Katia Beauchamp is the co-founder and CEO of Birchbox, the beauty e-commerce site and product-sample subscription box service. Since its inception in 2010, Birchbox has gained more than one million subscribers globally, and four million total customers. Fashionista.com calls Birchbox the “indisputable OG of the beauty subscription box phenomenon”. Katia lives in NYC with her husband and twin boys. This is how she works.
Location: New York City
Current gig: Co-founder and CEO of Birchbox
One word that best describes how you work: Curiously. I have a big appetite for learning.
Current mobile device: iPhone 7
Current computer: Macbook Air
First of all, tell me a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I’m from El Paso, Texas. I didn’t grow up with any comprehension of the beauty industry or entrepreneurship. I moved to the US northeast for university at Vassar and then started a career in finance, specifically investment banking and commercial real estate. I decided to go to business school because I was interested in rethinking industries and while I was there I became really excited about the idea of entrepreneurship as a way to have a really challenging, compelling career.
What apps, software or tools can’t you live without?
At work I rely heavily on Google Docs — it’s so valuable for collaborating and sharing different perspectives.
What’s your workspace setup like?
Our office is very open and I sit right in the centre. My desk setup is very minimal, but I really work everywhere — from my phone in the car, from my laptop on a couch in one of our communal work spaces, and so on.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
I use voice notes, but my biggest strategy is simply to make a list of priorities every day and be diligent about sticking to it (and not letting my inbox take over).
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I would say I have an usual level of excitement for the unexpected. I’m very intellectually stimulated by the hard things and managing in uncertainty. I’m calm and happy in that state, instead of being unsettled. I have a real belief that the only way to succeed today is understanding that uncertainty IS the job – it’s not about the light at the end of the tunnel.
What do you listen to while you work? Got a favourite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence?
I don’t listen to anything while I work — I prefer silence in order to be most productive, but I do occasionally steal away for a few minutes to meditate and get refocused. I love to listen to podcasts on my way to work though‚ my current favourites are Reply All and Planet Money.
What are you currently reading? Or what’s something you’d recommend?
How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
I meditate, play with my kids, talk to my loved ones, and cook dinner with my husband.
What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early riser?
I’m naturally an early riser, but I have to be adaptable now — sometimes I have board calls that start at 9 pm.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years, but most of what’s sticking with me right now is about creating your own reality and the idea of self-fulfilling prophecies. Staying in the game is such a huge part of winning the game — so many people tap out. I have learned a lot about building resilience and believing that you can handle whatever is thrown at you.
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