Beauty From Boxes
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Valentia Angelin Read : 2618 Date : Thursday, September 05, 2013 - 05:02:56

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Lolabox co-founders Christian Sutardi and Cynthia Chaerunnisa started Lolabox to serve a niche in Indonesia's cosmetics industry: a beauty box service. The idea is simple—subscribers pay to receive a box of various samples of beauty and skin care products each month. Beauty boxes were first popularized in the U.S. and have spread to Asia, such as in South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

    The Lolabox service launched in April, with help from Grupara Inc, an incubator firm funded by energy firm Medco. The duo first sent boxes to family and friends, and also influencers such as celebrities Luna Maya and Titi Kamal. “We wanted to create hype,” says Christian, Lolabox's chief executive. “Once the boxes went out, people will notice them and start ordering from our website.”

    The service is off to a good start. The pair have signed up about 3,000 members since the launch at Rp 145,000 per month, giving Lolabox annualized revenues of Rp 5.2 billion. Customers are national, including as far away as Maluku. The service's appeal is that customers can try many new products for a fixed price. “We found that there are about 9,000 beauty products distributed by 700 companies in Indonesia,” explains Lolabox Chief Marketing Officer Cynthia. “For me as a woman and beauty enthusiast, it is difficult to go through each of these products individually to find the right one.”

    Each box typically features a mix of classic plus new products. Lolabox's beauty editor, Mada Foe, tries every product before putting them in the boxes. Unlike other beauty box companies that send out the same selection to all clients, Lolabox tries to match each customer's profile with variations on its boxes. The July edition alone had 20 variations. Each box also has a matching style and color scheme.

    The pair has developed partnerships with more than 25 local and international brands, and is negotiating to bring more into the service. The companies supplying the products hope to convert Lolabox subscribers into regular repeat customers. “Ultimately, I hope that brands will see us as a huge marketing tool. For us, conversion is a much more important word than brand awareness,” Christian says. The value of the firm is not just in the revenues that it brings in, but the database they are building of the customers, including information about them that can be used by cosmetics and beauty firms for marketing and other purposes.