Building a beautiful brand: bellabox
Every month, people across Australia look forward to the arrival of a small blue box in the mail. Inside lies a collection of samples and treats from international beauty and grooming brands—it’s all about experimenting with something new.
[backing music plays throughout]
Vision: Shot of a city scape
Title: The bellabox story
Vision: Sarah walks through her office
Sarah: In terms of the spark, the spark to run a business it, was something we’d talked about- that idea- I was getting to a point in my career where I was helping run businesses so it felt like a natural step, how do I take the next leap? And the spark, was small but it moved very quickly.
Vision: Sarah being interviewed in her office.
Sarah: I think that women everywhere love beauty. I love beauty because there’s something about being female where it’s exciting to have all these beautiful products to trial so that drove me to look at different businesses that focused on that beauty arena.
Vision: Products being packed into a bellabox.
Sarah: Bellabox is a monthly beauty subscription service and there are five beauty products in a bellabox each month. They’re customised to your beauty profile, so when you join you say, oh I’ve got blond hair and I like red lipstick, and we make sure that we get products that suit you
Vision: Different beauty products that might go into a bellabox.
Sarah: The whole point of a bellabox is we’re trying to take what is a very traditional marketing channel, which is sampling, and making it much more sophisticated by targeting those products to your needs and wants.
Vision: Sarah’s staff working at their computers in the office.
Sarah: I think it’s really interesting to think about when you transition to being a bigger business. It’s almost hard to track- you can track it in hindsight and say well that numbers were showing that we were heading there.
Vision: Staff working in the office and packing products into bellaboxes.
Sarah: For us it was really, you’re dealing so much with the day to day and satisfying and being able to service that growth that you often forget to step back and say, well done, we’ve made it to a “bigger business”, so I know when it was but I remember at the time not even thinking about it.
Vision: Sarah sitting at her laptop.
Sarah: My business partner is actually my twin sister with bellabox.
[sound of a Skype call connecting]
Vision: Sarah’s twin sister Emily appears on screen.
Sarah: Good morning, how are you?
Emily: Good, how are you?
Sarah: Good … thank you. What’s going on in Singapore?
Vision: Sarah talking to Emily in her office.
Sarah: We are super competitive, but the fact that we knew each other so well and the value that we would bring to a business, we were able to quickly decide to go into this together.
Emily: China is going to be such an important market for us, such huge potential and we have this connection with Australia, that’s what customers want.
Sarah: Yeah, look I think we’re really excited about the opportunity, it was the right approach to go with the Australian natural products, because that definitely seems to be where we are getting the traction.
Vision: Sarah working at her desk.
Sarah: Australia Post came to us with an opportunity for us to get into China, and it was one of those things, there was so much going on and I sort of let it go for… two months, and then once I had a chance to think about it, I thought, this is huge.
Vision: bellaboxes being stacked up.
Sarah: I looked into the numbers and I saw how many Chinese were buying Australian products, Australian skincare products and I thought about our business model and how we could apply that to China and we decided to almost pivot from our current model and we have now limited edition boxes that are running through the Tmall and JD.com store of Australia Post into China.
Vision: Staff packing bellaboxes.
Sarah: Great things definitely happen. I think it’s about you know, trying to stop and smell the roses, and I’ve been told that on many occasions.
Vision: Sarah being interviewed in her office.
Sarah: Growth is exciting, but it comes with a few challenges, and having people come and tell you their story, as a customer of yours, I think is extremely valuable.
Title: Australia Post StarTrack
This try-before-you-buy approach has changed the way Australians discover beauty products. For an affordable monthly subscription and free delivery, your monthly Bellabox is customised to your personal style and tastes—so, if you’re a redhead who has a thing for glitter eyeshadow, they’ve got your back. Or, if you’re a bloke, there’s the quarterly Bellobox and also a monthly Bellababy for little ones and gift subscriptions if you know someone who’s a fan of using the newest lotions and potions.
The monthly lucky dip could include all manner of hair, make up, fragrance, nail or skin products to slather on. Should you get hooked on one of the samples, Bellabox sells many of the more popular products on the site, which is also rich in tips and tricks for the Bellabox community, with editorial content, curated lists and advice from experts.
Based in Melbourne, Bellabox is a sister act. Founded in 2011 by the Hamilton sisters, twins Sarah and Emily (who telecommutes from her base in Singapore), the pair keep in constant contact by Skype and email managing 30-strong team across both countries. Bellabox partners with more than 400 of the world’s leading beauty and grooming brands to deliver the latest and greatest releases to their subscribers.