Birchbox at Walgreens
First of all, what is Birchbox you might ask? Birchbox is one if the first and most successful beauty subscription boxes targeting women and delivering packages full off small goodies every month for just $120/year. Subscribers and non-subscribers can also shop at their website and get full size items that they like. Up until now this service was subscription only, but there are small shops opening up at Walgreens here and there.
This partnership is destined to benefit both Walgreens and Birchbox. The first one will become more of a beauty destination as it has been trying to be since 2016 with heavy beauty investments, featured brands, and added beauty staff. The second will get more exposure and new clients, not to mention some good sales. Birchbox currently has about 2.5 million subscribers and knows what people like based on reviews, so it’s easy to pick what to sell at Birchbox-Walgreens to make it work.
The stores are 400-1,000 square feet and so far there are only 11 of them, one of which in Los Angeles we were able to visit. Here is what we think:
The first impression was kind of similar to what you would feel at Sephora. It’s light, bright, modern, inviting, had old birchboxes on display, and make up stations. There is a separate register and independent from Walgreens beauty consultants. The only thing in common between the two stores is the same roof over the heads.
Some of the brands that caught our eyes are drugstore staples like Covergirl, Maybelline, and NYX. While the Birchbox space was separate from the rest of Walgreens, it was located close to its beauty department and was like a more upscale continuation of it.
Birchbox is all about little boxes full of goodies, so there is no surprise that this model is prevalent here too. We loved a cute display of sample size products that you can choose yourself and build your own box for $15. The choices included makeup items, skin care lines, facial masks, moisturizers, makeup removers, and various products for everything hair.
We were not familiar with many of those products, so found descriptions on the tables and testers very helpful. After trying quite a few items, we knew what we were taking home with us.
The next station included all best sellers, according to consumers. Those products were loved and sold online in great numbers. According to the information board next to those items, over 50,000 reviews were left about them and love was in the air for us too. Who wouldn’t want to try what other people love so unanimously?
Some brands we saw are exclusive to Birchbox as the company supports up and coming cosmetics and niche brands. We found refreshing to try and buy some brands that are not available anywhere else, at least for now.
When it comes to prices, we found them comparable to Ulta’s, which is more expensive than what you usually find at Walgreens, but cheaper than at Sephora, kind of like a middle ground. Most full size items were between $15 and $40. Many drugstore brands sell beauty supplies for about $15 while high end stuff goes for over $40, and here you will be able to truly find the happy middle.
What made the store really stand out from the environment of Walgreens is the atmosphere. We loved cute vanities for hair and makeup product testing that gave homey feeling and luxurious vibes. We did not feel like we are at Walgreens at all!
Finally, there was even a spot made perfect for Instagram with a slogan “The Bright Side”, lighting, and tropical leaves.
Deeper into the store there were wall lined with full size products that included everything a beauty savvy lady might need, from makeup, to skin care, to hair styling needs, and beyond. All shelves were well organized, tidy, labeled, and self-explanatory.
The beauty consultant told us that upcoming holidays will see a lot of gift boxes, sets, and ideas. We definitely look forward to that!
The entire set up took us from the common drug store to a beauty paradise and we left thinking that this model will really work and hopefully expand to all cities. It’s attractive to young Instagrammers, convenient to shop at, and radiates the feeling of self-indulgence and care. It turns out Walgreens and Birchbox are a match made in heaven.