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    Birchbox & Fall Beauty

    Today, we bring you a discovery we made a few months ago at an internet conference we attended. We met Hayley and Katia, founders of Birchbox, a great service for all us girls who love to try out beauty products and be in the know about the best new ones. Each month, a Birchbox is delivered full of beauty and lifestyle samples for you to try out. We loved the idea so much that we decided to partner with them on a special goop curated box. Below, our interview with Hayley and Katia and a round up of fall beauty advice from our go-to experts.


    get your goop birchbox -
    Only available in the US

    Q&A with Hayley and Katia of Birchbox

    Q:We hear you met at Harvard Business School. At what point did you decide to start a business together? Did you have other ideas in mind before coming up with Birchbox?

    A:We came up with the idea for Birchbox during our last semester of business school. We had a few months until graduation and decided it was the perfect opportunity to write a business plan and put all our learning to good use. We came up with several ideas, many of which were jokes (meggings anyone? That’s leggings for men…why should women have all the fun?), but the concept of beauty and lifestyle discovery stuck and we committed to making it happen.

    We recognized that there were no new concepts when it came to beauty ecommerce and that beauty online had unique pain points since touching, trying, smelling and experiencing products are essential to product discovery. Then came the real life inspiration - Hayley had a close friend who was a beauty editor and for years had gifted her the newest and best products along with advice on how to use them. We realized that all women would love to have a best friend who could cut through the clutter and deliver them great products along with the info on why and how to use them.

    Q:What’s the name about?

    A:Birchbox was one of the first names we came up with... We wanted to bring in beautiful, but gender-neutral imagery. Birch trees are gorgeous in every season with their silvery bark. It's easy to spell and the alliteration is fun.

    Q:Tell us a little bit about what Birchbox was like at the very beginning and what it is now.

    Katia putting the 1st prototype together.

    A:At the very beginning it was just the two of us waking up every morning with new ideas, fleshing out the value proposition, writing pitch decks and building prototypes. Looking back, we're still so amazed that we were able to secure meetings with the leadership at some of our favorite global beauty brands based on a single email and enthusiastic one pager. Once we had secured brand partners, it was off to the races... Katia and I packing boxes in my on-campus apartment, answering every email from customers and working to update the basic version our original website.

    Our first hire, our beauty editor friend Mollie, was a content machine, writing everything herself from product pages to articles and tweeting up a storm. We had a lot of late nights, but it was such an amazing time, we were probably too excited to sleep. Back then we wore every hat, and over time we've recruited a fantastic team over 100 talented people to wear some of those hats for us. Our roles couldn't be more different now on a day-to-day basis, but we still have the same drive and excitement.

    Q:For readers who want to start their own business, what are your top tips?

    A:First the soft stuff: Trust yourself. If you are passionate about your idea you can do more than you ever imagined. There is no secret to success; you simply start with a vision and then it is about problem solving, breaking everything down into smaller pieces, getting it done, and remaining tenacious even when the uphill pursuit becomes steeper. Nothing is more rewarding!

    Now for tactical: It might seem daunting to get started, but it doesn't need to be perfect from the start. Test your idea in its minimum viable form. Our first site was super basic, we packed every box ourselves and walked them all to the post office. We were able to let it evolve over time instead of solving everything on day one.

    This week’s goop collaboration

    Monrow Tissue V-Neck Tee -

    Q:Any mistakes while building the business and what have you learned from them?

    A:Running a fast growing business means being comfortable with uncertainty and learning from mistakes. We make them every day. Our biggest regret in building Birchbox was not hiring fast enough. Hiring and building a great team is the most challenging aspect of our job and the most rewarding. Quickly we learned that there are a finite amount of things that can be accomplished by a single person in a day - you need to share learning and teach others. Now, working side by side with the incredible team at Birchbox inspires us to work harder and do justice not only to the idea but to the people behind it as well.

    Q:What’s next for Birchbox?

    A:We launched Birchbox Man earlier this year and are so excited to see the enthusiasm for the grooming and lifestyle discovery value proposition. We also just expanded internationally via the acquisition of JolieBox!
    Please note: The goop Birchbox is only available in the US.

    Q:What selection criteria do you use for the boxes?

    A:We are about discovery – whether that’s a new lip-gloss launch or bringing a tried and true product from a niche, hard-to-find brand.

    Q:Over the years, having seen so many brands come through your doors, can you both give us a breakdown of what your current daily beauty routine is and what products you use?

    A:Katia: Depends on the day when it comes to hair and makeup. My skincare though, is pretty consistent.

    • When I have makeup on, I start with an oil cleanser. Then I use both a serum and moisturizer. Right now all of those products are Tatcha, a new skincare brand- I am obsessed!
    • I always use eye cream Caudalie’s Vinoperfect is fantastic.
    • For hair, I use Shu Uemura’s Cleansing Oil Shampoo. I am addicted.
    • For makeup on a normal day it’s Boscia BB cream, Anastasia brow pencils, Lancôme Hypnose mascara and TheBalm Staniac on cheeks and lips.

    Hayley: When we started Birchbox I was a total minimalist and had a lot to learn. I've picked up some new tricks and added to my routine since then!

    • I wear SPF every day, either a sunscreen serum from Supergoop! or tinted moisturizer like Jouer's Luminizing Moisture Tint.
    • I've been hooked on Oribe haircare for shampoo and conditioner, both because of the heavenly smell and the great results. Lately I've been letting my curly hair air-dry with some curl cream from Miss Jessie's.
    • In terms of makeup I like simple application with big impact - so colorful eyeliners from Stila and Eyeko or manicures in the latest Birchbox-approved shades help brighten my day. My favorite product discovery through Birchbox has been Blinc mascara, a tubing mascara that never flakes or runs.

    The Fall Beauty Panel

    We asked our go-to beauty team for their tips and tricks to get us through fall.


    Leslie Lopez

    A step by step guide for getting a glowing
    and natural look.

    1) Skin

    Always start by deeply moisturizing the face, eye area and neck. Leslie only uses a little foundation to even out the tone but the key is to let your real skin shine through. She also applies foundation to the eyelids as this helps give the eyeshadow staying power when you apply.

    2) Cheeks

    Apply a rosy toned cream blush (as this is the color people actually turn when they blush) on the apple of the cheek with your fingers and blend well. Apply bronzer to cheekbones, jawline and temples to warm up the look.

    3) Eyes

    Use an eyebrow pencil that’s identical to the color of your eyebrow and fill in following your shape. Then, put a neutral and translucent vanilla eye shadow all around the lid. Now, apply a taupe eye shadow from the corner of the eye to the middle, then switch to chocolate brown, concentrating it on the end of the eyelid. Leslie also applies a soft, thin line of taupe and chocolate brown eyeshadow underneath the eye. Always, always curl your lashes, pressing down for 20 seconds minimum along the entire lash for a natural curl. Finally, coat with brown mascara.

    4) Lips

    Finish off with a berry stain on the lips, applying with a lipstick brush.

    Emma Lovell

    Makeup musts for making your skin look young
    and gorgeous in the winter.

    • To help dark under eye circles disappear try an eye concealer that contains light reflecting pigments. In winter, the dark downward crease on the outer corner of the eye is more visible, dab a little of this eye brightener with your little finger here and it immediately gives a youthful lift to your eyes.
    • Avoid using any powder under the eye area as this is incredibly ageing!
    • A trick for puffy eyes is to place cold brewed Chamomile tea bags on closed eyes. The anti-inflammatory properties reduce the swelling and tighten the skin around the eye area.
    • For enlarged pores around the nose, use an invisible pore minimizer under your foundation - this creates smooth and flawless skin.
    • Swap your black mascara for a dark brown as it's softer, warmer and more forgiving.
    • For women starting to get fine lines around the mouth, it is essential to line the lips with a lip liner as to use lipstick alone will cause the lipstick to bleed. Choose a lip liner a shade darker than your lipstick to give the impression of full pouty lips.

    Katey Denno

    A rundown on this season’s key looks. Check out her great beauty blog,

    “Whether it's slightly enhancing your brows, while keeping them soft and pretty, drawing a precise thick cat eye in black or experimenting with it in a color, donning a sheer cool toned shade for a smokey eye, or painting your lips in gorgeous shade of burgundy or red satin, the message is loud and clear: keep the skin glowing and natural, the brows full and pretty, and have fun playing up either your eyes or lips when you feel like it.”

    From left to right from Fall 2012 RTW: A thick cat eye in a bright blue at Anna Sui; sheer toned smokey eyes at Jason Wu; burgundy lips at Gucci and prominent, pretty brows at Marc by Marc Jacobs. All photos, Fairchild Photo Service.


    George Northwood

    Getting hair back on track for the fall. He showed us
    how to do our own hair a few months ago.

    “After the summer, everyone's hair is dry and brittle from the sun and sea. So, come autumn it's time for an MOT - a good trim (nearer an inch to half an inch), a nice moisturizing treatment (some salons have treatments they put under heat to really penetrate the hair) and a general review of your cut and color for the new season.”

    On making a blow dry last:

    “Prep the hair with your usual products and use a ceramic round brush (that’s the key) and a nozzle, as this direct heat onto the hot ceramic really sets the hair in place. At the end, give your hair a light hairspray.”

    Hair Color

    Tracey Cunningham

    Breaking down this season’s popular hair
    colors – and doing blonde the right way.

    Currently I'm getting a lot of requests for multi-dimensional blondes a la Leslie Bibb and now, Natalie Portman. During the summer months blondes tend to go blonder, but when the weather starts to cool off I recommend toning it down a bit. To transition the "California Blonde" into the winter months I'll usually give her lowlights while still keeping the tips light - this warms up the overall look yet gives her a multi-dimensional and natural look.

    Natalie Portman goes blonde.


    Nadine Ferber

    The owner of the New York salon, tenoverten, tells us about this season's best nail colors.

    Oxblood was a big trend in accessories for Fall 2012, but if you can't invest in an of-the-moment bag, you can still have an on-trend manicure.

    Matte Red lips were also huge on the runways for Fall and for Spring 2013 (See Rochas' spring collection) -- update a classic, ladylike red manicure with a matte topcoat.

    Lately, we're seeing taupe as "the new neutral." Finding the right shade for your skin tone is key to nailing this trend, but when done correctly it looks natural, effortless, and chic.

    Pale gold polish is a great choice for this season; it's festive, but not ostentatious. Perfect if your social calendar has you going from the office to a holiday party.

    For those enamored of darker colors, but bored of black, navy blue is a chic and unexpected alternative.

    The goop collection