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Birchbox’s Recent Acquisition Leaves Customers Considering Other Beauty Subscription Boxes

  • Nadine Ghiran - SUBTA
  • Nov 3, 2021
  • 5 minute read

FemTec Health’s recent announcement of the acquisition of Birchbox, the beauty subscription brand, left customers with mixed feelings. 

Many took to social media to express their discontent regarding the $45 million transaction — which SUBTA confirmed with Interim CEO Dr. Kimon Angelides — while others have made the decision to unsubscribe from BirchBox’s beauty subscription boxes.

Read on to learn more about the details of Birchbox’s acquisition, the company’s next steps, and the importance of communicating effectively with your customers.

Birchbox Under Pressure

In theory, an acquisition with the promise of new and improved services should excite customers. Yet, Birchbox’s strategy appeared to confuse its community and resulted in backlash from existing subscribers.

Birchbox tried to generate a buzz of anticipation around the future of its beauty subscription boxes by teasing something new, but it instead created an environment of uncertainty.

The Birchbox community members took to the virtual streets and vocalized their mixed feelings. Comments on Facebook, Instagram, and various articles show some positive reactions to the acquisition, but the majority show frustration and disapproval around the future of their beauty subscription boxes.

A comment from Mary on My Subscription Addiction’s news post reads, “This new partnership sounds so boring. This is a big NO for me. Thank god my subscription ends with the month of November! No one wants you to ‘revolutionize’ anything. All we wanted was a box of well-known beauty brand samples…not your own samples. I’m out.”

Likewise, “I decided not to renew my annual in September and I’m glad my intuition was on target,” commented Alice. “I’m a very discerning consumer and this takeover does not appeal to me in the least. They shall have none of my money.”

Teasing the launch of a new product or a big announcement is a common marketing practice.

Vague social media posts can make customers feel left out. Anytime you have a chance to interact with customers, do it. “Being up front and transparent builds a relationship of trust between a business and its customers,” says Paul Cambers, CEO of SUBTA. 

Some subscribers are also concerned about having to share personal health information with Birchbox. “Nope, no, no, hard no,” wrote Sherri. “That information is between me and my doctors.”

Dr. Angelides, Executive Chairman of FemTec Health, emphasizes that, “Privacy is absolutely the most important thing” and told SUBTA that there are procedures in place to ensure that all private information is secure.

Merging Beauty and Healthcare 

Dr. Angelides considers beauty and healthcare to be the same, and confirmed in the press release that in founding FemTech Health, he hoped to “create a new standard for the continuum of care for women.”

FemTec Health acquired Birchbox because of its long history in the industry — and doesn’t plan to sell the beauty subscription box company in the future, Dr. Angelides told SUBTA.

“It’s a company that has good brand equity and truly understands its customers and their needs,” he said.

Katia Beauchamp, Founder of Birchbox, has stepped down as CEO and is selling her majority stake in the company, Dr. Angelides told SUBTA. Beauchamp will still play a critical role at Birchbox through a strategic advising position and help shape Birchbox’s overall growth strategy, she told SUBTA.

The acquisition will involve a Birchbox relaunch with a focus on health and wellness products. FemTec Health’s BiomeAI™ — a platform engine for personalized data analysis — will improve the customer experience through the customization of clean beauty products.

“I have always believed that it makes sense to apply technology to creating experiences that bring function, delight and ease to customers,” Beauchamp told SUBTA. “FemTec’s vision for the future of women’s holistic wellbeing is compelling; I immediately recognized the opportunity for the Birchbox community to benefit from something that reimagined beauty and made it easy and fun to take great care of ourselves.”

Birchbox Adds Skincare to Its Beauty Subscription Boxes

Birchbox took its first step toward health and wellness offerings on Tuesday, Nov. 2: At-Home Skin Lab. A collaboration between Birchbox and FemTec Health’s own consumer brand, Awesome Woman, brings the science of skincare to Birchbox’s community.

Unlike Birchbox’s other beauty subscription boxes, the At-Home Skin Lab is a one-off, three-box skincare experience — not a repeating purchase. It’s designed to offer customers a deeper understanding of how to take care of their skin.

At-Home Skin Lab includes:

  • Skin Tests: A series of three diagnostic skin tests to help customers learn more about their skin type.
  • Skincare & Supplements: Seven full-sized skincare products and supplements, plus masks and beauty tools.
  • Education & Consultations: Tips & tutorials developed by the FemTec Health team of researchers. 

“The beauty industry is ready for change,” says Dr. Angelides. “We have to give [it] things that really work, things that are actually effective.”

FemTec Health Prioritizes Clean Ingredients

Birchbox subscribers can still expect a well-rounded beauty subscription box. Moving forward, Birchbox and FemTec Health will strictly analyze product ingredients and take out the ones that aren’t clean or natural. 

“Do they have things in them that are essentially naturally-sourced that we can show or have been shown to be effective in a clinical or science-based trial?” Dr. Angelides asked. 

FemTec Health has already removed nearly half of the products in Birchbox’s beauty subscription boxes in order to replace them with ones that complement and enhance each other, Dr. Angelidas told SUBTA. 

Beauchamp is confident that this next step in Birchbox’s life will be better for consumers. “We were pioneers because we challenged what was possible in beauty with the aim of making the entire market better,” she told SUBTA. “Now we will take that approach, but through the lens of health and beauty sciences.”  

The former Birchbox CEO said that she anticipated varying opinions from the community and encourages conversations and questions regarding this acquisition.

Key Takeaways:

  • FemTec Health acquired Birchbox for $45+ million.
  • Katia Beauchamp, Founder of Birchbox, has stepped down as CEO and is selling her majority stake in the company.
  • With FemTec Health’s expertise in women’s health and wellness, Birchbox will be combining clean beauty products with skincare and healthcare products.
  • The first of these offerings is the At-Home Skin Lab, a one-off, three-box skincare experience designed to offer customers a deeper understanding of how to take care of their skin.

Are you looking to learn more about the latest beauty trends in the subscription industry? Join SUBTA! We’re a community of doers, excited to share insights, make connections and grow your subscription brand.