Small manufacturers in New York competing with larger producers have made use of New York’s growing tech companies to help them market their goods to customers in New York and beyond.
Birchbox, an e-retailer and sampling service, partners with major national brands to bring their products to customers who subscribe to Birchbox’s monthly service. Subscribers sample and then hopefully buy full-size items. But the New York based company has increasingly added smaller brands that manufacture beauty, home and lifestyle products out of New York to their sampling service and online store.
“Birchbox was a great partner for us. As a new and small brand, it gave us the opportunity to reach out and introduce our brand to a large audience at once,” said Jackie Lee, co-founder of Grand Central Beauty, a skincare brand based in Queens, New York.
These small New York manufacturers also include LAQA and Co., which makes cosmetics and For the Makers, which sources raw materials from New York and beyond to create DIY kits to make your own jewelry and accessories, that have taken advantage of Birchbox’s rapid success to improve their business.
“We sell a lot more products and have a lot more followers and consumers who tend to be more loyal and interested in what we are doing. Because they get a physical sample and can physically see our quality they are much more likely to come back and try some other products,” said Nicole Lee of LAQA and Co.
Birchbox has received $80 million in funding since it’s founding in 2010. Most recently they received $60 million in funding last April, according to crunchbase.com.
And the company continues to grow. It acquired a similar European based service called JolieBox in September of 2012 and more recently has opened a flagship brick and mortar store in Soho in July.
Nicole Lee said Birchbox’s reach was the right outlet for a small manufacturer like LAQA and Co. to get brand exposure. “With such a crowded marketplace we found that it can be hard to gain attention as a high quality beauty line,” she said.
LAQA and Co. and Grand Central Beauty each have their own e-commerce site, as does more than a dozen other New York manufacturers listed on the Birchbox site.
These companies include W&P design, which manufacturers a mason jar cocktail shaker in Brooklyn, and Hudson and Bleeker, a company that manufactures hand bags. Even well known New York classics like Sarabeth’s bakery have been featured on the Birchbox site. And by selling through Birchbox they can target and expand their customer base. Birchbox has 800,000 subscribers across the U.S.
And the companies have seen results after being featured by Birchbox. Jackie Lee said that for Grand Central Beauty, “Birchbox was super supportive and mindful that we are a growing brand. Being in Birchbox helped us sell significantly more products. By allowing customers to sample and test our products at home, it allowed customers to confidently purchase our products who are otherwise in markets that do not have access to test out our new brand in local brick and mortar locations.”