The Postal Service may be considering cutting Saturday delivery
, but the thrill of receiving a package in the mail remains strong. While some prefer handwritten notes
, others are signing up for memberships that send surprise
monthly packages to their doorsteps. These offerings have evolved past fruit-of-the-month clubs, to everything from hosiery
, but few have attracted followings quite like that of several new beauty product sampling services.
One of the original beauty-of-the-month clubs, Birchbox
set the tone for adventurous makeup addicts. Four to five product samples—all tested and “endorsed” by the company’s team of experts—are shipped to members monthly. Although brands skew mainstream (among them are Benefit, Dermalogica, and NARS), nascent lines sometimes enter the mix. In addition to The Haute Box
, an online magazine that offers how-to tips for each month’s haul, Birchbox also has a dedicated shop
where satisfied customers can order full-size versions of their samples. Each purchase earns points which can be redeemed towards future orders, ensuring that there’s always a way to keep the mailbox full.
With the recent organic boom
, it was only a matter of time before the beauty membership concept went green. Eco-Emi
serves environmentally conscious consumers with its monthly all-natural offerings. For $15, members receive at least five samples of eco-friendly products, which can range from Revolution Organics
lip gloss to Dr. Robin
sunscreen to items outside of the beauty category, such as vegan chocolate or chemical-free laundry detergent. Even the packaging—a reusable bag—aligns with the company’s philosophy. What customers seem to appreciate most, however, is Eco-Emi’s personal touch, as each month’s selection is themed and comes with a warm note from the company’s founder
explaining the contents.
Many people sign up for subscription services for the surprise factor, but others don’t want to spend money on items they may not want. Beauty Army
removes the guesswork by allowing subscribers to select the six products that will be delivered every 30 days. The $12/month program invites users to fill out a questionnaire in order to determine recommended products that best fit their needs—be it curly hair, sensitive skin, or a love for all things glittery. Whether they heed the advice of Beauty Army’s experts
is up to them. Featured brands are mostly smaller and harder-to-find, making it unlikely that one will find a suggested sample at the drugstore.