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Thanks to her willpower, Mathilde Lacombe ended up imposing on the market of online beauty with Birchbox. It was not that easy for this passionate woman, who tried the job of editor first at ELLE and then on her own blog, La Vie en Blonde (Life as a Blonde). She keeps writing on it in parallel with her flourishing business and her numerous projects. The collaborations with brands come one after another, and Hyperactive Mathilde is committed to keeping surprising her subscribers. As for cosmetics – its specialty -, Birchbox claims to be a trend scout and extends its influence to other fields such as decoration. For three consecutives years, they have created Home boxes, and the next edition will be, for the first time, the fruit of a collaboration. And not with just anybody. Yes, it is ours! The box Birchbox x The Socialite Family. In order to show it to you, Mathilde Lacombe welcomes us to her home, in Reims. It is the perfect opportunity to discover the interior of the queen of online lifestyle, who turns out to be as demanding in interior design as in real life.
Mathilde, can you introduce yourself?
I am 29, I have 3 children and I live in Reims. I am the co-founder of Birchbox and I also have a blog, “La Vie en Blonde”, which is my break.
Can you tell us about your career and how Birchbox arrived in your life?
I have always been a beauty fan. After a literary preparatory class and communication studies, my first goal was to work for ELLE. 12.453 internships later, I succeeded in becoming a freelance journalist for the magazine. But it was short, because I got the idea of Joliebox and I had to make a choice! With my four associates, we were the first to import to France the beauty box concept. 6 years later, we became Birchbox and we are the leaders in this market.
How did you make it evolve through the years?
6 years ago, we were just a box. Then, the e-shop fast appeared like something essential, both for our brands and for our customers. The box is the best gateway to our shop. You test the products in your home and then you buy when you are convinced by the product. Today, Birchbox has become the beauty reflex of 1 million women in the world.
How do you choose the products for your box?
We are like a good friend for the subscribers. The one who knows about beauty and recommends the best. We have to make a quality selection because our subscribers trust us. I love finding beauty brands all around the world, I discover some of them every day on Instagram, Pinterest and on blogs… We receive a lot of products at the office, and since the team is 80% feminine, we are the first guinea pigs. If a product does not win unanimous support in the team, you are not going to see it in a box!
You collaborate a lot for the beauty boxes. How do you choose the brands you want to work with?
We work with the brands we like. We try to spring a surprise for our subscribers while raising our brand. As for the beauty brands in the box, we try to be trend scouts. It was the case for Sézane, with which we made a box a few years ago. At that time, they were almost unknown to the public and we were the first to introduce them to thousands of women. We like being one step ahead while being accessible to everyone.
By contrast, the Home boxes are rarer. There were only two of them for now. In November, the third one will come out, for the first time made with a very special brand: The Socialite Family! How did you make your choice?
As our subscribers like to take care of themselves, they like to care of their homes. Our home boxes are successful since they enable to update your deco for a small price and to get used to trends we make accessible. However much beauty experts we are, it seemed interesting to me to call on a deco professional to make a specialised selection. I have been reading The Socialite Family since the beginning and I really wanted to let you express yourself on this third edition!
What your favourite product in this box?
It is hard to choose; I love them all! But I have to admit that I have been using the candle from PF Candle & Co in my home since this summer, I am a fan of this smell.
I'm demanding in decoration. It is like for beauty: I know what I like and what suits me.
Would you say that, like for beauty, you are demanding when it comes to decoration?
Yes! It is like for beauty: I know what I like and what suits me. We moved in our house 5 months ago, and when entering a room, I knew exactly which decoration I wanted to make. I take my time to choose the furniture, I hunt for antiques, I make Pinterest boards for single place in my house. When it comes to beauty, I am very minimalist, “less is more”, but in terms of deco, I am less fan of the ultra-pure trend. I like living interiors. A bit of colour, a lot of pictures, and a mix of new and old. I want my interior to have a soul and a history… It takes time!
With three young children, is it easy to combine family life and nice deco?
Apart from a beautiful sofa I dream about, I did not make sacrifices. When I buy furniture for our house, I think of the practical but it has to be beautiful. I don’t want to spend my time running after my children and preventing them from living because I am scared they damage something. And having kids does not actually mean you have to live in a Toys R Us annexe. The key is to find a balance! 2 weeks after we moved in, there were already finger marks on the new paints and toy scooter impact on the skirting boards. Never mind, that’s what makes the charm of a house full of children! In our home, it is constant happy mess and I like it this way.
Do you have a piece of advice to adapt The Socialite Famile x Birchbox box to our readers’ homes?
That’s the good thing about the box: it is unique but it adapts to every interior. Rather if you live in a mini studio or in a big house, if you have old or new furniture… Everything mixes!
Credits : Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily