The founders of Trymbl.com are thinking outside the box—the paid subscription beauty box, that is.
The beauty e-tailer, which launched in early March, is an invite-only online beauty shop that offers free product trials from premium and niche ingredient-conscious brands. Membership is free and members get to select products of their choice to try at no cost. There are no subscriptions, no fees and no commitments.
The model is a new spin on discovery commerce, pioneered by Birchbox.com, where consumers pay a fee to receive a monthly box of samples or products curated for them based on their customer profile. Glossybox.com, another sampling business, charges consumers a monthly fee in exchange for deluxe-sized samples of luxury beauty items.
Trymbl members start with three free trials a month and can earn the right with rewards to test up to 11 products per month. However, only about 30% of the catalog is available in sample sizes. The remainder can be tested under the site’s “Love It Or Leave It” program, where users can order a full-sized product and test it at home for up to 15 days. If the user decides to keep it, her credit card is charged, and if she doesn’t like it, returns are accepted with no questions asked. Users pay for return shipping. A handful of products are not available for trial.
Members are identified using a proprietary data filtering system.
“The software doesn’t predict who’s likely to buy or not,” said Nitin Pachisia, co-founder and chief problem solver, who stressed that anyone can shop on the site but only users are eligible for free samples.
“It gives a relevance match between product and users and that’s what helps us determine who would benefit most from that invitation.”
Nitin declined to identify the number of members they have but said that the long-term vision for the site is to do away with the invite-only approach and open membership to everyone.
Trymbl sells about 35 niche brands such as Mukti, Coola and Sasy n Savy in skin care, bath and body, makeup, hair, nail, maternity care and baby care. The site, which was in beta for eight months, is aiming to carry 50 brands by summer. Labels are chosen for their “ingredient conscious” profile; organic, vegan or gluten-free products are available.
Trymbl is being promoted on social media and is aiming for more than $1 million in retail sales in the first 12 months, according to Nitin. The site will add bloggers and video tutorials in the near future.
“We still want to touch and feel before we buy,” said Mona Bajwa, co-founder and chief communicator of Trymbl, which is based in San Francisco. “We had a vision of building a one-stop shop, where not only do we let [women] discover and try and buy products, but we provide that educational and awareness piece and sensory experience at home.”