Building a beautiful brand: bellabox

Since 2011, people across Australia have looked forward to the arrival of a small blue box each month. bellabox is a beauty startup that has changed the way Australians discover new beauty products. The blue boxes contain samples and treats from international beauty brands, letting people experiment with something new and try before they buy.

The monthly boxes cater for the tastes and the looks of their recipients. There are also dedicated options for men (Bellobox) and for babies (Bellabay). Popular products are also stocked on the site in case people get hooked on something new. The site is also rich in tips and tricks for the bellabox community, with editorial content, curated lists and advice from experts.

In the time since its launch in 2011, bellabox has grown incredibly. The brainchild of twin sisters Sarah and Emily Hamilton who were based in Melbourne and Singapore respectively when they founded the business, is now a household name. If you know someone who’s into beauty and makeup then you can pretty confidently assume they’ve heard about bellabox.

The business has gone from strength to strength, and you need only spend a few minutes on Google to learn how well respected and admired Sarah and Emily are amongst entrepreneurial, startup, and beauty communities. They’ve been interviewed for magazines, and presented at events all over Australia and the world about their successful strategies, and how they’ve turned a simple idea into a booming business. Sarah has been featured in TechCrunch, Inside Retail, The Australian Financial Review, SMH, BRW, Mashable, Business Insider and AdNews - a pretty impressive list of publications.

Reports about bellabox from 2016 say that the savvy sisters and their hard-working team had raised over $7 million in funding at that point. Sarah says that investors in bellabox include Square Peg Capital, Apex Capital, Monash Capital and a number of angel investors. In September 2014, bellabox received funding from Allure Media (wholly owned by Fairfax Media) which owns digital brands including Popsugar, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku and Business Insider.

With tens of thousands of monthly subscribers signed up to receive a little piece of what Sarah describes as “affordable luxury” each month, success and growth is so strong that bellabox’s founders were able to hire a new CEO for their business in 2017 so that they could focus on launching a second mega-successful skincare business.

In April 2017, Sarah and Emily brought on Andrew Batt as CEO to oversee bellabox operations. Andrew brings his own unique set of skills and experience to the team that will help the business to grow even more. As well as his more than 20 years’ experience in the corporate world Andrew is also the director of the Thin Green Line Foundation which aims to protect the people that protect nature - those being park rangers in Australia and abroad who risk harm by protecting the environment and animals in the parks they serve.

Andrew leads the bellabox executive team while Sarah and Emily remain on the board, making up an incredible team of talented leaders who continue to drive success for the subscription skincare business.

In 2017 Sarah and Emily launched Sand & Sky - a business that has made headlines around the world for launching a much hyped and coveted Australian kaolin clay based facial mask. The pink clay mask has been noticed across social media, with scores of beauty bloggers and beauty fans taking to Instagram, YouTube to show off their reviews of the product and the results they’ve had from using it.

The Sand & Sky clay mask launched in April 2017, and a few months later by September, Sarah and Emily had already sold a whopping 60,000 tubs of the new beauty must-have.

If one thing’s for sure, it’s that the Hamilton twins know how to launch and run businesses. All it takes is a great idea, and the rest is hard work and lots of communication between the two sisters.

Back in 2016, we spoke with Sarah about starting the bellabox business, her life as a CEO, and got the inside scoop on the business’ expansion into China. While so much has happened since the first time we met and interviewed Sarah, her energy and savvy business sense has remained strong and switched on. Check out the video below to hear about how Sarah ran bellabox for so many years with her sister, via phone calls and Skype from offices in Australia and Singapore.

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