05/19/2014 05:33 pm ET Updated May 20, 2014

Birchbox Founders Dish On Business Advice: How To Find The Good And Filter The Bad

Birchbox, an e-commerce store that helps customers discover new products, has grown to more than 800,000 subscribers in four countries in less than four years. The co-founders joined HuffPost Live to discuss the best and worst advice they received on their path to global success.

Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp graduated from Harvard Business School in 2010 with an idea to redefine the retail process. For $10 per month, subscribers receive a box in the mail with personalized sample beauty products, which the founders say is making the retail market more efficient. While they told HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill that it was scary to graduate without stable jobs, some of the advice they received helped push them over the edge.

"The best piece of advice we got [was] from a professor who said, 'What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? Even if you fail miserably, you’ll have learned so much,'" Barna said. "So we were like, 'Okay, let’s do it.'"

While the co-founders asked for guidance wherever they could at the beginning, they said many investors tried to steer their business in directions they didn't agree with. One investor told them to send one product to subscribers every week, which would have been too expensive. Another told them to do away with the whole box idea altogether.

"So you have to get used to a lot of people giving you a lot of advice when you’re starting a business, and we asked for feedback from everyone, but you just have to learn to filter it," Barna said.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Birchbox had 400,000 subscribers. They actually have 800,000 subscribers.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation on Birchbox below:


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