What's Going On With The OG Beauty Box Subscription, Birchbox?

While you can now take your pick from a ton of different beauty box subscriptions, it was Birchbox that paved the way for all of them. Birchbox first came on the scene all the way back in 2010 when two business school classmates were looking for a way to find the best beauty products, per Fashionista. Birchbox is a monthly box that members can subscribe to, getting new products to try each month. If a customer loves a product from their box, they can simply go on the Birchbox website and purchase the full size item. And being the first meant that Birchbox not only paved the way for newcomers like Ipsy, Boxycharm, and Glossybox (not to mention, a ton of non-beauty subscription models), they also found immense success in the beauty industry.

According to Fast Company, that success led to a brick-and-mortar store in New York City and a partnership with Walgreens. But as more competitors came into play and the beauty industry began to shift into the wellness space, Birchbox began to struggle.

Birchbox is considering filing for bankruptcy

After a decade of success, Birchbox began to feel the weight of the changing beauty world. After some issues in 2016 — per Modern Retail, they had a round of layoffs that year — the company partnered with Walgreens for what seemed like a lifeline to get their business model back on track. Unfortunately, as with many businesses, the pandemic threw a wrench in their climb back to the top. In 2020, they laid off 25 percent of their staff and a year later, they were officially bought by FemTech Health, a new healthcare startup, per Beauty Matter.

This merger with FemTech meant a decent cash flow into Birchbox, but it also meant that co-founder and CEO, Katia Beauchamp, would sell her majority in the company and leave her post as CEO, simply becoming an advisor. Unfortunately, a year later, things seem grim. According to Women's Wear Daily, FemTech executives sent out a letter to all Birchbox creditors to let them know that the company may be filing for bankruptcy, possibly a "Chapter 11 or equivalent structure." They encouraged creditors to instead put shares into FemTech.

In a recent Instagram post, Birchbox posted a message to their customers making it known that they understand the frustrations they may be facing during the company's struggles. And while the sentiment seemed genuine, many customers came firing back in the comments saying that this message comes way too late to keep their loyalty to the company.