“I wanted to make beauty as much of an element of personal style as fashion.”
If beauty products interest you, it is likely that you have heard of makeup and skincare company, Glossier. However, there is more to learn from the company than just makeup tricks. Glossier has exploded in the last few years, growing 600% between 2015 and 2016, according to Fast Company. What started out as a beauty blog has grown into a billion-dollar business that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Glossier founder and CEO, Emily Weiss, started her beauty blog, Into the Gloss, in 2010 while working at Vogue. Into the Gloss took off and soon the blog was receiving millions of page views per month. In 2013, Emily left Vogue to focus on creating a curated e-commerce platform for Into the Gloss. Weiss said, “When I started Into the Gloss, I wanted to make beauty as much of an element of personal style as fashion. As I interviewed hundreds of women, I became more and more aware of how flawed the traditional beauty paradigm is. It has historically been an industry based on experts telling you, the customer, what you should or shouldn’t be using on your face.”
Into the Gloss was a collaborative blog, often featuring interviews that explored different women’s’ beauty routines and products. Glossier was then created to take this to the next level and make the beauty industry more customer-focused. Similar to the founders of Away Luggage, Emily Weiss interviewed hundreds of consumers to inform the business she would create. Co-creation and customer experience have been vital for Glossier. Glossier features customer’s stories, beauty routines, and reviews on their website and social media pages. They use beauty to give customers a voice and they leverage the power of personal narrative to own the beauty conversation online.
On Glossier’s website you will notice the slogan, “Trust us, we’re you.” They explain, “The Glossier ecosystem survives and thrives on a symbiotic relationship with you. This a group effort.” This is important, especially since Glossier is predominantly an e-commerce business with very few physical locations. Glossier maximizes user experience by swatching products on various skin tones for accurate color matching and by incorporating photos and video content to give consumers visual context of the products. Customers have come to trust Glossier’s brand promises enough to feel comfortable purchasing makeup and skincare products without seeing or trying them out. Glossier’s model is successful because of the company’s willingness to build their products, and grow their community, in customer-devoted ways. By doing so, the company has built a cult following with almost 2 million Instagram followers.
My first experience with Glossier was at their Chicago West Loop pop-up store. When I arrived, a line was formed out the door, wrapping around the building. When I reached the front of the line, I spoke to a Glossier employee who told me the pop-up had been this busy since the opening. She went on to explain that Glossier was opening pop-ups for a few months in several major cities to test the potential of new brick-and-mortar locations.
The pop-up shop was set up with one sample of each product for customers to try out. You could then talk to an employee for them to prepare your order in the back. Each order was personally packed and included your name and some Glossier stickers. The packaging of the products is minimalistic with the slogan, “Skin first, make-up second, smile always” inscribed on their boxes.
Upon leaving the pop-up, I was extremely impressed with the company, the service, and the products. Since then, Glossier has been making headlines nationwide. This past week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Glossier is now valued at $1.2 billion following a $100 million Series D. And, earlier this month Glossier launched an entirely new makeup brand called Glossier Play. Unlike Glossier’s typical subtle makeup products, Glossier Play is a new bold line is intended for creating dramatic makeup looks.
As this unicorn company continues to grow, it seems unlikely the cult appreciation and following of Glossier will slow down. By taking the time to understand her customers and build them the products they desired, Emily Weiss disrupted the makeup and skincare industry with a co-creation and customer experience focus.