For those who missed the news last night – I first heard it from PandoDaily via twitter, so they get the credit – Paris-based Joliebox was acquired by their US counterpart Birchbox, which will allow Birchbox to double their brand relations and quadruple the number of markets they enter. You’ll notice my emphasis and tone, which comes from the fact that most publications branded Joliebox as a copycat.
To be brief, the terms of the deal aren’t disclosed, though with Alven Capital having invested €1 Million in September of 2011, you can guess the deal is worth somewhere between €2-5 Million, as VCs in France aren’t often going beyond the 5x ROI. Birchbox commented on whether Joliebox will be rebranded, and it seems that “yes” is the definitive answer, so say hello to Birchbox Spain, France, and the UK.
Execution: What’s in a name?
While I won’t try to defend copycats of all breeds, let’s not pretend that subscription-style monthly delivery services are a huge innovation – a believe the fruit-of-the-month club has existed for quite some time. With co-founders Katie Beauchamp and Hayley Brana having met each other in 2010 when they both graduated from Harvard Business School, it’s hardly a fairy-tale garage startup. Success in subscription services has nothing to do with internet savvy, and has everything to do with execution: Joliebox will be doubling the number of brand relationships that Birchbox has, adding 200 European brands to their 200 US brands. In addition, Joliebox acquired its way into the UK as well as Spain in the past year by purchasing other “clones” (i.e: people who were quicker to the market than them).
Is Dandybox next?
With Birchbox’s purchase of Joliebox, they have acquired the female market in France (UK & Spain), but they have not acquired a Europeans competitor for their male beauty service. Dandybox, who has branded itself as Joliebox for men and launched just a few months ago, will need to act fast and penetrate a few more markets if they want to position themselves as acquirable by Birchbox, otherwise it seems like it will be less expensive to kill them with marketing.
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