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13 June 2017

Not All Beauty Boxes Are Created Equal: The Best & The Worst to Collaborate With

by Tamara Dumas

In light of numerous multi-million beauty acquisitions – here and here – in 2016 and 2017, it would be safe to assume that the beauty industry is getting saturated to say the least. In the meantime, journalists and beauty bloggers appear to be very hopeful about the potential prospects. “Big cosmetics companies used to turn up their noses at any acquisition with less than $100 million in annual sales,” says Vennette Ho, a managing director at Financo. “Now there’s practically no bottom because revenue can climb fast if a line suddenly catches digital fire.” In social media we trust!

In Great Britain, the value of the market reached £9.38 billion in 2016, whilst the actual number of packs purchased dropped 1.2% to 2.6 billion. This broadly indicated that shoppers, whilst seeking out bargains, didn’t use this as an excuse to buy more volume, rather they used their money more wisely and shopped around – including moving between a wider range of shops and the internet. With those statistics in mind, it is not surprising then that Beauty Boxes are taking the UK market by storm – good deals and a great opportunity to try out new products are just a few perks that attract customers. As to the beauty brands and marketing people behind them, the decision can be hard when it comes to choosing for the right business partner.

Below is the summary of the top beauty boxes and how well they manage their press relations and their internal marketing departments.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box

Look Fantastic have been a huge online beauty boutique since 1996 and have now launched a subscription box to deliver items from their range of over 14,000 products from 350 beauty brands.

Price

​The Look Fantastic Box is £15, which includes delivery. A good feature is that you can simply order a one-off box, without going back into your account to cancel, so good option to try a box.

Overall Summary

Expect up to 7 items across a good variety of hair, skin, nail and make-up products. As the subscription box is an off-shoot from their main e-commerce site.

PR / MARKETING

The PR / Marketing team of Look Fantastic is right on the ball. The dedicated team is working around the clock to arrange for new celebrity ambassadorships and features and ready to answer all questions.

The beauty booklet – that looks more like a petit magazine – includes everything you need to know about the beauty products included in the beauty box but not only. It also introduces the customer to other alternatives and contains useful tips on beauty routine. As if this alone is not enough, the booklet also contains some healthy recipes.

Their ambassadors - yes, not one but four - are as follows: Louise Thompson, Lydia Millen, Patricia Bright and Imogen Hudson and their efforts are expanding to micro-influencers – a new marketing trend. The new initiative is called ‘The Beauty Set’. All that indeed signals a healthy relationship with media and the wider audience. We are pretty confident that anyone contacting the brand with legitimate collaboration offer, will receive a due response.

Latest in Beauty Box

Even though you can cancel all other boxes at any time, it's worth mentioning Latest in Beauty, who offer a no subscription beauty box alternative. Simply build your own box from their huge range of discounted beauty samples and then receive vouchers to buy the full-sized products if you like them.

Price

There are also pre-picked themed boxes available to buy as one-off boxes, which offer great value for £15 as they often contain well over £70 worth based on the RRP.

Overall Summary

It is worth mentioning that there are two sides to Latest in Beauty;

1 - Beauty subscription of which they offer three monthly price plans to subscribers:

3 products, Beauty Novice, £9.00 per month

6 products, Beauty Enthusiast, £15.00 per month

9 products, Beauty Guru, £18.00 per month

Subscribers get to choose 3,6 or 9 of their favourite products to try from a selection of 200+ beauty products each month. All with free delivery.

Your first month's subscription also comes with a gorgeous limited edition makeup bag. The choice is in the hand of the subscriber so you can ensure you receive a box of goodies that is bespoke to you.

2 - Limited Edition Collection boxes - these boxes are usually put together in partnership with one of media/blogger/influencer partners e.g Hearst Magazines, Disney, SheerLuxe. You do not have to be a subscriber to buy these boxes, they can be a one-off purchase for yourself or a great gift for someone else. These retail between £20 - £45 and latestinbeauty.com subscribers enjoy free P&P on these boxes.

Marketing / PR

As is evident from the above, Latest in Beauty are taking Marketing seriously and are tireless in adding new products and Beauty Boxes to their long list of perks. In the past, Latest in Beauty have successfully launched partnerships with Condé Nast, YOU Magazine, Time Inc, Hearst Magazines UK, Sheerluxe and more. Their efforts have been exemplary in keeping the brand name current and relatable.

