Case Study


Excellence Test Score 12/26

A classic try-before-you-buy model with a unique innovation

For years, women discovered new beauty and skincare products by occasionally receiving samples when they purchased their favourite items.  Birchbox founders and former Harvard Business School classmates, Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, discovered a better way.

Birchbox is a subscription-based service that sends out monthly boxes of four to five sample-sized beauty, grooming and lifestyle products from a wide range of companies.

The service costs $10 a month and the items in each box are selected based on a user’s customer profile.  The monthly samples are meant to help consumers discover ‘best-of’ products to incorporate into their daily beauty routines – and to inspire the purchase of full-size items from the company’s Birchbox Shop.

Since launching in 2010 the company has grown to more than 800,000 active subscribers in the US, France, the UK and Spain.

This is a classic try-before-you-buy model with the unique innovation that the customer actually pays to be sold to – all aided by technology to refine customer profiles.

What can manufacturers learn from high-growth industries?

The contents of the Excellence Test have been distilled from extensive study of more than 50 high-growth companies from both within and without the manufacturing industry.  High growth often comes from the tech industry, but you don’t need to be online or work out of swanky offices – many of the core fundamentals born from these industries can be applied to manufacturing and industrial companies: