The Cold Open

Birchbox finds unlikely success on YouTube

There’s nothing quite like a good reveal – that moment a magician pulls the very card you were thinking of, or when a burlesque dancer finally drops the feathers. But who could have imagined that YouTube videos of someone opening her mail could drive a business?

For beauty product subscription service Birchbox, however, videos of subscribers “unboxing” their latest delivery not only help spread the word, they also score tens of thousands of views each. A typical unboxing video (which features neither magic nor nudity) is simply a person opening a Birchbox and oohing and ahhing over the products inside.

Since launching in September 2010, the company has grown to over 100k subscribers, a staff of 60, expanded into men’s products, and generally kicked off a monthly subscription service craze (see BarkBox).

And YouTube has been critical to that success. In addition to unboxing stars like Missglamorazzi, who has a cool 70 million video views total, their homegrown YouTube channel BirchboxTV offers potential subscribers a sneak peek at the goodies that await.

“In addition to the studio quality tutorials we film…we also produce quick Beauty Confessionals ,“ Brittany Tomkiewicz, PR associate at Birchbox, told us. “We put Birchbox staffers in front of the camera at their desks to talk about their favorite products or tips and tricks.”

Birchbox is hiring for 18 positions. Check them out here.

Now go forth (and open up for the cameras).

Nitty Gritty:

$10 – $20: Monthly cost of a Birchbox subscription

200+: Brands featured in past Birchboxes

7.3mm: Views of a one-handed unboxing of a Kinder surprise egg


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