Glossier, a play on “dossier,” strives to be more than a beauty brand. Its goal is to be a community.
Similarly, the Glossier headquarters is a stark, white open space and all employees are seated at communal tables. There are no private offices, not even for founder and chief executive officer Emily Weiss.
This story first appeared in the December 11, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We’re trying to create one holistic beauty experience where you can be inspired by other women, both the people we’re interviewing and the community contributing to the conversation” [on her blog, Into the Gloss], said Weiss. “A huge number of women are shopping for beauty products based on recommendations from friends and we really look to be that friend.”
Based on myriad interviews with consumers on Into the Gloss, Weiss felt as if she understood women’s shopping habits, what they needed and what was working for them.
“Glossier is really for anyone who wants to embrace the present and live in the now,” noted Weiss. “It’s about embracing constant change, and who you are at any given moment, and that’s often someone who’s imperfect — and that’s cool. There’s a lot of pressure for women to arrive at some finished product of themselves.”
The 29-year-old knows her consumer quite well, something not all brands can say.
“We’re really talking with her,” added Weiss. “She knows who we are and she’s having this intimate experience, which to me is the epitome of luxury. Luxury today is very different from luxury before. To me it’s convenience. But quality will never change.”
The brand, which is sold on glossier.com, consists of four products — foundation, rosewater mist, priming moisturizer and universal balm. It’s tightly edited so consumers feel a direct connection with the company.
“We’re looking to provide context around the commerce experience in a way where [the customer] feels heard and represented,” she declared. “We want these products to live with her. [They aren’t meant to be] really precious items that are symbolic of this aspiration that she’ll never quite get to.”
According to Weiss, more than 60 percent of Glossier purchases so far have been of the entire Phase One kit, which includes all four items.
“We want to demystify and present things in real talk. That’s why Into the Gloss struck a nerve. Glossier is not much different,” said Weiss. “We’re providing this rich environment around products that help consumers understand their benefit.”
To that end, Weiss plans to launch new products quarterly and noted that by the end of this year, Glossier will include color and skin care. But why stop there? Hair care and fragrance could even be on the horizon.
“From the products we create, which will span all [beauty] categories, we’re thinking about what our customer does every morning. What is her routine? What falls away and what becomes really important? We want to make those important things,” Weiss said.
Looking ahead, Weiss hopes to make Into the Gloss and Glossier more seamless, but that doesn’t mean that her blog will become solely based on her brand.
“It’s one of the great outdated notions that anyone would wear head-to-toe all one fashion brand, and that goes for beauty the same way,” said Weiss. “The Glossier girl has a point of view, but she’s open to trying things and has a sense of adventure. The beauty of Into the Gloss is that it’s really exploratory. It’s not so much our opinion, but our curation of people and the best products. In my own life, I have no intention of not trying different brands.”
Meanwhile, Into the Gloss was a company of six last summer. With the inception of Glossier, the business now employs 25, and according to Weiss, Glossier has raised $8.4 million to help build the vertical online venture. The financing was led by Thrive Capital with participation from 14W, Manzanita Capital, WME, David Tisch’s Box Group fund, Jay Brown and Andy Dunn. Existing investors Forerunner Ventures and Lerer Hippeau Ventures participated in the round as well.
“We far exceeded our launch expectations for traffic and sales,” said Weiss. “But I’ve never been a ceo before, so I’m figuring out what it means to have a company.”