In keeping with most beauty boxes, Latest in Beauty special edition boxes include the beauty booklet with all the information you need to know about the products and the beauty routine.

With two separate teams – overlooking marketing and partnerships – you are guaranteed to be given due attention. Both teams are very proactive and ready to assist.

COHORTED Beauty Box

Our list of top Beauty Boxes wouldn’t be full without Cohorted, the Beauty Box on the luxury end of spectrum. The Beauty Box offers up to 6 full size beauty products from both established and undiscovered brands.

Price

The subscription Beauty Box is £35 including delivery while the limited edition boxes can reach up to £60 per box and are full of trendy lux products. The RRP value of the products in the box is usually over £100.

Overall Summary

The Beauty Box, beautifully wrapped, contains up to 6 full-size hand-picked beauty must haves, enclosed in an elegant all black exterior, and finished with a luxury hand tied bow. The aim of the Cohorted team is to remove the clutter and help customers discover quality brands - whether new or established - that can help to improve their beauty regime for the better.

Marketing / PR

The brand regularly collaborates with celebrities and ‘influencers’- Jane McDonald, Chloe Sims, Olivia Buckland to name a few. Being on the luxury end spectrum, the beauty box fills certain niche and for brands marketing in the same niche, it is a go-to place.

The in-house PR/Marketing team is very proactive and keen to follow through each lead, which can only be a good thing for both the brands and the media outlets considering collaboration.

The Cohorted experience, we were told, is not only about offering a high-end product to a great standard.

The Cohorted team ensure the customer knows everything they need to know about the chosen products in the box. The beauty booklet that is curated each month is set to give customers a more personal experience with the products. It includes a short story of the brand and a description of recommended routines.

The Cohorted team aim to use the best and most suitable ‘bloggers' and avid beauty fans.


Birchbox

Birchbox is huge in the US and is now expanding to the UK and Europe.

Price

Birchbox is currently £10 + £2.95 P&P per month , which is a mid-range price for a top end box compared to other boxes on the market. The normal RRP price of the items is normally around £45 giving you great value.

Overall Summary

Birchbox offer a great range of hair, nail and make-up products at an affordable price.

Due to their success, Birchbox can now strike exclusive deals with some of the biggest high street brands.

PR / MARKETING

As one might assume, the expansion on alleged success of the brand nowadays is built mainly on successful marketing and PR efforts. This might be the case for the Birchbox but, alas, their press relations email is being very quiet and they were not available to comment on their marketing efforts and campaigns.

It might be different for the brands willing to collaborate but in any case, a brand that is reluctant to communicate with the press or answer press enquiries is probably not the best investment of your time.

Glossy Box

There is a lot of attention to detail in the Glossy Box, with over 300 beauty enthusiasts working across the world to bring you the most exciting new beauty products.

Price

​Glossy Box includes 5 beauty essential products and is priced at £10 per month, which includes delivery.

Overall Summary

Glossy Box do a seemingly good job of including big name brands but also including new niche products that you probably have never heard of. Thus it makes this a great box to discover new products. The limited edition boxes look like an extra special treat, with past box partners including Karren Millen, Harvey Nichols and recently NARS Cosmetics.

PR / MARKETING

While the packaging of the Glossybox looks absolutely sharp, their press / marketing team was seemingly uninterested in the press enquiry. As stated previously, for all those seeking to collaborate with the GlossyBox, a brand that is reluctant to answer press enquiries is probably not the best investment of your time and products.

Love Lula

If you are looking for natural and organic beauty products then LoveLula looks like your best beauty box option. The team at LoveLula claim to ensure the products they select are pure, natural, organic and free from animal testing whist still being effective high performing beauty solutions.

Price

£12.50 which includes delivery, for 5-6 natural beauty products.

Overall Summary

Current fans of the LoveLula online store seem happy with the range of products, but don’t expect any feedback from the company itself.

PR / MARKETING

Packed with on-site discount offers and coupons, the website does not explicitly mention its collaborations and is not actively encouraging brands to collaborate either. The 'marketing team’ did not reply to our questions.

As marketing pros and beauty entrepreneurs search for new collaborations and new ways to increase their market share, the Beauty Box concept seems like an excellent way to capitalise on their customer base. Word of advice here would be to go niche, where possible, and consider contacting media-friendly and proactive companies who care about their clients, before spending your hard earned cash.