bellabox, an online peddler of beauty products bundled with an interesting subscription service, said it closed a $1.3 million Series A round that will help it expand its operations in Australia and Singapore.
The round was led by Lance Kalish, co-founder of global skincare brand Yes To Carrots, and Elevation Capital’s Trevor Folsom. Other backers include Monash Private Capital, SquarePeg Ventures, the U.K.-based Apex Capital Partners, and others. Monash also assisted with transaction structuring and negotiations.
bellabox is not another seller of beauty products. It lures subscribers with free samples, while simultaneously opening doors to potential new consumers for cosmetics companies.
Strength in numbers
Each month, bellabox’s subscribers are sent a box containing samples of skincare, cosmetic, hair, nailcare and fragrance brands from about 200 cosmetics companies. The leading brands include Benefit Cosmetics, Estee Lauder, shu uemura, Kiehls, and DKNY. bellabox says the value of the free monthly samples exceeds the subscription members pay by five to 10 times.
Its founders, twin sisters Sarah and Emily Hamilton, have a broad range of experience across print and online media, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries. Their venture owes its origin to the sisters’ “passion for luxury.” When they set out, bellabox targeted only women but now has jumped into men’s cosmetics, too.
Kalish says he was familiar with bellabox’s kind of sampling service in the U.S., having partnered his Yes to Carrots brand with Birchbox, Glossybox and ipsy. But he quickly signed up with bellabox as an investor after being impressed with the way it “over-delivered” for his brand.
“I was so impressed that our discussions moved from being a brand partner to being a financial one,” he said.
Kalish also introduced his syndicate partner Folsom to bellabox.
“What struck me was the swiftness with which Sarah and Emily grew the bellabox business and, in particular, the calibre of local and international brands they’d recruited in a relatively short period of time,” said Folsom.
Sarah and Emily say bellabox’s business has grown tenfold over the past 15 months. They plan to use the funding to broaden the depth of the management team and for marketing.
“We created bellabox in answer to what we saw as white space in the beauty box and beauty ecommerce categories, and after our initial success this Series A funding and more importantly the extra expertise will ensure that bellabox continues to push the boundaries for future growth,” said Emily.