Birchbox wasn't the first beauty-samples-in-the-mail program--I worked at NewBeauty magazine when they launched the TestTube, so I'd know--but it's arguably the most popular program of its kind and the model for the slew of other sample subscription services that have popped up in the last few years.
Birchbox has been an exclusively online endeavor since 2010; its website is the destination to not only sign up for the monthly box o' beauty samples, but also where you can come back and buy full sizes of the samples you liked best.
Thing is, most people aren't doing the latter. They're going to Sephora or department stores when they like the sample they got from Birchbox. So Birchbox wants in on some of that sweet, sweet real-life retail action.
The New York Times reports that Birchbox founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna have started moving into what was once a salon--apparently, the banner for it still hangs defeatedly on the facade--with visions of sugar scrubs (and other beauty products) dancing in their Harvard-educated heads.
The plan is to stock about 2,000 different beauty products, all available for testing at flatteringly-lit vanities. There's even a Build-A-Bear-esque opportunity to compose your own Birchbox with the samples you want--perfect for those who don't like getting surprises in the mail!
The West Village location--so far, that's the only one--will also have a second floor for makeup and hairstyling classes, and the space will be sprinkled with touch-screens that answer shoppers' questions about their skin type, what other people think of the product they're considering, etc.
They're aiming to open in May.
Oh, by the way, this isn't the first time a beauty sampling program has opened a brick-and-mortar store. NewBeauty did that first, too. Just sayin'.
Would you be interested in this kind of beauty shopping experience? New Yorkers, do you think you'll stop by when it opens?