Press commentary on Birchbox’s latest layoffs. Read the article.

Put together, Birchbox is a company in crisis representing a waning business model trend; “If

were working,” said Richie Siegel, the founder and lead analyst for retail consultancy Loose Threads, “none of that would happen.”

Underlying Birchbox’s problems was the underlying hard realities of being a subscriptions-dependent service. “Anyone who runs a subscription business knows the marketing never ends,” said Siegel. “The churn is quite high.” For example, Bonobos, another early pioneer in the subscription space, announced layoffs late last year. Similarly, Blue Apron has been seeing declining revenue and customer numbers.

The growing realization is that subscriptions simply don’t cut it as a standalone business model. Companies like Birchbox and Bonobos caught investors’ eyes by offering an attractive new service cloaked in technology speak. “People mistook subscription — and even digitally native or direct to the consumer — as being the be all end all business model,” said Siegel. The truth is that these are all important ways to reach customers, but on their own they don’t create a scalable model for the next $1 billion brand.