Women in the U.S. spend $7 billion annually on beauty products, including skin care, hair care, perfumes and makeup. The beauty and cosmetics industries provide consumers with a plethora of products to choose from, which may leave consumers feeling overwhelmed and unsure of their decision to purchase one brand of mascara instead of another. Once a purchase is made and the product is opened, there’s no going back, even if it does not meet expectations.
“Many times women will buy products in a store without getting a chance to test it out, just to find it doesn’t work for them, which turns into a ‘waste of money,’” 25-year-old beauty blogger Krystal Caracol said.
What if there was a way to test the latest products in the beauty industry without purchasing full-size versions?
A new type of beauty company has emerged in the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S. with the goal to aid beauty consumers in the decision-making process before investing in full-size products. One company leading the way is Loose Button Inc., which was founded in Canada in 2010 by entrepreneurs Ray Cao and Aditya Shah.
A lot of care and research goes into selecting the sample-sized products for Loose Button’s Luxe Boxes. When members sign up online they are asked to fill out a beauty questionnaire. The company takes the information provided into consideration when compiling different products for the monthly boxes.
In order to have access to some of the best products on the market, companies must network and work hard to develop positive, lasting relationships with leading beauty product manufacturers such as Moroccanoil, Benefit Cosmetics LLC and Clinique to ensure the availability of high-end products.
Once connections are made and products are tested and chosen, a collection of up to five product samples — ranging from lip balms, lipsticks, eyeliners and eye shadows to hair and skin treatments — are packaged and sent out.
“With these three steps, our customers will receive a variety of high quality products from top notch brands that are customized to their needs. What better surprise can you expect every month?” Loose Button’s marketing and public relations coordinator Susan Yu said.
Even though products are carefully selected, 100 percent product satisfaction is not always guaranteed.
“There are times when you get an awesome box and there are times when you get a not-so-awesome box,” beauty blogger Priscilla Delgado said.
However, at a low cost, Loose Button feels this beauty service can benefit female college students trying to manage their money.
“It allows busy students a convenient way to receive samples of products they can try out to decide which products are perfect for them,” Yu said. “We understand that college students are on a budget, so we have priced Luxe Box very affordably at $12 a month or $120 a year so that students can affordably try out new products without having to buy the full-size product without knowing if it is right for them.”
Loose Button is currently working on expanding their company to include prospective customers in the U.S. However, at this time the website only serves Canadian customers.
Representatives from BirchBox, a U.S.-based company that ships within the U.S., refused to provide commentary for this article. For more information on its services, visit birchbox.com.