ecosystem created over the past 7 years, with a strategy that goes well beyond the box. The box is a discovery experience, a way to consume better, but it is not an end in itself, we know this from the start. It accounts for 60% of our turnover thanks to 220,000 subscribers, the remaining 40% comes from the sale of large size products on the site with 1.2 million customers who subscribe and buy on the e-site and interact with us. We are going to speed up the pace in these two areas: sales through online retail and the increase in the number of subscribers.

Premium Beauty News - Precisely what will happen in 2020 with this idea as a driver?

Quentin Reygrobellet - We are focusing our development on three directions. The first concerns data - the core of our business from the start - namely the ability to send the right product, the right message to the right person. Today the challenge for brands is to establish a direct contact with consumers. We were one of the main players to pioneer this cross-talk between the brand and its subscribers. We have therefore chosen to make this data freely available to our partnering brands, in an open source mode. They will have access in real time via a platform, to the various data concerning our subscribers, to their sales performance on our site, to all the quantitative and qualitative elements regarding their customers and to a comparison with their competitors. It is a real innovation seen nowhere else. For example, a brand will be able to know which are the other brands in the basket of the customer and therefore which products suit her. It is an asset for the brand and ultimately for the consumer. Through the data provided, we participate in creating products much more in line with the customer’s expectations. It is hand in hand work.

Premium Beauty News - You also bank on e-commerce?

Quentin Reygrobellet - This is the second line of development through the rise in our number of subscribers. Today we are the leader in online sales of cosmetics. The overall beauty market in France represents around 14 billion, while the digital market only represents 1.4 billion but it is growing by 20% per year. There is therefore an clear interest in focusing on this market with a very high growth potential. From time to time, we do make some forays in the off-line market be we deeply remain pure digital players.

The site is completely cross channel with more than 5000 references coming from 300 selective, pharmacy, niche or mass retail brands. It is open to everyone, even non-subscribers who account for more than 30% of sales. To go further, we will launch next March a discovery subscription offer for more premium products, a new service dedicated to some high-end brands.

Premium Beauty News - The third axis concerns your expansion abroad?

Quentin Reygrobellet - Indeed, we want to leverage on this absolutely unique beauty ecosystem built in recent years in France, and roll it out to the rest of Europe. In the coming weeks the brand will be launched in various European countries where Birchbox was not present, such as Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Poland and the Netherlands.

Premium Beauty News - Precisely, under which brand name will you operate?

Quentin Reygrobellet - For now, under the Birchbox label but we are allowing ourselves 18 months to change the brand, its name. It is a real challenge because this name is known internationally, however we consider that it is also a great opportunity to show that we are going far beyond the box concept.

Premium Beauty News - Why did you choose Otium Capital and the French entrepreneur Pierre-Édouard Stérin to support your growth?

Quentin Reygrobellet - Things actually happened quite logically with Pierre-Édouard and his team. They have a thorough entrepreneurial vision, a deep knowledge of the beauty market while on the other hand, leaving us free rein and a total mastery of our project. It was a very important element for us.

Interview by Kristel Milet

© 2020 - Premium Beauty News - www.premiumbeautynews.com
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