Tia, we have seen a rise in beauty and skincare subscription boxes, yours look dreamy, so tell me about Roccabox and how it started?
Thank you! I came up with the idea through my own personal experience with shopping for beauty products: quite honestly, I was fed up of coming home from a shopping trip with a bag full of products that I’d been talked into buying by a sales assistant, but that it turned out I didn’t need, didn’t want and didn’t love. So I thought, why not give women a way of trying out new products, in the comfort of their own home, without a sales pitch, without having to waste a fortune. Something that would let them discover new brands without feeling pressure to buy, something that would enable them to test out make-up against products in their existing make-up bag, and something that would allow them to try out skincare in the comfort of their own bathroom on their bare skin- let’s face it not many of us go out shopping with bare skin!. Beauty boxes was a fairly new concept at the time, but I knew that I wanted to create a box that would give women an insight into brands and products that they might not necessarily have access to ordinarily – women who don’t live in big cities for example. I also knew that I wanted the price of the box to be a small outgoing that was barely noticeable – sort of like your daily takeout coffee.
So as a female entrepreneur what have you learnt since starting this demanding business?
That you need a thick skin and you also need to have the courage to do things that others aren’t willing to do in order to get ahead and stand out. Before I branched out on my own I worked for several big beauty brands but I never really fit – I was always being told I needed my edges filing down! I always had big ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit, and I struggled to conform in the workplace. Now I realise that it’s these very qualities that allow me to drive my business forward every day and have been such strong qualities to have in running my own business.
As a female buyer of beauty and skincare products, what problem did you have with the whole mindset of buying products?
When you go out shopping, you’re being targeted from the second you walk in to a store. You can become quite overwhelmed by all the choice, and often sales assistants on a commission or being encouraged to push certain new products won’t tailor their help to your individual needs. Buying online posed a totally different set of problems – how can you test a foundation, or sniff a body cream or see if a hair product works for you if you can’t physically handle the products? I came up with the concept of Roccabox to try and overcome both of these issues.
Your vibe is somewhat female driven, do you think men have the same buying decision and spending behaviour as women?
I think they’re definitely becoming more aligned. Women tend to be more impulsive shoppers, more experimental in their buying and their spending behaviour tends to be more emotion-led. In terms of spending within the industry, the beauty industry has been a female-dominated space for a long time but that is definitely changing now.
During this whole year turning upside down, it’s been really hard to spend money on certain products because we don’t necessarily need as much due to being indoors or our budget has changed due to income, so do you think the prices of some of these beauty and skincare products are just too high? There are some products that are priced £70-£110, is it really necessary to spend that much on one product?
Consumers have definitely become more spend-savvy. I think the first lockdown made everyone re-assess how they want to spend their money. Aside from the way the pandemic has affected our earnings, it has massively impacted on our spending habits. For the first time our habitual spending and our lifestyles were both thrust into the spotlight and completely turned on their heads and I think it’s left a lot of people questioning what they spend their money on. Suddenly we had no need – or we have less of a need – to be spending on many of the things we used to. That said, beauty has seen a massive increase in demand over the past few months and beauty subscriptions have really come into their own, seen as the accessible and affordable treat that they are, available even when shops are closed. Skincare has become particularly popular in recent months, more so than ever, however like you say, that doesn’t always mean we want to spend a fortune on single products. Ingredients have become a strong focus over the last couple of years and there are so many new brands disrupting the industry and showing that they can create products that focus on effective ingredients without a ridiculous price tag and I think it’s left a lot of luxury brands struggling to justify their price points. As we go through a global pandemic indulging in super-premium brands can come across as slightly tone deaf – that said I do feel there will always, quite rightly, be a place for luxury brands to exist.
As a student what advice would you give to those that want to go into the beauty and skincare industry? What experience did you have before starting this?
Of course it depends on which area you would like to enter – my personal experience was in beauty PR. I would say work experience is key – getting your foot in the door at a good brand can often be the toughest part so once you’ve nailed that make sure you really go the extra mile to stand out once you’re in there. That said, always be genuine: your qualities will shine through better that way. The industry is always changing so keep on top of what’s going on through both standard media – trade publications are good for this – and of course consumer and social media. Keep an eye on how trends are changing. If you plan on setting up your own business then really do your research as that will help you to find your USP. It’s a competitive industry but it’s a growing one so there’s room for you, with the right idea, right attitude and right approach.
How do you switch off in the world of social media and online businesses?
It’s difficult and the world of social media is definitely one that is hard to escape once you’re down that hole! It’s often difficult to separate yourself from it and maintain perspective, however from a business point of view that’s not such a bad thing, as social media is so heavily influential that it pays to stay on top of what’s what!
What are you most looking forward to once lockdown is over and it is safe to do more activities?
Travelling! Holidays abroad are my biggest personal indulgence and one that I’ve had to massively curb this year. Hopefully next year I’ll make it to all the places I had to miss out on this year!
What subscription offer do you have currently at Roccabox?
We offer a rolling monthly subscription, which is £10 per month. We also offer packages, which bring the monthly cost down – so for example a six-month package is £57. These are a great gift idea too – as you pay for the 6 months and won’t be charged after that. Our limited edition boxes are also gorgeous as gifts – or for yourself! These are all so different – for example we recently launched an ultra-luxe Get The Gloss Hero Edit which sold out in just a couple of hours. Our most recent limited edition box is a mystery Black Friday box costing just £7. You can find these in our ‘One-Off Boxes’ section on our website. Our first ever Advent Calendar launched for this Christmas, so we’re really excited about that too – it contains products worth over £365, but costs just £72!
Where can you buy your beauty boxes and where can we follow you?