Bellabox, Australia’s largest beauty subscription site, announced today that it has received $2.7 million in funding from Allure Media, a digital publishing company owned by Fairfax Media. The capital will be used to expand bellabox’s service offerings and improve its market research, as well as hire more staff and expand the the startup to new international markets in the Asia Pacific.
Bellabox was founded in October 2011 by sisters Sarah and Emily Hamilton, and has since grown to take 70 percent market share in Australia. The company claims 12 percent monthly growth in subscribers and now has 40,000 monthly members in Australia and Singapore.
Allure Media, which publishes blogs like Gizmodo Australia, Kotaku Australia, and Lifehacker Australia, was acquired by Fairfax Media in 2013. The deal is interesting because it gives Fairfax, a traditional publishing company whose properties include The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, a chance to capitalize on the possibilities of online media, including e-commerce integration. Other print publication businesses that have pursued a similar strategy include Domino, the U.S. home decorating magazine that relaunched as a website in 2013 and Conde Nast, which recently launched an e-commerce platform to go along with Lucky, one of its print fashion magazines.
Sarah Hamilton, CEO of bellabox, tells TechCrunch that Allure Media’s investment in her startup fits into its strategy because “we see a huge amount of synergies with the Allure Media brands that we will continue to explore and where possible, bellabox will assist in closing the buying cycle for advertisers by pushing the ‘discover and then buy’ experience through our beauty box.”
Bellabox plans to expand in new markets through the Asia Pacific and will differentiate from other subscription services with the depth of its market research, says Hamilton.
“Beauty boxes are based on traditional sampling market method while layers of sophistication are added to this through customization, targeting, and further utilization of data. We believe that the value-adds we can deliver still have a long way to go, so we are focused on improving this area.”