Engineering the Evolution of BirchboxMan: Grooming by Design

By Kasey Adam Spickard 

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In 2012, BirchboxMan was focused on getting guys interested in grooming by creating a box with four deluxe samples and a lifestyle item which could be a pair of socks, headphones, a pocket square. Fast forward 6 years, the grooming space has drastically shifted and BirchboxMan has refined its value proposition and launched a $10 Grooming-focused box as well as a brick and mortar storefront catered to men’s grooming needs.

I had a chance to meet with Kyle Bergman, Senior Merchant of Men’s Lifestyle & Grooming, who walked me through the evolution of BirchboxMan and how they’re redefining the grooming game. “We have been very methodical about our approach to launching a $10 box. We've done a lot of tests, and looked at the data and this box has been exceeding expectations.” One reason for that success is the growth of the men’s grooming enthusiast “He's the guy who is comfortable with advanced skincare products, already has a grooming routine, and is coming to BirchboxMan to discover a new toner or serum, something that he didn't necessarily know about.” That’s radically different than even 5 years ago when the typical guy was more focused on utility “the guy that needs to see the benefit in something. He's typically also the guy that is currently using the Old Spice 3-in-1 body wash.”

As we walked through the BirchboxMan store, each shelf was merchandised by category. Be it shaving, face scrubs, deodorants, or shampoos. Kyle explained “There's no specific brand shop. And it makes it easier for a guy to understand what he needs and what he’s looking for.” What makes BirchboxMan compelling and different is that they have the best assortment in the game. Bergman tells me “One of the things I love most about this job is, you get to work with the behemoths, like Kiehl's and Jack Black, all the way down to our niche smaller brands, like the two dudes behind Northern Fir an all-natural beard care brand out of Austin, Texas.”

What helps make BirchboxMan’s custom, curated boxes best-in-class is that they’ve sent out millions of samples and received tens of thousands of reviews. And over time they’ve been able to see not only what brands are productive, but also categories. I was curious about the must-have products in the boxes and on the shelves of BirchBox Man and Kyle obliged and walked me through their best-sellers.

Hanz de Fuko Claymation: a clay wax with super high hold and matte finish made with certified organic extracts which means it’s actually good for your hair!

Ursa Major Fantastic Face Washfoaming gel cleanser delivers a thorough and invigorating cleanse, plus a hit of AHA/BHA exfoliation, without stripping your skin of moisture or messing with its pH balance

ERNEST SUPPLIES Matte Moisturizer: 
Powered by natural ingredients, this formula provides a worthy shield. Açai berry and green tea extracts spur skin regeneration, while cupuacu fruit extract heals and hydrates. Vitamins A and E preserve elasticity (a requisite of youthful skin)—and the best part? This minty hydrator absorbs so quick, you'll forget that you're wearing it.

DTRT First Thing First Face Scrub: Younger brother to Dr. Jart, DTRT is one of Bergman’s favorite face scrubs available at BirchboxMan.

Through their ability to test, learn, and iterate through customer feedback on the boxes, BirchBox Man has seen success in some unexpected categories. Bergman talked me through where they are starting to push the boundaries with wellness products and hair loss prevention. “We recently tested a multivitamin gummy that had biotin in it which promotes healthy hair, skin, nails. And the feedback we got from that was polarizing to a degree, but a lot of positive!” 

This success has encouraged them to continue to push the boundaries in the wellness space becoming the exclusive retailer of Hims. “Hims is focused on men's wellness as it relates to hair loss” And the Hims brand aligns perfectly with BirchboxMan with elevated packaging and design with consumer-centric marketing approach. Bergman tells me they will also be testing new teeth whitening products from GLO Science in the very near future. 

I also had a chance to pick Kyle’s brain on what’s trending right now in men’s grooming and it is all about new ingredients.

Phytocannabinoids: “Phytocannabinoids are a non-psychoactive ingredient in THC and are something that I'm seeing more of in the marketplace. A lot of new brands. The more traditional ones aren't testing with it just yet, but that's a huge trend.” BirchboxMan carries a line of products from Perricone called CBx for Men that are powered by phytocannabinoids which deliver antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hydrating benefits.

Activated Charcoal: “Another trend that we're seeing is activated charcoal that’s just exploding.” Brands like PiperWai were kind of ahead of their time with activated charcoal in a gender-neutral deodorant product. Even brands like Baxter are getting in on the charcoal trend with an activated charcoal soap coming out this June!

Royal Jelly: “There's a brand called Beekeeper's Naturals, which we don't carry yet, but they create a serum that is like a cognitive enhancement. It's made out of bee pollen, and royal jelly. Royal jelly is a liquid that bees, secrete and inject into the larva that they decide will be the queen bee.”

As the men’s grooming and wellness continues to grow, it’s evident that BirchboxMan will continue drive innovation and be rainmakers in the space. The reason men continue to come to BirchboxMan is because they have a position, a point of view and simultaneously provide  education and a rich customer experience. I even had a chance to make my own custom BirchboxMan box while at the flagship in Soho and took away a bunch of goodies for myself including some of the BirchboxMan favorites!

Kasey Spickard is a certified, professional makeup artist living & working in New York City. After working in the technology industry at Google and Pinterest for nearly a decade, Kasey decided to leave the corporate world to pursue his passion of makeup artistry. He has experience working with large global beauty brands like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder as well as on-air television and film personalities including Deepica Mutyala, Nitika Chopra, and Julianne Michelle.