Last Wednesday, Oct. 16th, Recurly attended Foundermade’s Consumer Discovery Show West. This show had its origins as a networking event which eventually evolved into an annual conference that hundreds of breakthrough brands attend in order to showcase their products and their expertise in growing a small business. 

This year saw 138 vendor booths and 53 speakers. Of the 2,463 registered attendees, many came from big-name retailers and media brands, such as Macy’s, Urban Outfitters, Neiman Marcus, CBS, Allure, and Forbes. These industry giants come to the show looking for the “next big things” in wellness, food and beauty. 

Indeed, many of the breakthrough brands showcased at the show come from the beauty and wellness industry—an industry worth $4.2 trillion according to the Global Wellness Institute. The beauty and wellness category encompasses a variety of activities and products, from yoga and healthy eating, to personal care and beauty. Of note is the fact that subscription beauty boxes (such as Birchbox and FabFitFun, both founded in 2010) were an early subscription success story which solidified the advantages of the recurring revenue model as a competitive and effective go-to-market strategy.

In the past ten years, Recurly has seen all types of companies add a subscription component to their offerings to increase their revenue, market share, and customer loyalty. The ‘subscribe and save’ model has allowed businesses—in particular those with physical products—to provide their loyal customers with a discount in return for a long-term commitment, through a subscription. 

At the show, we chatted with beauty brands, nutritional supplement companies, and spas about how to drive revenue with subscriptions. Emma Clark, Recurly’s Chief of Staff, participated in a panel which addressed the question: When does it make sense to outsource expertise or development? The panel included experts in venture capital, legal, logistics and, of course, subscription management. The conversation helped founders of growing consumer brands understand the best time to think about scaling specific operations outside of their organization and what they need to consider when making this decision.