Hometown heroines Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna are two of the better-known female founders in New York’s apparently estrogen-powered tech scene, and yeah, their company Birchbox is pretty girly. So it was fun to see the contrast in the dual announcement this week: the launch of Birchbox Man, which was basically like Instagram launching for Android, followed shortly by the announcement of a major partnership with the ladylicious Gossip Girl, the startup’s first major media partnership.
Every month, Birchbox sends a box of cosmetic samples customized for each customer. Each month has a theme, and May’s theme is Gossip Girl—meaning the box will contain chic beauty products inspired by the characters on the show, chosen with input from the show’s department head for makeup, Amy Tagliamonti, and department head for hair, Jennifer Johnson. “We’re all really big fans of Gossip Girl,” Ms. Beauchamp said. “The idea was to help the audience basically engage deeper with the show by getting a look into some of the looks from the show.”
Birchbox, which launched in 2010, is up to 60 employees in its office at Park and 19th (and the gender balance is more equal than we expected). The company is hiring rapidly—not surprising, considering its paying customer base has doubled in less than a year from 45,000 to 100,000 paying subscribers.
Birchbox has inspired a wave of copycat subscription services from the one for dogs to the one for underwear. Does that piss you off? we asked Ms. Beauchamp. “Copycats are the sincerest form of flattery,” she said. “It’s exciting to get to define a new model.”