If you're like most women, it's easy to get won over by the beauty counter rep - only to walk away feeling just a tad run over and ever so suspicious about the latest wonder product and its miracle marketing hype.
But it doesn't have to be like that anymore - now you can buy exactly what works for you, because you've sampled it.
rubybox, homegrown in little ol' SA, is a try-before-you-buy beauty subscription startup, and was formed without initial funding by two women, Margaux and Sylvia, in Cape Town. Now that alone takes guts and stamina and an idea you believe in.
In just over a year their online beauty shop has attracted over 5,000 online subscribers in just over a year, making the business a fast-growing e-commerce site in our market.
Launched in September of last year, rubybox also reported that its website had 8 500 unique visitors and 95 000 page views in October, according to Effective Measure, proving that rubybox is no longer just about a beauty box but South Africa’s premier online beauty destination.
HPVA supports rubybox
Part of achieving this growth and ensuring future growth, rubybox announced earlier this year that it had received funding from Cape Town-based Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa (HPVA), the largest technology-focused venture capital firm in Africa with R400M (USD50M) in capital. The terms were not disclosed. As part of the investment, rubybox acquired GlamBox SA, its major competitor in the local beauty box market, making rubybox the dominant player in South Africa.
“rubybox is one of South Africa’s e-commerce small business success stories. Since its inception just over a year ago, rubybox have grown substantially. We believe this is attributed to the strong partnerships they’ve formed with the world’s greatest cosmetic brands to its thousands of dedicated subscribers," says Sol Bezuidenhout, associate at HPVA. “rubybox has infinite opportunities for continued growth, and HPVA look forward to playing a role in its success, and the success of its partners.”
Sylvia Gruber, co-owner and founder of rubybox says: “With HPVA we don’t just have investors but real partners, their open-door-policy and key industry contacts results in new and exciting business ideas and opportunities.”
So how does it work?
For R100 per month, consumers can sign up with rubybox to receive a selection of beauty editor-endorsed sample beauty products.
Gruber says, “We know that purchasing beauty products is often a case of trial and error so our aim is to offer the consumer access to information, which allows them to make an informed decision when purchasing beauty products.”
And then, if you're super busy and can't get to the store, you can buy the full-size products online, right there on rubybox. They offer a wide range of makeup, tools, fragrances, body and skin care products, including international niche brands such as STILA, Decleor, Essie, Neal's Yard Remedies, as well as local heroes such as Esse and Africology.
To further drive a consumer offering that is focused on quality, accessibility and value for money, rubybox have also launched rubypoints. By filling out surveys, refer friends or purchasing beauty products, rubypoints are earned and can be redeemed with the next purchase.
“We know that beauty products are a luxury and that cost often determines the consumers choice, therefore in order to offer our clients products that are affordable we designed a real loyalty programme that equates to real savings,” says Gruber.