As a lifestyle brand that offers its members seasonal boxes of curated beauty, health and fashion products, FabFitFun may primarily be known to many shoppers as a subscription business. But the company’s media roots — which include an online magazine, daily lifestyle content, the FabFitFunTV streaming video service and the recently launched FabFitFun Live broadcast on Facebook — have played a major role in pushing the brand out to a larger audience.
Co-Founder and Co-CEO Michael Broukhim sees the company’s dual role — as both a provider of seasonal products and a media brand — as the ultimate value driver that can grow the company, which already has jumped from only 2,000 subscribers in March 2013 to 1 million subscribers in November 2018.
“When we look at our role models, it’s the Amazon Primes, the Netflixes and the Spotifys of the world,” Broukhim said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Those are membership services where someone feels irresponsible for not having them in terms of the value that they can get out of them. That’s where our eyes are.”
At the center of the FabFitFun membership is the brand’s flagship product, the FabFitFun Box, which delivers an assortment of eight to 10 full-size products across beauty, fashion, wellness, fitness, home and technology, four times a year. The company’s membership plan comes in two options: seasonal, in which a shopper can sign up to get an individual box for $49, or annual, where shoppers can get one box per season for a total of $180.
“We made a huge effort to personalize the entire platform; we think anything that’s going to gain great scale on the Internet needs to take personalization seriously,” Broukhim said. FabFitFun has focused hard on personalization, and “now there’s hundreds of variations of the boxes every season.”
The membership also offers exclusive sales from brand partners and full access to FabFitFun content, and the company fosters a community where members can share tips, recipes and highlights from their purchases. Upon hitting the 1 million subscriber mark, FabFitFun invited members to submit a video explaining why they love the brand, and what about them best represents the spirit of the FabFitFun community.
Content-Driven Background Leads FabFitFun To Jump From Your Inbox To Your Doorstep
Broukhim co-founded the company with his brother Daniel Broukhim and Editor-in-Chief Katie Rosen Kitchens as an online media publication, with the intention of inspiring women to lead happier, healthier lives through product content and brand discovery.
“We found that the experience of being an editor was incredible and thought, ‘What if we could recreate that experience, and instead of sending 2,000 articles about products to the customer, we just send the whole product?’” Broukhim said. “We went from ‘daily in your inbox’ to ‘seasonally at your doorstep,’ and we launched the boxes in March 2013. What was important about the early days was that we homed in on understanding an audience and developing a loyal following. We were never clickbait-driven; we were always reader-driven. From a brand standpoint, it was very natural, and from a capability standpoint it was a huge leap forward.”
FabFitFun launched perhaps its most significant content initiative in September 2018: a live video program hosted on its Facebook page called FabFitFun Live, which runs 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT Monday through Friday. The program includes beauty demonstrations, DIY projects and a game show where FabFitFun invites the audience to ask questions, make comments and answer trivia to win prizes. The brand already had produced content for its Facebook followers, including videos hosted by Kitchens, live sale previews and product showcases.
“We think of ourselves as storytellers, and if we could unearth those stories just as we were doing as editors, then we’d create a magical experience,” Broukhim said. “It’s sort of the feeling of a cool friend of yours picking out an awesome product for you, and telling you what’s awesome about it, some tips and tricks on how to use it, and what’s special behind the brand. We tell founder stories and we tell ingredient stories, and that’s really fundamental to what we do.”
$80 Million Funding Round Fuels Continued Expansion
In January 2019, FabFitFun announced that it had closed an $80 million round of Series A funding, with the investment designed to expand membership offerings, evolve the platform as a marketing partner and launchpad for brands and expand globally.
While the company has partnered with dozens of brands to curate its boxes in the past, FabFitFun also has created and launched its own lifestyle brands, including ISH, a color cosmetics line; Summer & Rose, boho chic fashion and accessories; Chic & Tonic, barware designed by and for women, and FabFitFun branded products, with other new launches slated for 2019.
“It’s been an experiment for us,” Broukhim said. “We’re able to glean insights from our relationships with our members, and where we see ‘white space’ is where we like to see new brands, products and experiences. We’ll keep experimenting in that direction, but it’s not a huge part of our business yet.”
The financing is spearheaded by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, and includes participation from existing investors NEA and Upfront Ventures. Previous investors include Simon Property Group and 500 Startups.