Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Echevarria Rosen Kitchens.
So Katie, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I think most people tend to put themselves into boxes. As a kid and a young adult – my box was a creative one. Whether it was improv or dance or writing – this is where I always saw my future going. I studied English, Sociology, and Art History in college with little idea of what I would do for actual money after I graduated. I quickly fell into TV production after moving back to LA, working on shows like Jackass and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And while I loved being in TV, I still dreamed of writing. For fun, I took a magazine journalism class and suddenly something clicked. It wasn’t long before I sold a few articles and started freelancing for a number of online and print magazines full time. It was during this time that I met my co-founders Michael and Daniel Broukhim and FabFitFun came to life.
We started the company as an online magazine, writing about everything women need to feel good from the inside out. At the time, most magazines were pretty preachy in tone – telling you what to do and how to look. We wanted to do the opposite. We were your best friend who just happened to know everything about beauty, fashion, and fitness. We didn’t dictate what to do, but wanted to start a conversation on little ways to be your best self.
Along the way, we realized we were writing about all of these great products and thought it would be even more interesting to put them into peoples’ hands. There is something really fun about the surprise of getting a package in the mail. Something that is not a bill!! At the time, there were a few successful subscription box companies in the beauty sample space. As a lifestyle editor, I loved getting packages and trying new things. But I am also very cheap, so the idea of paying for samples when I could go get them for free at Sephora was a little challenging. On top of that, most of the subscriptions were in these very niche spaces and we were a true lifestyle brand that wanted to look at women holistically. Nobody just buys beauty, fashion OR fitness products and we wanted to create something that addressed everything women might want.
Of course, when we launched the boxes, we were a super small team and needed to find products to put inside. Having been a writer in the lifestyle space for a while, we leveraged some of my PR contacts to source many of the products and suddenly I had an entirely new job.
These days, I oversee much of the member experience and what we call partnerships. That includes curating the box, sales, product development, account management, business development, events, and FabFitFunTV. While there is a ton of creativity involved, it is also a ton of negotiating, sales strategy, client relationship building and lots of other things that I thought I would and could never do. I was creative. That was what I was good at. Business and sales were not things I ever imagined myself doing.
It’s a little funny that it took our FabFitFun box to break me out of my box but it has been really fun to learn an entirely new set of skills in my thirties. And I ’ve learned that we are all so much more than the boxes we put ourselves in.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I am going to go with a hard no on this one. There have definitely been some hiccups along the way. But I think it’s hard to see any kind of success without some kind of failure.
For us, one of our biggest pluses and minuses was that so much of what we were doing was both new in general and new to us. On the harder side – there were some feelings -mostly just on my end – of not totally knowing what I was doing. Not the greatest feeling in the world by any means. However, the positive side of the coin meant that we were never held down by the way things were supposed to be. Everything was a possibility.
We were and continued to be pretty nimble. We try and test a lot. And while the truth is that not everything works, we are pretty good at not being overly precious and focusing on the pieces that are actually moving the needle.
When we launched, my job was to get products in the box and I got a lot of nos. Aside from my PR friends, it was a lot of cold emails and cold calls and not understanding the platform. And look, I hate the word no. Part of me wanted to give up after the endless stalls in conversations but then there was this other, smaller but fiercer part that wanted to prove all of the people who said no wrong.
Luckily, I got some yeses. And then some very good yeses. When it comes to industries like beauty and fashion and tech – the circles are pretty small. So, when brands did participate and saw that the program worked, word spread pretty fast. It opened the door to conversations that felt like they were glued shut.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with FabFitFun – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
FabFitFun is a lifestyle membership best known for our seasonal boxes filled with the must-try, full-size beauty, fashion, home, tech, and wellness products. But we are so much more than just stuff in a box.
Our mission is to inspire happiness and well being through new products and experiences. There are countless studies that link trying new things to happiness. Whether it’s a new lipstick, a DIY art kit, the latest fitness gadget, a cool new cooking tool, a moisturizer with new skin-enhancing technology or a trendsetting pair of earrings, FabFitFun is a box of new experiences.
Not to mention that it’s a real form of self-care. We all seem to have less and less time these days. And we know that women tend to not spend their limited amount of time on their own self-care and happiness. The FabFitFun box is your easy, affordable fix.
And of course – the box is only one component of the membership. We remain storytellers at heart, bringing to life the products in the box. Members get access to FabFitFunTV which has hundreds of on-demand fitness videos from your favorite studios and influencers like Body By Simone, Physique 57 and YogaWorks. There’s also healthy cooking, DIY, relationship advice and tons of content around our wonderful partners like founder stories, ingredient stories and more. Members also get access to our must-shop edits and add-on sales, dashboard offers, the FabFitFun magazine, and our robust community among other great FabFitFun perks.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We have been lucky to grow pretty quickly over the two years. Scale is a great thing for a business but it does mean you have to make some adjustments along the ways.
We launched in 2013 with 2000 boxes. Our members came from the website and were very much my demo. It was relatively easy for me to pick eight products that I liked and have it resonate with members. Now that we are curating for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of women each season, it is a little different. What an 18-year-old wants in San Diego may not be the same thing as a 65-year-old in Kansas City.
We‘ve addressed this in a couple ways. The first being data science. We have an amazing consumer insights team who is constantly surveying members about who they are, what they want, the brands they love and the trends they are excited to test. Before anything hits a box, we have a q-score on the brand and a forecasted rating on the potential product. All of that information arms our merchandising team to go out into the word and find the best products and brands each season.
The second solution is more and more customization. The majority of this is through curated choice where members now have the opportunity to pick between things like an eyeshadow palette, a scarf or an electric diffuser. In addition, when members are not picking, our data scientists help ensure that the right products get into the right hands each season. It’s less about THE seasonal FabFitFun box and more about YOUR FabFitFun box.
- 49.99/ quarter or $179.99 for the year
- Guaranteed to get over $200 in full-size beauty, fashion and wellness products in each box or over $800 for the year.
- Website: https://fabfitfun.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org