Sophia Amoruso — the mastermind behind Los Angeles-based Nasty Gal — describes Emily Weiss as “funny, weird and a real hustler.”
Not the terms most would use to describe a business partner, but then Amoruso’s Nasty Gal and Weiss’ New York-based Glossier, born out of her Into The Gloss beauty blog, have grown on far less traditional paths as part of a wave of companies born in the digital world. Now the two have teamed up for a Glossier pop-up inside Nasty Gal’s recently opened Santa Monica store.
The pop-up, open June 5 to 7, will sell Glossier skin-care products and, to create further buzz, is set to offer “make-unders” for visitors.
“The amount of learning and collaboration that comes out in encounters offline is a really big driver of Glossier’s innovation,” Weiss said. “These environments give us an opportunity to not just meet and say ‘hi’ to these women, but also there are great things that come out of these meetings.”
In other words, it’s not just a chance to deck out a patch of the Nasty Gal store with Glossier’s signature pale pink, but an opportunity to grow brand recognition among existing customers and pull in new ones.
Born-online brands that have seen meteoric rises have begun the search for their next growth phase, increasingly turning to the offline world to solidify their relationships with customers.
Glossier’s Nasty Gal shop is its second pop-up collaboration with another brand. The first was with San Francisco-based e-tailer Everlane, which has built a brand around providing transparency around its costs and manufacturing processes to shoppers. Glossier has also done its own pop-up, with just its brand, in SoHo last year.
They’re all seen as tests, according to Weiss, who said permanent brick-and-mortar is a consideration for the company. Where a store would go, it’s too early to tell, but Weiss pointed out New York is the firm’s largest market, followed by Los Angeles.
“It’s something that we’re really eager to pursue,” she said. “It’s not something that’s in the pipeline for the coming few months or probably not even this year, but we definitely want to experiment with different offline activations and standalone retail.”
Nasty Gal itself only recently made its transition to brick and mortar after having grown as an online e-tailer from its start selling vintage on eBay. The first Nasty Gal store opened late last year on Melrose Avenue. In April, the company debuted a second, much larger format store in Santa Monica.
“It’s two different [store] footprints…that we’re testing and they both are offering a different education for us,” Amoruso said. “I think we’re learning more that there’s just more opportunity than we kind of anticipated in retail and it’s super exciting….It’s like a new dawn for us.”
What those learnings are is unclear to anyone outside Nasty Gal headquarters. “I think, more and more, I want to protect our successes,” she said. Amoruso was also tight-lipped about future stores openings: “We’re just using these stores as a lab, in a way, for us to understand retail and get it right before we make a bigger splash.”