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Birchbox unboxes first brick-and-mortar store

Try, learn and buy—those are the three words that led beauty e-commerce and subscription box company Birchbox to create its first brick-and-mortar store; translating what drove its online loyalty into a physical location. Co-founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna gave "Squawk Alley" a first look at the store ahead of its opening Friday.


Birchbox store in New York's Soho.
Source: Birchbox
Birchbox store in New York's Soho.

Over the past four years, the company has grown into an international brand with outposts in France, Spain and the United Kingdom. It also has formed partnerships to boost its brand and sales alike, notably an agreement with airline JetBlue, which sells "JetBlue Mint" amenity kits on select flights.

The store, located on 433 West Broadway in Manhattan, will give shoppers the option to try all of the products in person. For those unfamiliar with the product, Birchbox allows consumers to sign up for a $10-a-month box filled with a variety of beauty samples tailored to them and offers full-size products available for purchase through its site.

"We have always considered ourselves a hybrid model because Birchbox is an e-commerce store, a company online obviously but we have this offline producta monthly box that comes to our subscribers," said Beauchamp.

While the store offers up the option to test out beauty brands in person, purchase full-size products or even "BYOB" ... build your own Birchbox, it has tried to set itself apart from other beauty retailers.

Birchbox retail store.
Source: Birchbox
Birchbox retail store.

Store shelves will not be siloed by brands but by products, grouping an array of mascaras or lipsticks from various brands in their own sections. Barna tells CNBC that women today aren't just an Estee Lauder girl or a Lancome girl, they are interested in mixing and matching different products.

The store will also offer classes which will be free for Birchbox subscribers or $30 for nonsubscribers so consumers can try their hand at using the products. Putting themselves in competition with shops like Drybar or DreamDry, this Birchbox location will offer dry hairstyles, makeup and nail appointments as well.

"Our goal with Birchbox has always been to make it easy, efficient and fun for people to discover new brands and products fit for their lifestyle," said Beauchamp. "We have learned so much about how we can drive customers to change their behavior online, and we see an opportunity to extend into offline retail to evolve with our customers' needs."

—By CNBC's Deborah Findling.

Technology