Right before the pandemic hit in March 2020, BoxyCharm launched its first-ever full brand takeover box with Fenty Beauty. Fast-forward to nearly a year and a half later, and it has debuted its second one with Anastasia Beverly Hills as it bets on the return to glam. 

The beauty box e-tailer launched its Anastasia Beverly Hills full beauty box takeover this month for its $35 premium box, offering the brand’s colorful Novina makeup palette hydrating oil, liquid lipstick and brow definer, among other products. The launch comes as brands are seeing makeup on a rebound with the lifting of mask mandates and return to in-person events. BoxyCharm’s No. 1 commerce category in the first quarter of 2021 was skin care, but that shifted back to makeup in the second quarter.

“I definitely see people wanting to get a whole new routine for summer,” said Claudia Soare, CEO of Anastasia Beverly Hills. Previously, “people were not buying a lot of lip — that kind of died as a category during the pandemic,” she said. “Even foundation was a little bit more challenging, because it kind of smears off and smudges on your mask.” 

Kristy Westrup, svp of merchandising and consumer insights at BoxyCharm, said, “We’re definitely seeing in our consumer insights the shift toward glamming up. During Covid-19, we definitely saw a slight decline in makeup overall — mostly in lips for the obvious reason and a slight uptick in skin care. But we’ve always stayed pretty consistent with eyeshadows, eyebrows, complexion products,” she said. The e-tailer increased its skin-care and wellness offerings during the pandemic. But in the past 2-3 months, BoxyCharm has seen a return in demand for lip products, as well as an increase in other makeup categories such as brows. The company declined to share specific sales numbers. 

“We’re really focused on strong colors: strong eye eyelashes, strong lip,” said Westrup. “Eyebrows have been extremely hot for us, as well, and they continue to be one of the top sellers.” 

This marks the first time the company is adding Anastasia Beverly Hills to its boxes. During the pandemic, more beauty brands became interested in the brand discovery opportunities for subscription box partnerships.

“It’s a great way for us to reach new customers,” said Soare. “There are a lot of customers that might say, ‘Oh I don’t know, I’ve never tried their brand before,” but subscription boxes encourage people to “take a chance” on new brands.  

Prior to the pandemic, some beauty subscription box brands were seeing a decline. Birchbox laid off 25% of its staff in February 2020. But subscription boxes saw an uptick in consumer and brand interest due to the e-commerce boom of the pandemic. 

“There was a shift toward our business model, because we gave the brands an opportunity to get their products in the hands of millions of people to test and try. [Otherwise,] they couldn’t do that. They couldn’t walk into a Sephora,” said Westrup. 

The pandemic has also contributed to the company’s positioning as a “marketing powerhouse” for brands during the pandemic, she said. This marketing opportunity means exposure from BoxyCharm’s strong network of influencers that promote the boxes, which has included Kylie Jenner for nearly two years now. For the Anastasia Beverly Hills box, Kim Kardashian also promoted BoxyCharm on Instagram.

BoxyCharm has also tapped into viral TikTok trends and Gen-Z influencers. This month’s box was featured in videos by TikTok makeup star Abby Roberts, who made a short video for TikTok and Reels showing off the “smoky lip” trend, and influencer “GlamwithSuzan,” who did the multi-color eyeshadow hack.

In addition to celebrity promotions, BoxyCharm also bets on user-generated social content. “The way Boxy Charm differentiates itself from everybody else is that our ‘Charmers’ are almost micro-influencers,” said Westrup, referring to the company’s subscribers. “They think of themselves as influencers, and they’re extremely socially active.”

Also known for its Kardashian connection is Ipsy, which acquired BoxyCharm in October 2020. The companies remain “competitors,” functioning separately under the BFA Industries parent company, and operations are “business as usual,” said Westrup. “We’re focused on ensuring that Ipsy keeps their core DNA and Boxy keeps their core DNA.” While Ipsy keeps to a lower price point and tends to offer deluxe sample sizes, BoxyCharm is known for full-size products for just over double the price of Ipsy.

BoxyCharm’s second brand takeover won’t be its last. “It’s a very successful business model for us,” said Westrup. “You will see more takeover boxes in the future from Boxy.”