We recently had the chance to interview Charles von Abercron, the founder and CEO of GLOSSYBOX.
Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Berlin, GLOSSYBOX is an online subscription service for monthly sent beauty samples. The young company today operates in 10 markets on 3 continents and has so far sold more than 5,000,000 boxes. GLOSSYBOX, which is a portfolio company of Rocket Internet, has been financially backed by well known investors like Holtzbrinck Ventures, Kinnevik and Access Industries. Enjoy the interview:
EU-Startups: Since there were subscription services for monthly sent beauty samples before GLOSSYBOX, you are obviously not the inventor of this business idea. What did you like most about this idea and what made you sure to be able to grow a successful company with it?
Charles von Abercron: I have always wanted to start my very own business that fulfills a purpose and makes other people happy. GLOSSYBOX differentiates itself from other beauty samples due to being a global company. We have the opportunity to offer our subscribers an array of beauty products from various brands across the world, which makes the unboxing factor every month even more exciting. In addition to that, we have a very unique data system, which enables us to create personalized boxes that fit different beauty needs and preferences.
EU-Startups: What were the main stumbling blocks for GLOSSYBOX as a startup (especially during the first year) and what would you have done differently from today’s perspective?
Charles von Abercron: In the past, we have faced difficulties in building an infrastructure that works to our likings and ensures that the production as well as delivery and shipment of our boxes are on time and with the appropriate high quality standards. Of course, being a young startup and not having established a name for ourselves, convincing brands to cooperate with us has not always been easy in the very beginning. We have, however, benefited from these learnings in the past and will continue to put a big emphasis on making our customers happy.
EU-Startups: GLOSSYBOX has been financially backed and supported by Rocket Internet. What is it like to work with the team of Rocket Internet and Oliver Samwer in particular?
Charles von Abercron: Rocket provides us with access to a great and a well-established infrastructure, especially for extending our market globally. Another great aspect about Rocket is the fact that they are always sourcing the best talent from all over the world that we have access to as well.
EU-Startups: What are your daily tasks as the global CEO of GLOSSYBOX and how many days of holidays have you spent this year so far?
Charles von Abercron: As a global CEO of a beauty company my day just never looks the same. Apart from taking care of daily tasks such as making sure that operations are running smoothly, I am in contact with my Managing Directors of our other countries and meet with people from the beauty industry and media. I love my job, so not having had that many days off is absolutely fine by me. I do however look forward to a couple of days off in the summer to enjoy the sun and get my mind off things to come back newly charged.
EU-Startups: What makes the GLOSSYBOX unique or better than other subscription based beauty boxes out there?
Charles von Abercron: I believe in the customer experience. We very much want to focus on the “unboxing” factor. In other words receiving our box is something exciting from the moment it is being delivered to our customer’s doorstep to the opening of the box and finding out what it actually has inside. We offer our subscribers a personalized box with global trend products our subscribers may have never heard about. On top of that, every country has a theme such as our upcoming Stars&Stripes box that is inspired by the American Independence day and just is a true eye catcher!
EU-Startups: GLOSSYBOX today operates in 10 markets on 3 continents and has so far sold more than 5,000,000 boxes. What kind of marketing strategies do you use in order to generate sales and to promote GLOSSYBOX as a brand?
Charles von Abercron: Thanks to our GLOSSYBOX subscribers and loyal supporters, we have benefited from todays social media evolution – our marketing activities take place through the empowerment of our customers and followers that share our story, our products and our beautiful box via those digital channels and thus have helped us grow tremendously.
EU-Startups: Rocket Internet and other investors of GLOSSYBOX are known for growing startups with the purpose of a successful exit or IPO. What will be the most likely option for GLOSSYBOX within the next 3 years?
Charles von Abercron: One of our priorities is to keep our customers happy. With that we want to focus on quality and sustainable growth. At the same time we are exploring new business concepts without losing focus on our core concept.
EU-Startups: How many people are working at GLOSSYBOX at the moment and how do you support the corporate culture?
Charles von Abercron: We currently have 150 people working for us all over the world and what really makes working here great is the fact that everyone is encouraged to suggest ideas. Hierarches are flat and we can all communicate and discuss ideas on a daily basis. On top of that, we have an unorthodox balance of power and like to provoke the clash between fashionista and nerd.
EU-Startups: Is GLOSSYBOX hiring right now? And if so, what kind of talent are you looking for?
Charles von Abercron: We are always looking for talent and want to emphasis on increasing in quality and experience when it comes to finding the right match. You can find our current openings on http://www.glossybox.de/jobs/
EU-Startups: How is your experience with Berlin as a location to start a global company?
Charles von Abercron: Berlin is evolving into a cultural hot spot and a lot of young and international people are coming here to explore opportunities. Therefore, founding the company in Berlin and turning it into the young and successful beauty service provider it is today was the right thing to do.
EU-Startups: Could you recommend our readers one or two books that helped you during your entrepreneurial endeavors?
Charles von Abercron: I really enjoyed “Onward” by Howard Schultz. It really shows what a tremendous impact a proper vision and culture can have on the success of a company over decades. Another great book is “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh as it teaches you so much about focusing and appreciating your customers.