While buying an Armani foundation at Sephora will set you back $62, and a Tom Ford fragrance another $140, the beauty retailer is now offering up its goods for a tantalizingly low price — $10 a month. Yep, Sephora is getting into the subscription box business.
The service, called “Play! by Sephora” — which, with its name and red, black and white branding, is somewhat reminiscent of Comme des Garçons Play — launches in limited distribution this September before rolling out nationwide in 2016. The deal is this: five “deluxe-size” prestige products a month curated around a theme like essentials or dewy skin, delivered to customers’ doors, often with bonus sample-size items and Spotify playlists. Which, sure.
At $10 for five products a month, Sephora has positioned itself right up against Birchbox, which offers the same. (Glossybox, another competitor, is priced at $21 a month.) But while Birchbox has risen to preeminence in the beauty subscription space in a mere five years, picking up $71.9 million in funding as it dove into brick-and-mortar and launched a men’s version, Sephora has the immediate advantage of, well, being Sephora. With 1,900 locations globally and a robust rewards program for its loyal customers, the retailer shouldn’t have too much trouble getting traction on this program.
This isn’t to say Sephora’s going to put Birchbox or any of the other startups in this space out of business, necessarily. At $10 a month for each subscription, beauty junkies very well might go for more than one.