Yellow Box Beauty Inc.

Founded: 2006
Core Business: Cosmetic subscription sales
Employees in 2007: 1, plus 11 contractors
Employees in 2006: 1
Goal: To establish the firm as a cosmetic staple for customers
Driving Force: The desire of busy women with little time to buy top line beauty products

About 18 months ago, Nicole Jaffe decided she'd had it with Hollywood. She'd spent five years working in entertainment marketing and several years before that with a talent agency. She didn't want to work for anyone, either, so the obvious choice was to start a business.

After months of brainstorming, she decided to start a beauty product of the month club in late 2005. She had no professional background in the field, but that didn't deter her.

"That was the one that stuck," she said. "Everyone I talked about it with said, why didn't I think of that?"

So with $10,000 from her credit cards and savings, Jaffe hired Web designers to build her a site, with a logo that she designed herself. The rest of the cash went toward purchasing the cosmetics and boxes for her first mailing. In February of last year, Tarzana-based Yellow Box Beauty Inc. was born.

Jaffe doesn't advertise, so her business has grown through word of mouth and networking with other female entrepreneurs.

"I'm a big fan," said Amy Swift, who leads the Los Angeles and Orange County incubators for the networking organization Ladies Who Launch. "It's ideal because subscriptions are so much fun. You forget about them and then every month you get some fantastic product you never would have picked out for yourself."

Swift has found some must-have beauty supplies in her monthly yellow boxes, and some she has passed on as gifts. Above all, Swift praises Jaffe's taste in choosing unknown products from myriad options.

"She's a great filter," Swift said.

Jaffe claims her customers are "99.9 percent satisfied," with her selections. Some of her best clients are men, who purchase subscriptions at $34.95 a month, for wives or girlfriends.

"That way the gifts keep coming, but they can forget about it," she said.

Jaffe was profitable before the end of her first year doing business. She declined to disclose revenues or her subscription base, but said it's grown significantly since her first mailing 16 months ago.

For now, she's the company's only employee, but she signs on between four and 11 part-timers to help her pack the monthly shipments.


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.