Lolabox Wants to Surprise Women Every Month with a Box of Beauty and Lifestyle Products
On a recent visit to Freeware, the co-working space run by Grupara, we met with two Rocket Internet alumni who are starting their own company called Lolabox. Lolabox is a gift box company looking to provide women with a collection of beauty product samplers that they can subscribe to on a monthly basis.
Cynthia Chaerunnisa left her position at Rocket Internet’s Food Panda as PR & marketing manager in November of last year to start Lolabox, which is currently still self-funded. Before joining Rocket Internet, Chaerunnisa had a marketing stint at Ismaya Group’s Pizza é Birra and before that, Mitra Adi Perkasa, two of Indonesia’s largest retail and hospitality groups. She was joined earlier this month by Christian Sutardi, former sales and operations manager at Food Panda who had been with Rocket for more than a year.
The beauty box business seems to be a rising trend in the last couple of years. Just recently, SGE.io reported that Singapore-based beauty box startup Vanity Trove acquired Rocket Internet’s Taiwan arm of Glossybox as part of its expansion move across the region after establishing itself in December 2011. VanityTrove expanded across Southeast Asia throughout 2012 and this acquisition takes the company to East Asia.
According to SGE, VanityTrove has 5000 subscribers as of August of last year while Glossybox has 250,000 subscribers in North Asia, Europe, and the Americas. In comparison, Birchbox, the US company that inspired these startups, has over 100,000 subscribers.
We asked some questions to Christian Sutardi about their decision to start Lolabox, what their goals are, and how they see the market shaping up in the country.
“I always looked into business models and found beauty boxes the most attractive one for this market. Some sources say that Indonesia’s top online spender is 27, female, urban, college educated”, said Sutardi.
In terms of platform, he finds that the beauty market business needs a little bit of cleaning up. What he and Chaerunnisa want to deliver with Lolabox is a more focused and targeted approach to the market. Sutardi said, “the beauty market is cluttered, sampling is very ineffective at the moment, and that new marketing channels are under exploited.”
He’s unwilling to reveal his strategy as he knows that there are other companies pitching in the same field. “What I can reveal is, that we focus on identifying and satisfying the brands’ need first – we are very company-centric at the moment.”
So what kind of products can be found inside a Lolabox? Sutardi said, “The box will contain samples related to beauty, wellness and healthcare. We always want to mix beauty products: local and international, famous and hidden gems, skincare/makeup/hair/accessories”.
Sutardi doesn’t think that there is a market for male oriented sample box because men aren’t keen on getting surprises. “I did some research and tested this idea. An important feature of Lolabox is that the contents are a surprise every month. Men are much more rational when it comes to purchasing stuff, they don’t like surprises when the y spend money. So, I don’t see much potential for a men’s version in Indonesia”.
At the moment, Lolabox is self funded but considering external funding if an opportunity arises. The company is basing itself in South Jakarta at Freeware, the co-working space hosted by Grupara Incubator, an investment arm of Medco Energi. Grupara announced earlier today that it has agreed to invest in Maskoolin, a fashion retail site run by the people behind social recommendation site Rockto.
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