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5 eye-catching subscription beauty boxes you can learn from



What's the best way to keep up with the latest fashion, makeup, skincare, and cosmetics trends? Bingo — subscribing to a monthly beauty box. 

Beauty subscription kits like Birchbox provide deluxe samples of beauty and care products from a number of categories. The best part is, they are handpicked by a team of cosmetics aficionados who provide a collection of boxes for your personal selection. All you have to do is sign up, pick a plan, and wait for your fabulous beauty box to arrive in the mail.

These popular beauty boxes are so beloved that people's unboxing videos have gone viral. This one has over half a million views: 

Videos like the one above can help consumers sort through the many popular beauty boxes on the market and find one that's right for them.

Today we want to highlight some of our favourites, but from an ecommerce perspective. If you own a Shopify store, or are thinking about starting your own subscription, you'll definitely want to check out these top beauty boxes that are making noise in the world of ecommerce subscriptions

We'll also do our best to bring you up to speed on 7 Subscription Models to Master, highlighting some of the strengths of each. Hopefully once you're done reading you'll have a sense of which subscription model, or combination of models, would work for your brilliant beauty box idea. 

Get our free ebook: 7 Subscription Models to Master

Ready? Let's look inside! 

1. Camera Ready Cosmetics – Proscription Beauty Box

The secret to subscription boxes is curation, not creation. What does this mean?

If you only include products that you create yourself, or source items from only one brand, you're going to have a hard time competing with the heavy hitters like Birchbox and Ipsy. These top-rated boxes feature the most popular products from the latest brands. 

Camera Ready Cosmetics do a great job of packing their “Proscription” beauty box full of sample and full-sized products from the brands you have to have. They even fill you in on which professional beauty artists love them and the best way to use them.

Pink and white web banner for Proscription beauty box

How does their subscription work?

It's simple. They release one box each season, providing subscribers with a sneak preview before it ships to generate excitement. 

Once customers receive their box, they get notified before the next one ships, giving them the option to cancel their subscription or skip the next round. This kind of freedom and flexibility is not just a perk — it's a must for any great beauty box. 

Charging customers for a product they didn't want because they are “locked in” is always a no-no. 

Plus, Camera Ready know they're selling beauty products, not stamps.They use playful copy that their customers can relate to. Check it out: 

Reminder to refill your ProscriptionLike most of the top-rated beauty boxes we're looking at today, this is an example of a Curated Subscription. It seeks to surprise and delight subscribers by providing new items or highly personalized experiences. 

Within the Curated Subscriptions category, we would further define it as a Curated Box. This means it delights customers with a unique collection or multi-brand offering they can't get anywhere else. 

See, you're already becoming a subscriptions pro. Learn about other subscription models to master. 

Download our ebook: Subscriptions LTV 4 Keys to Increasing the Lifetime Value of Customers

Let's open our next box!

2. Lashify

Lash extension queens Lashify have abandoned traditional business models in favor of being a “female-owned and driven company that breaks the rules.” 

With 70 patents and 50 trademarks worldwide, and over 30,000 customers (who dub themselves “Lashifiends”) who needs rules anyway? 

Their subscription box comes in two options: the X Luke-Box or the Lashify X box, both for around $40. 

Brown banner showing two subscription options

The Lashify X Luxe-Box box falls under the Recurring Replenishment category. This is a box that provides customers with effortless, automatic refills. 

In subscriptions land, the X Luxe-Box is what we'd call a Build-a-Box model. Where the basic kit starts at around $40, customers are able to pick and choose and curate their own custom box. It's like Christmas, but you get to pick out all the presents! 

Heres an example of some of the choices customers get: 

panels of eyelashes and eyelash accessories that customer can add to box

By picking their duration (weekly, biweekly, monthly) and which products they want to edit, they have complete control over what comes in their box, and the price they want to pay. 

They can keep it pretty basic, or load up on the latest lashes and accessories.

The second box, Lashify X, falls under our Curated Subscriptions category that we discussed earlier. It's a Monthly Club, which means it gives shoppers and loyal customers surprise products or a special selection of items. 

For one set price of $39.95 customers receive a monthly kit. “Lashifiends” love receiving their monthly eyelash box!

Let's take a peek at our next top-rated beauty box. 

3. Peppi Gel

Who doesn't love a great mystery?

With Peppi Gel's popular beauty box, you subscribe not knowing what you're going to get. Then you look forward to the big surprise! 

These type of boxes are a fun way to keep customers intrigued and engaged. They work well for stores like Peppi Gel, who also sell a variety of beauty products. 

