Q&A Interview with Birchbox Co-Founder Hayley Barna: Birchbox is in Canada!
As you all know Birchbox was the first beauty subscription box launched in the US in 2010. Birchox is now in several countries such as the US, Canada, France, the UK and belgium. Birchbox officially opened for Business in Canada in November 2014. Canadians are now able to subscribe for women’s monthly boxes as well as buy the full-size products from the Birchbox online Shop, and gain access to all sorts of other of fun beauty extras. Canadians will also get to sample some of birch box’s all-time favorite brands, including Benefit Cosmetics, Cynthia Rowley Beauty, and amika.
It’s Founders, Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna became best friends at Harvard Business School. Both were looking for ways to turn their finance and consulting careers into entrepreneurship, and they found it in a shared love of good beauty products. Following birch box’s exciting foray into Canada, we decided to have a chat with Hayley Barna, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Birchbox about entrepreneurship and the role of mentorship.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
It wasn’t always my plan to become an entrepreneur, but when my co-founder Katia and I came up with the idea for Birchbox something immediately clicked. We needed to make it a reality!
Do you feel like entrepreneurship is really a viable path for kids graduating out of school now?
I think so much depends on the person and the idea. I personally found it very useful that I had gained business context from working for a few years before starting Birchbox. I learned different management styles, was exposed to lots of concepts and skills, and was able to mature to a point where I had the leadership skills to start a business. That said, everyone is different. And if you have an idea you are passionate about you can make amazing things happen regardless of your previous experience.
Tell us the inspiration behind Birchbox?
The goal was to make it easy to buy a new beauty product for the first time online. We were inspired by beauty editors from our favorite magazines, and their ability to bring the best new products, tutorials and experiences to life for their readers each month. We created Birchbox to combine this editorial expertise with the opportunity to seamlessly discover, try and buy products. Our idea was a reaction to changing consumer trends and behaviors – specifically the shift in spending from offline to online.
How do you feel about the importance of mentorship for youth in today’s economy?
Personally, I have a breadth of advisors instead of one single mentor. It’s good to have a diverse set of people to go to when you need advice. Now that we’re almost 5 years into the Birchbox journey I enjoy speaking with younger entrepreneurs to share my experience launching Birchbox and hopefully help them avoid some of the mistakes that we made earlier on.
What would be the key piece of advice for young entrepreneurs today?
Always know what your top three priorities are and focus your limited resources on making progress in those areas. Any investment of time or money that doesn’t help you get closer to an answer for your top questions or focus areas shouldn’t be made. Focus is key, and it should be directed at your customers and the product you’re building to serve them.
Checkout the Birchbox Canada website at: https://www.birchbox.ca