Birchbox Canada - Suspending Canadian Operations


I have some sad beauty box news to report. Bloomberg News is reporting that Birchbox is laying off staff and suspending Canadian operations in a bid to "reinvest in [their] biggest opportunities and grow even more quickly in the future". Reading between the lines, I take that to mean the Canadian venture is not profitable enough for the small company.
Birchbox Inc., a startup that sells subscriptions for personalized beauty samples, said it’s cutting 15 percent of staff and suspending operations in Canada. The cutbacks, which affect 45 people out of a staff of 300, are the latest sign that technology startups are struggling to create sustainable businesses as venture funding begins to cool.

The article gives no other information about the Canadian closure, but does quote co-founder and CEO Katia Beauchamp saying "today’s market demands that we reach profitability this year". The article also mentions that Birchbox is expecting to double its shop sales, and subscription sales are growing - likely just not in Canada.

The situation was first reported by tech news site PandoDaily on January 29th. Unfortunately, one has to be a member of the site to read the full article, but it does quote Beauchamp saying "It’s 100% the right decision for the company".

What does this mean  for current subscribers?

I have no idea.

Birchbox has not reached out to subscribers, or affiliates. I am currently on my 3rd month of a one year pre-paid subscription. This is the second year of my paid subscription. I am also a part of their affiliate network, and as an affiliate, I am supposed to receive "exclusive access to new launches, brand news and exciting offers". I received no news from Birchbox about the Canadian situation, either as a subscriber, or as an affiliate. Instead, Birchbox spoke to a media outlet and shared the news about their "incredibly difficult decision".

As an affiliate, I'm disheartened. I just posted a review last week, and as recently as Thursday was promoting Birchbox CA to my own very close friends. I was a true supporter of this company. While they did struggle with the launch of the Canadian site in late 2014, the last few months seemed promising, with new brands added to the shop and and features added to the subscription side. Things looked good!

As a paid subscriber, I'm mad. It's pretty crappy to find out in the news that your subscription is ending. It was a really poor decision on Birchbox's part to share the news with media prior to communicating with subscribers. Now we are left wondering when the subscriptions will end, how/when/if we will get refunds for unused portions of our subscriptions, and what happens to our Birchbox points. There are many unanswered questions right now. I am incredibly sorry to anyone that signed up through my referral links recently. I'm as in the dark as you are right now.

I reached out to Birchbox on Twitter and received this reply:
Hi there, I am so sorry that you had to hear this regrettable news from the media and not us directly. I will have an announcement shortly for our Canadian members and we'll be sharing the resolution with you and our other affiliates asap.

In the meantime, we wait... And maybe go wild in the Birchbox CA shop before it's too late to spend those hard earned points. 

I will update more as soon as I know.

Update: Check here to see an update on the current situation.  


Comments are now closed for this post. Please e-mail me with any comments or questions

Comments

  1. I heard about this yesterday and I'm in the same boat as you- month 2 of a yearly (gifted) paid subscription. I emailed them as well but have yet to hear anything. I did spend my 700 points yesterday just in case..

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  2. edit- adding that as far as I know we'll be in better shape if birchbox is the same company in US and Canada, which I think it is. Otherwise if the company is just closing or declaring insolvency or bankruptcy and it is a fully separate company then we'll just be on the list of people to be paid with whatever limited money they have left. But again, I think it is the same company, or at least a parent-child type company relationship.

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  3. Wow, I can't believe this! I only signed up a couple months ago but this is very disheartening and terrible communication with the consumers. Do you have any other recommendations as a replacement? I was subscribed to ipsy in the past but cancelled.

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    Replies
    1. Ipsy would be an option but I'm not digging the exchange... I'm paying nearly $21 CDN a month now. Topbox is another option. It's Canadian and only $12 per month plus tax. I cancelled a while ago because I wasn't digging the samples but may look into it again.

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  4. With the Canadian economy sinking everyday I am not surprised by this news unfortunately :(

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  5. I cancelled my birch box in Sept and all I can say is Thank god. I never regretted my desicion and am so happy I choose to leave my one subcription box to Ipsy.

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  6. Wow, bad news, but thank you for sharing it. I am also in month two of a year's sub and I had no idea.

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  7. Ouch. I finally decided to splurge on a one year prepaid subscription -- 3 days ago. Literally the day before the article and news came out. Quite the timing huh? And I am still getting emails from Birchbox welcoming me and giving me discount codes! (By the way, they sent me a code for 20% - WELCOMECANADA20 - and another person had luck using it, so if anyone is looking to use up their points try using this code as well, may be an extra bonus saving for you!)

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  8. I'm so sad to see it go. I really enjoyed the boxes. I used up my points last night just incase, I'm hoping we still get February's box because I want that sample choice I stalked the site for. They were posting that statement all over Facebook on Saturday and we're all still waiting for an announcement.

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  9. My email reply back from birchbox indicated I would get my february box and a refund for my unsent boxes. Points can be used until April 2016 to make purchases. It was also polite and apologized for the service suspension, which was nice.

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