THE BOX THAT KEEPS GIVING BACK: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE CO-FOUNDER OF FABFITFUN
From ethically made clothing to eco-friendly items, we are always excited by brands that get creative with the good they do. Today we are here with Katie Rosen Kitchens, co-founder and editor-in-chief of FabFitFun, to hear all about their give-back model, when she knew they were onto something, and the box that started it all.
Tell us about FabFitFun. What is it and what do you do?
FabFitFun is a women’s lifestyle brand. Our flagship product is a seasonal subscription box that delivers a curated collection of full-size products across beauty, fashion, wellness, fitness, home, technology and beyond. In addition to the box, FabFitFun members receive access to FabFitFunTV, a streaming video service that offers on-demand workouts; daily lifestyle content; the FabFitFun online community; members-only shopping experiences like add-ons, warehouse sales, capsule collections and a perks dashboard, and the FabFitFun mobile app. As co-founder and editor-in-chief of FabFitFun, I oversee our partnerships, merchandising, content, events, sales, and product development.
How did you get started with creating FabFitFun?
We started in 2010 as an online magazine.
Our mission was to cover everything women needed to feel good from the inside out.
As editor-in-chief, I received so many products and we thought, “How great would it be if we could put all of these products into the hands of all of our readers?” At the same time, the subscription box craze was just starting and while there were boxes dedicated to beauty, fashion, and even snacks, we saw an opportunity to create a box that really looked at women holistically, delivering products across a range of categories. We launched the boxes in 2012 and actually sold out. Our boxes continue to sell out each season.
You have a give-back model. What does that look like?
Each season we choose a new charitable partner for our Box and use the FabFitFun platform to help promote and raise money for their cause. Our most recent box for the Fall Season supported UNICEF and we raised $100,000 for them – our biggest contribution to date! But, I actually think the brand awareness we can bring to our non-profit partners is far more compelling that the dollar amount. We create original videos and articles for all of our partners that are promoted on our social channels, through influencers, and at our quarterly events. Previous charitable partners have included The ASPCA, I Am That Girl, More than Me, The Starlight Foundation, Pencils of Promise, The Purple Purse Foundation, and Tribe Alive, among others.
Clearly, you place a big importance on giving back as a company. What has driven you to make this such a key factor in your business?
Selfishly, it makes us feel good. I remember getting a handwritten note from Tribe Alive several years ago after the partnership wrapped. It only took a couple sentences to bring me to tears as their team explained how FFF has changed the lives of an entire village in Honduras because of our small partnership. We love being able to spread the message of causes that are near and dear to our hearts, and we think it’s something that resonates with our members.
So many women do a great job of taking care of others, while not always spending time or money on themselves.
FabFitFun gives a little piece of comfort and luxury to our members, while they support a great cause at the same time. It makes the whole experience all the better.
What was a game-changing moment in your company when you knew you were onto something great?
One of the biggest milestones was hitting the 100k member mark. I remember planning for our first box. My co-founders set a lofty goal of 2,000 members that I honestly was not sure we were going to hit. In fact, we were so unsure about hitting the goal that we front loaded the first 1,000 boxes with the best products.
On the positive side, we ended up selling out of those 2,000 boxes in 48 hours. The less positive side? Well those last 1,000 boxes were not quite up to our standards. It was definitely a learning lesson in merchandising, planning, and customer service. Luckily our members stuck with us and we were able to hit the 100k mark quite quickly – it was amazing. And that was just the beginning. We have grown so much since then – now that number actually seems small. It continues to get more and more exciting.
What has been your biggest struggle in launching a company?
There have been quite a few, but one the hardest things for me was accepting the idea that I can’t do it all. In the beginning, it can be very hard to let go. I’m lucky to have two incredibly talented, smart, creative co-founders in Michael and Daniel Broukhim who always go above and beyond. But we still needed more than just the three of us to grow. I think it was especially hard for us because we are all big time ‘doers.’ I tend to suffer from a classic case of ,”It’s easier to just do it myself”.
I had to be proven wrong time and time again to really understand the importance of building a great team.
In the past few years we have brought on some game-changing talent at FabFitFun. We would not have been able to build the business without innovative thinkers like David Oh, our Chief Product Officer, Zeina Charara, our SVP of Finance, and Leslie Burthey, our VP of Marketing. And that’s only a drop in the bucket of FabFitFun talent. From marketing to finance to product, we have built a team of intelligent, passionate people who simply made FabFitFun what it is today.
What are your favorite inspiring books and resources?
I tend to be at my desk a lot, so I get a lot of inspiration from social sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. My team is also a huge source of daily inspiration. Their creativity, innovation, and dedication make me a better, more informed person. And this is probably a little cheesy, but I get a lot of inspiration from my family. They are the reason I work hard. I want to be a good role model for my daughter. As far as favorite books – some of the most recent ones include Radical Candor, The 5 Second Rule, and Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur.
If you had to choose one piece of advice to share with women looking to do good in the world, what would you tell them?
I think you have to do what you love. It’s not easy, and you’re not going to please everyone all the time. I actually think that’s a good thing – playing it too safe is boring. Even if it doesn’t always feel like it. If you know you are doing good – then that’s all that matters.
Photos courtesy of FabFitFun