Birchbox, the e-commerce innovator founded in 2010 as the original beauty sample box, has appointed Philippe Pinatel as its president and chief operations officer as the company readies to open brick-and-mortar stores next year.
A retail veteran, Pinatel was most recently SVP and GM of Sephora Canada. He also spent more than a decade at Guerlain International, leading operations in markets such as France, Korea, northern Europe and China.
In his new role, Pinatel will lead merchandising, product development, retail and operations for Birchbox, as the company pursues a strategic vision for brick-and-mortar expansion worldwide.
Online, the business has caught on quickly: It now has more than 1 million sample-box subscribers in six countries (U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Spain, Belgium) and carries more than 800 brands on its website.
Last year, Birchbox opened its first physical store—a 4,500-square-foot flagship in SoHo, New York—and recently has been testing the waters with pop-up shops. Now, the company is signaling the scope of its offline ambitions with the appointment of several other retail veterans.
The team’s recent additions include Douglas Simpson, Birchbox’s VP of retail, whose CV includes stints at Juicy Couture, Gucci and Banana Republic; Ben Fay, VP of retail development and customer experience, formerly of Apple; and Andrew Lande-Shannon, design director of offline retail, who brings experience from fashion brands like Joe Fresh, Prada and Theory.
“It was never our original plan to go the brick-and-mortar route, but as we learned more about our customer and her shopping habits, we realized we could add value to her beauty experience in the offline world as well,” Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox co-founder and CEO, explains via email, when asked what inspired the new retail vision.
“Birchbox appeals to a more casual beauty customer, who is underserved by an industry that caters to beauty junkies,” Beauchamp adds. “We want to create a home for her and help her discover the best products in an easy, efficient way. With 90 percent of beauty sold offline, we know we need to reach her everywhere she is—we can’t just be one channel.”