How Birch­box’s Ka­tia Beauchamp got her startup signed, sealed and de­liv­ered

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

➤ Pre­pare to hear “no” a thou­sand times I’ve al­ways loved beauty – I planned my prom out­fit around a Chanel nail pol­ish – but it some­times felt like I needed a PhD to un­der­stand all the prod­ucts avail­able. And that choice paral­y­sis in­creased when the in­ter­net took off. That’s why my co-founder [Hay­ley Barna, who has since stepped down] and I came up with Birch­box, a per­son­alised beauty sub­scrip­tion box, in 2010. At first, brands were re­luc­tant to work with us, as the con­cept was so new. It was hard – we were do­ing 20-hour days – but you have to be pre­pared to hear “no” 1,000 times more than “yes” at the start. We kept push­ing for­ward, prov­ing our­selves, and hit our fiveyear rev­enue tar­get in just seven months. ➤ Be pas­sion­ate about the prob­lem I tell my team that “we’re not re­ally in the busi­ness of mak­ing beauty boxes”. Our fo­cus is on im­prov­ing the life of the aver­age woman who wants the best beauty prod­ucts but doesn’t have the time or knowl­edge to find them. To be sus­tain­able, you have to be as pas­sion­ate about the prob­lem you’re solv­ing as you are the prod­uct you’re sell­ing.

➤ Get com­fort­able with un­com­fort­able

Con­vic­tion and self-be­lief go a long way when it comes to shap­ing your busi­ness and re­al­ity, but you have to have hu­mil­ity. You may have a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem that will last for, say, 10 or 20 years, but the world’s needs are con­stantly chang­ing, so you’ll never have an an­swer for the rest of time. You’ll need to adapt. As an en­tre­pre­neur, just as you feel the ground start to so­lid­ify be­neath you, it changes – you have to get used to feel­ing un­com­fort­able and see it as some­thing ex­cit­ing, not scary. ➤ Cel­e­brate your fail­ures

I was raised in Texas by a sin­gle mother. As a child, I wanted to be the pres­i­dent of ev­ery club and strived for straight-As, so the first time I got a B, I was crushed. But my mom took me out for a cel­e­bra­tory din­ner, and to­day I credit every­thing about my fear­less­ness to the lack of pres­sure she put on me; she didn’t mea­sure my suc­cess by grades or awards. She taught me that suc­cess is sub­jec­tive, and be­cause of that, fail­ure never seemed as hor­ri­ble. Fail­ing at a task doesn’t make the per­son a fail­ure.

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