Beauty subscription service Bellabox announced today it will launch in China in the coming weeks to reap the benefits of Asia’s growing middle class and the increasing demand for Australian-made products.
Bellabox was founded in 2011, with its subscriber base since growing to more than 40,000 people.
Customers receive a selection of beauty samples curated by Bellabox in the mail every month for around $15.
Based on these figures, SmartCompany estimates Bellabox’s turnover at around $600,000 a year – with that figure set to rise should the retailer gain traction in the Chinese market.
The subscription retailer has snapped up more than $7 million in funding to date, with investors ranging from Allure Media to SquarePeg Ventures.
Bellabox will ship limited-edition beauty boxes to China within the next month, with the aim of showcasing the cosmetics Australia has to offer.
Co-founder Sarah Hamilton told SmartCompany she believes Chinese consumers are keen to get their hands on Australian-made products and will respond well to a subscription model.
“Subscription commerce is sometimes hard to explain to consumers but the Chinese consumer is, I think, super-advanced,” Hamilton says.
“I’m more than impressed with how that economy has grown – they’ve sort of missed the catalogue phase and moved so quickly. Australian beauty products are also outstanding and we will be taking advantage of all the weird and wonderful ingredients here.
“We’re going to showcase that to a huge market and that is a huge point of difference.”
Hamilton says she has been watching the success of Australian brands such as Swisse and Blackmores in Asia with interest.
Swisse was sold to a Chinese company last week for a whopping $1.67 billion.
“People want to know it’s made in Australia,” Hamilton says.
“There’s so much to learn [with China], but that’s not a bad thing. It’s good that a market is different. I don’t see it as a hurdle – I see it as a challenge.”
As for the Australian market, Hamilton says the local launches of subscription content services such as Netflix has been a blessing.
“Any time we do a partnership or campaign, one area we’re concerned about is educating the market about the fact it’s a subscription service,” she says.
“Subscription can be a dirty word, even though we’re so used to it with magazines and newspapers. Something like Netflix is perfect because it’s so established.
“The subscription companies that will do well will focus on how they can further customise the experience for their consumers.”