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July 28, 2011

Meet the Next Makeup Moguls

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haley barna, katia beauchamp, and mollie chen

Haley Barna, Katia Beauchamp, and Mollie Chen

Photo Credit: Ashley Macknica

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SCHOOL TIES

When Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna were at Harvard Business School, an unseen beauty muse inspired them. "Katia is a beauty junkie. She would ask, 'Where'd you get that nail polish?'" explains Barna. "And Hayley would say, 'Mollie gave it to me,'" Beauchamp says, finishing Barna's sentence. (Stay with us here: Barna's friend in New York, Mollie Chen, happened to be a beauty editor at a travel magazine.) The students soon hatched a plan for gift-with-purchase 2.0, where subscribers pay a fee to receive well-edited, deluxe-size beauty samples monthly, then buy or earn points toward the full-size versions of their favorites. The idea won them second place in the university's prestigious Business Plan Contest. (They lost to a natural-gas compressor.) The duo — Beauchamp handles business development by negotiating with coveted beauty brands like Benefit; Barna's on operations, tech, and marketing — launched birchbox.com last year (Chen joined as content director shortly after), and the site now has 40,000 subscribers and growing. We haven't heard much about that gas compressor, though — have you?

WHY IT WORKS: Anyone who's ever been monstered by a department store spritzer appreciates taking control over the old "try before you buy" policy.

FAVORITE BEAUTY TOOL: Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint, $38. "This was our gateway drug to this brand. Now we're completely obsessed," says Chen.


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One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

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