Katie Rosen Kitchens Co-founded and launched FabFitFun, a box subscription service, in 2013. At that time, their 2000 members came from the company’s on-line community, which she started three years earlier. “They were very much my demo. It was relatively easy to pick eight products I liked and have those items resonate with them,” said the 39-year-old native Californian. Now, the brand offers boxes in multiple categories, and in Beauty there are full-size products from brands including Tarte, Kate Somerville, Murad, Bite and GlamGlow, among others. And within each box, members choose from approximately 20 products per season, with more than 300 box variations. “Today we are curating for more than a million members each season. The process has changed.” Indeed. Over the past five years the brand has expanded into a quarterly lifestyle magazine; FabFitFunLive, the company’s community and lifestyle content found on their website; and has launched three independent brands, which remain part of the FabFitFun platform. Somehow, Katie found time to talk to with CEW’s Beauty Insider for our 5 Minutes With… feature.

Beauty Insider: What can you tell us about the evolution of the subscription box?

Katie Rosen Kitchens: FabFitFun launched as an editorial brand where we were writing about everything women need to feel good from the inside out. When we launched the box in 2013, there were other subscriptions boxes on the market, the majority of which were sample-sized products focused in very niche categories—think beauty, clothing, snacks, etc.

BI: How is FabFitFun different from other subscription offerings?

KRK: We wanted to look at women holistically and create a well-balanced experience. We are the only women’s full-size lifestyle box. We also offer year-round perks to our members, like access to FabFitFunTV; our newsletter and in-box magazine; local pop ups; annual sales where our members can shop discounted products from their favorite brands. We also don’t think of ourselves as a subscription company. FabFitFun is a membership. The box is one of the premium components that drives tons of value for our members, but it is only a piece of the puzzle.

BI: How are you folks leading the way?

Customization has really been key to our success. When you think about other sub services, like Netlifx, Amazon Prime and Spotify, they are curating content specifically for their members. We are doing the same thing, only with physical products.

BI: How are you using technology [AI] to create more personalized boxes?
KRK: We have a really robust consumer insights team who is constantly surveying members about what brands they love, what products they want to try and what trends they are excited by. All of that data then goes into the hands of the merchandising team to seek out the best products and brands each season. Before a brand makes it into a box, we have both the “Q score” for the brand and a forecasting rating for the individual product. In addition, while members have the opportunity to choose products in their box, many members opt to be surprised. For those members who want to be surprised our data team uses the choice metrics to send the right person based on their data profile.

BI: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?

KRK: To take risks. When you’re striving for perfection, it can be really hard to take risks. However, it’s impossible to grow without making a mistake. Women are scared to often take those bigger leaps of faith, and your greatest lessons, your greatest chance of growth, are when you make mistakes and learn from them.

BI: Greatest accomplishment thus far?


Starting FabFitFun and reaching over 1 million members has been incredibly rewarding but I believe my biggest achievement is yet to come.

BI: Biggest mistake you’ve made?
KRK: The very first sponsored product that we put in the box was pantyliners. There is nothing cool or sexy about pantyliners, however they were paying us and we thought nobody would mind another product. We were wrong. We didn’t do a good job of communicating what a sponsored product meant. Members thought they were getting them instead of a makeup palette or scarf. They were not happy. We learned we need to over-communicate everything we do.

BI: What product (not your own) is your favorite and why?

KRK: Facial cleansing brush Foreo LUNA fofo; Tarte palette and Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate.

BI: Best advice for newbies entering the business today?
KRK: You have to be ready to put in the long hours and hard work. We work in an industry that changes incredibly fast so you have to stay adaptable and up to date. Also, you have to do what you love. It’s not easy, and you’re not going to please everyone all the time. I actually think that’s a good thing— playing it too safe is boring. If you know you’re doing well, that’s all that matters.

BI: What’s something no one tells you when starting a business?

KRK: You will never sleep again—same thing as being a mom!

BI: What’s a mantra you live by?
KRK: “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” – Barack Obama.

BI: If you could right the fortune for a fortune cookie, what would it be?
KRK: You will accomplish all of your dreams and your daughters will accomplish everything you could never dream of.