Shopping for skincare products at the drugstore isn’t what you might call an enjoyable experience. But for busy women, it’s sometimes the best alternative out there. There are many times when I’ve made a quick stop at Walgreens to pick up milk and ibuprofen, and decided I might as well get some face scrub while I’m there. But listen, ladies: The beauty aisle at Walgreens is about to get a makeover, thanks to Birchbox.
Today, the two companies announce that they’re joining forces. Birchbox, best known for its monthly beauty subscription boxes, will be taking over a big chunk of the floor space at 11 flagship Walgreens locations over the next few months. In December, the first six stores will open in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis, and then in early 2019, five more stores will open in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Miami. As part of this partnership, Walgreens will be making an undisclosed investment in Birchbox. Earlier this year, one of Birchbox’s existing investors, Viking Global, acquired a majority stake in the company by investing $15 million more into the brand.
Translating the subscription box into a physical store
These new retail spaces–which range from 400 to 1,000 square feet–will look like mini Birchbox stores. Birchbox will curate full-sized skincare, makeup, and hair products from more than 40 brands. These are brands that Birchbox has incorporated into its subscription boxes in the past and has identified as customer favorites. The Birchbox-branded parts of the store will be beautifully designed with warm lighting, pops of color thanks to interesting wall paper, framed Birchboxes as artwork, and powder-room-inspired makeup stations.
All of this could help Walgreens’ stand out in people’s minds as a beauty destination. Since 2016, the drugstore company has been investing more heavily in beauty, by bringing in new brands like NYX and No7, introducing a beauty loyalty program, and introducing 3500 beauty consultants into select stores. “We’ve been working on elevating and differentiating our beauty experience,” Lauren Brindley, group vice president of beauty and personal care at Walgreens. “We’re trying to give our customers a reason to shop beauty more often.”