So far, none of the Birchbox spin-offs have had the same success as the original monthly subscription service for sample-sized beauty products, and maybe that’s because they just keep catering to white people. Enter My Shade of Brown, a fairly young site that offers what Birchbox does, but tailored specifically to women of color.
The Ethiopian-American founder of the $10-a-month beauty sample service, Meki Adefris, was inspired to start the site after Birchbox basically failed her a few months in a row. Like Birchbox, My Shade of Brown sends subscribers a varying set of four to five samples every month, but they’re intended to match the user’s beauty profile. Members can buy full-sized versions of the samples through the site’s e-commerce side.
Because so many beauty products often don’t work for non-white skin and hair, women of color tend to spend a fairly high amount every year trying out a range of beauty products. Founding a sample beauty service catering to their shades, hair textures, etc., is a way to both take advantage of that spending while actually offering a way for the site’s members to ultimately cut down on costs.
Another appealing aspect of My Shade of Brown are the products themselves. Simply because bigger brands don’t often offer a wide enough range of cosmetics shades, or hair products intended for ethnic hair, Adefris is working with a lot of smaller, undiscovered brands. Besides offering a way to get the right products, the site is also an effective means for learning about new, niche lines and supporting small business.
As we know from Luxemi, which offers traditional Indian womenswear through a Rent the Runway-style service, online fashion and beauty services catering to women of color and non-white ethnicities tend to be successful. Why aren’t there more services like these? Do you have any favorites we don’t know about yet?