Customers who regularly order their products might just add on a mystery box for a fun treat along with their regular order. Doesn't this banner just make you want to smash that subscribe button? 

colorful mystery box with decorative paper and powder samples in little jars

Mystery box details

If you are doing a mystery or surprise subscription box, it's important to tease out some details so the customer can at least play the game of trying to guess what it might be. 

Here's the info Peppi Gel provides for $35.95 mystery box: 

Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 10.52.56 PM

Keep in mind, the element of surprise is only half the fun. The other half is opening the box to find a satisfying product. If the contents of the box fail to delight, or seem inadequate for the price, the only mystery you'll be solving is how to make it through next month. 

Don't worry, it's easy to curate the perfect mystery box you know your customers will love. Just keep it simple, and stick to what works!

Get our free ebook: 7 Subscription Models to Master

4. Thrive Cosmetics

These health and socially conscious cosmetic sellers provide high-quality skincare, makeup, and beauty products while supporting a variety of causes. Good for the body and the soul!

Unlike some of the top-selling beauty boxes we've looked at today, Thrive has a somewhat different approach to subscriptions. 

Instead of offering a trademark subscription box, or curating products of your choice, they allow for a subscription option on many of the products they sell. 

This simple, pragmatic approach to cosmetics goes hand in hand with their socially-conscious brand — the slogan, Bigger than Beauty sits front and centre on their homepage. 

How does it work? 

First you pick any number of products. Here we have a 3-in-1 skin cleanser:

Thrive cosmetics 3-in-1 cleaner

The subscription option is subtle but effective. Rather than trying to be the biggest, boldest subscription box on the block, they provide a gentle reminder that you get free shipping with a subscription of the product. 

Note: Skin creams, cleansers, and other beauty products make great subscription items, because they're consumable. If you like them, chances are you will need more each month, or at the duration of your choosing. 

Either buy once or pick a subscription increment for  this all-in-one skincare + waterproof makeup removing cleanser

The customer can either select Buy Once, or choose a subscription of their choice. The free shipping incentive might just be enough for some customers to move from a single purchase to a monthly subscription. 

As with all subscription businesses, the goal is to maximize recurring revenue. If someone signs up for four months of a product, instead of a single purchase, surely eating the shipping costs is worth it. 

Now, let's look at one last subscription business that is sure to put a smile on those lips.

5. Spoiled Lips

When coming up with a subscription business model or curated box, one of the first things ecommerce entrepreneurs have to decide is whether to focus on one niche or a variety of categories.

While there are certainly advantages for the companies that sell it all — especially if they are offering an all-in-one beauty box like some of the brands we looked at above — there is also strength with picking one thing and being the best at it. 

Spoiled Lips are all about one thing. Can you guess what it is? 

They don't pout around when it comes to promoting their subscription products either. 

They offer a bunch of different monthly clubs, which range in price and flexibility of product. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 11.32.46 PM

Their Monthly Lip Trio features three liquid lipsticks for $24.36. Or, you can “subscribe and save” and get the three-pack for only $18 with free shipping. 

For customers who love the product, and know they are going to want more, it's a no-brainer to subscribe. 

Another thing that is unique about their service is the use of discounted subscription offers. Their Flash Super Lippie Trio Deal offers huge savings if you subscribe within a limited timeframe. It's the classic “flash sale,” but as a subscription.

Lip sticks scattered on an ornate bag

This offer incorporates the build-a-box model that we looked at earlier. Pick your colors each month and build your own bundle. If you forget, they will pick for you, based on your previous orders. 

As you are starting to see, there are nearly endless ways to use subscriptions to sell just about any kind of beauty of cosmetic product. The distinct way you decide to offer your products as subscriptions will be what makes your store uniquely you. 

Download our ebook: Subscriptions LTV 4 Keys to Increasing the Lifetime Value of Customers


Well, want to know what one secret ingredient all five of these top-rated beauty boxes share? Can you guess? 

That's right, they are all powered by Bold Subscriptions, our powerful and popular app for Shopify that lets you turn conversions into recurring revenue. 

Try Bold Subscriptions now for FREE!

Having a top-selling beauty box idea is an awesome start, but you also need the knowledge to back it up. That's why we created this ebook for subscriptions sellers, 7 Subscription Models to Master. 

In this completely free ebook, we go over some of the subscription models we touched on today, plus many more, and in greater detail. We highly recommend that anyone who downloads our Bold Subscriptions use this as their official playbook. 

Well, are you ready to become a subscriptions master? Follow the link below: 

Get our free ebook: 7 Subscription Models to Master

This article originally appeared in the Bold Commerce blog and has been published here with permission.

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