In an inundated DTC beauty market, Stryx stands out from the pack as a cruelty-free cosmetics company built exclusively for men. As broader behavioral trends around fashion, skincare, and makeup shift sales toward genderless options, Stryx has experienced enormous growth, both at national retailers like CVS and through its custom subscription offerings.
We sat down with Stryx co-founder and CMO Jon Shanahan to dive deep on how the brand leverages Skio to design and scale a best-in-class digital subscription experience.
Before onboarding with Skio, the Stryx team launched subscriptions using Recharge for nearly a year and a half. Within weeks, expensive roadblocks and issues began to quickly pile up.
According to Jon, nearly 20 to 30% of customer support attention at Stryx was needed to constantly manage subscription bottlenecks due to Recharge — a ratio that was gapingly disproportionate to how much revenue was actually being generated by subscriptions.
Customers couldn’t even manage their own settings, resulting in back-and-forth emails every few hours. This additional resource misallocation was doubly frustrating, Jon notes, since it could’ve been avoided entirely if Recharge simply gave customers full subscription control.
Stryx also struggled with bugs in the antiquated platform’s checkout process. Cost centers soon piled up as capital was needed to pay freelance developers to fix ongoing subscription issues. Jon recounts one horror story in particular: a checkout issue on Recharge that lasted a full 24 hours before it was fixed. As a result, an entire day’s revenue was flushed down the drain.
Coming full circle, after 18 months of sunk costs and cycling through thousands of customer complaints and technical failures, Jon and the Stryx team knew it was time for a change.
Once the decision was made to leave Recharge, Stryx began looking into alternatives for their subscription management software that were also Shopify-compatible. Before discovering Skio, Jon and his team had actually kicked off the migration process to a different platform. However, engineering headaches piled up and the new partner was unresponsive to service requests.
During this new migration headache, the Stryx team was connected to Skio. Right after the first demo call, Jon drove home the differentiating factors: responsiveness and speed. Full stop.
Jon recounts that, unlike other options on the market, the migration was effortless from Stryx’s end and was completed over the course of 2 days. He also drives home the compelling draw of Skio being native to the Shopify ecosystem, where other platforms tend to be agnostic.
Finally, Jon points out that Skio’s tech stack was built specifically for a DTC brand like Stryx, with the clear end goal of providing reliable subscription experiences on a clean, secure platform.
After making the switch, the Stryx team saw a hefty 25% decrease in customer support tickets. Jon remembers, “It was like a switch flipped. I didn’t hear about a subscription issue for weeks.”
In addition to the benefits around speed and ease, Jon notes that Skio’s password-less login and secure checkout features drove a sharp decrease in customer service overhead. For example, just months before while still on Recharge, a significant portion of support rep time had been dedicated solely towards adjusting subscriptions and password resets.
In Jon’s words, it was a massive relief to finally put the team’s full trust in a platform and know there wouldn’t be a random drop in conversion due to an external issue messing with checkout, or a sudden afternoon spike in customer churn due to buggy subscription management tools.
Prior to migrating, when Stryx would allocate spend towards acquiring subscription customers, they were never 100% certain that new subscribers would stick around and not churn within months. Put simply, the company’s core subscription offering wasn’t airtight. Using Skio, the Stryx team is now able to project predictable revenue over a long-term time horizon.
Finally, according to Jon, less time and capital spent on subscription management has allowed his team to allocate valuable attention elsewhere, including product development, customer acquisition funnels, brand strategy and storytelling, and ongoing conversion optimization.
After expanding from two to seven products in just 12 months, Stryx is preparing to continue rounding out its consumers’ care routines. Their next release? A custom-formulated daily moisturizer with SPF that they expect to be one of their most popular sellers. And, the product is meant to last for a 30-to-45-day use cycle, meaning even more subscriptions are on the horizon.