Beauty products are expensive, there’s no denying it. So finding a product that suits you and your skin can be a difficult task. The easy answer is to try them all! Lust Have It is the website brings beauty merchandise to your door.
What do you buy for $14.95 each month? Five bottles of over-priced water… Or a new bag of coffee beans, or maybe a cheap pair of earrings… Or you can join a subscription site for beauty lovers – Lust Have It is the subscription service that delivers to your door.
The idea of Lust Have It came to Nicci Herrera in 2010. The beauty site’s Founder formerly worked in the beauty industry and was constantly being asked by her friends and family ‘what products will be right for me?’ Herrera knew the answer was to ‘try before you buy’ but that was difficult for people to do and so, she planned to create a beauty product site that was based on the Birchbox model in the US. Birchbox is a subscription service that has customers pay a monthly fee and then customers are sent a box full of beauty samples from numerous brands.
Lust Have It is similar to this, but also listens to the company’s community, Herrera explains further. “Lust Have It is a community of women who want to discover and learn about beauty and share their experiences with others. They achieve this by taking a $14.95 per month subscription to receive a pack of curated beauty samples each month that is delivered to their door. Community members then share their thoughts and experiences about products to a larger audience through blogs, videoblogs, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.”
If a customer takes a liking to a product, the full size product is available to purchase from the Lust Have It store. It isn’t purely available to women either; with a man pack released every quarter.
Finding the Perfect Foundation
“It came together over 6 months, from the end of 2010 to when we sent out our first Lust Have It pack in July 2011,” says Herrera. “My husband, Patrick, had his own web development business, so he pulled together the website for me, while I focused on getting brands to come on board. When we launched in July 2011 I was thrilled to have of the best beauty brands in the business, like Lancôme, supporting me, so the hard work paid off.”
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Herrera, with her e-commerce knowledge minimal, she admits that the only prior experience to setting up her e-commerce business was that she was an avid online shopper. This meant she had to work hard to stay ahead of her competition in the e-commerce game.
“Within a month of launching I had 500 subscribers and five competitors. It was a bit of a shock at how competitive the pace had become for both subscribers and beauty brands. Now nearly a year later (before publishing), most of the competitors have failed and Lust Have It has grown from strength to strength,” says Herrera.
The site Founder puts this down to the knowledge she possesses about her target market and the beauty brands she uses in her subscription packages.
“The brands could see that I was passionate, knowledgeable and respectful of their products and the needs of the consumers, so I had no problems getting them on board with me at Lust Have It. Whereas some of my competitors couldn’t get the support of the brands, or just stuck any product in their monthly packages, which ultimately undermines the support of their subscribers. Sticking to my vision and maintaining my high standards helped me get through these challenges.”
But there is one thing that still baffles the beauty expert when it comes to online retail in Australia…
“I can’t understand how a US etailer can ship a product for free to anywhere in Australia within 3 days, but it often takes over a week to get a package to Perth or Tasmania from Sydney,” she says.
Like many Australian online retailers, the topic of shipping and logistics is as also frustrating for Herrera. The Lust Have It beauty boxes were originally packed by family and friends – this was soon outgrown and is now outsourced. But reliability and speed of shipping is something that cannot be controlled.
“I am looking forward to that area of logistics maturing in Australia,” says Herrera.
From Make Up to Magneto
With a customer built website by her husband Patrick, Herrera has taken on the consumer world and made Lust Have It known by the use of numerous marketing techniques.
“We have used SEO, SEM, member-get-member, display advertising, TV and magazine promotions, but recommendations from existing customers through social media channels has been the main source of conversions,” she explains.
Once the customers are on Lust Have It, it is all about keeping the customer happy and Herrera shares that there are countless ways for this to be done. Customers can read a blog, watch video blogs on YouTube or be part of the community through social networks like Facebook.
“Once they see how amazing the service is, and how satisfied our customers are, it’s an easy sell,” says Herrera. The plan for the future of Lust Have It is to stay ahead of the subscription game, continue ongoing and direct engagement with customers.
“I’m staying very focused on learning more about subscription commerce and making Lust Have It the best example of this model in the market.”
Seeking more information on how to get an online retail venture off to a flying start? See our complete A-Z guide, Power Up: The Online Retail Entrepreneur’s Guide.