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Founding Gen- Z Staple Glossier - with Emily Weiss


Even at college Emily Weiss was driven and challenging expectations, studying at New York University, working part-time at Chanel, and interning at Teen Vogue. She dreamt up the concept for Into the Gloss shortly after graduating whilst working as a fashion assistant at Vogue. From writing her blog, Weiss noticed readers were actively engaging in discussions about skincare products they wished to see on the market. Into the Gloss in avertedly became a fountain of market research and illustrated a gaping potential customer base. Recognising this gap in the market, Weiss pitched the idea for a product line that gave these women exactly what they were looking for to her then manager, Eva Chen (editor in beauty department).

After building up a hype on Instagram with 125 teaser posts, Weiss launched Glossier with four staple products in 2014. It may seem this process was simple, but Weiss is very transparent about the difficulties she faced sourcing funding. She was rejected almost a dozen times before gaining $2 million from Kirsten Green at Forerunner Ventures. This is important to note given how difficult it is for female businesses to source venture capital as well as the lack of female venture capitalists in the industry. Just 6 weeks after launching the first set of products, Weiss secured $8 million in Series A funding. Glossier has since undertaken 3 more rounds of funding raising nearly $200 million.
For Weiss, it took a relatively short time to get things up and running and whilst it could be a case of simply being in the right place at the right time, Weiss is owed a pat on the back. Customer engagement focused, Weiss has found a way to make Glossier appear both relatable and authentic in an industry teeming with unattainable beauty standards and a lack of inclusivity. From their promotional videos to their Instagram posts, there is an interweaving of real customer reviews and a clear effort to engage customers in conversation. These moments of direct interaction with their customer base have in turn become catalysts for brand loyalty and sales generation, so much so that Glossier never engages in posts directly targeting sales on any of their social platforms. Whether or not this customer engagement is authentic or a clever manipulation, it seems to work seamlessly to bolster the inclusive and genuine brand image that Glossier has nurtured.

“Women are so hungry to have more role models who have achieved what they want in their careers” - Emily Weiss, Vanity Fair

Synonymous with pastel hues and cherry reds, Glossier is a company that has monopolised on a chic ‘instagrammable’ aesthetic and digital engagement to draw in its social-media focused audience. Having gravitated away from traditional marketing strategies, Glossier was one of the first companies to fully immerse themselves in every aspect of digital consumerism and in turn, altered the playing field.
Although a company founded and primarily focused on e-commerce, Glossier’s expansion into in-store experiences is one to marvel at. Their flagship store in New York City has a line of around 2,000 people on a daily basis trying to snap a selfie in the stores famous mirrors and connect with fellow brand enthusiasts. Currently, Glossier has 3 permanent stores in the United States with pop-ups arriving in global capitals, such as London and Paris. When Weiss announced the closure of the Glossier stores at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an outcry on social platforms. Fans said they would have to cancel trains, hotels and even international flights booked with the purpose of visiting a Glossier store. This unbelievable response illustrates just how successful Glossier has been at driving a desirable commodity from a wholly digital standpoint.
There is no question Emily Weiss has disrupted the beauty industry in a way nobody saw coming. Forward-thinking and constantly questioning ‘what’s next?’ she has illustrated was it possible with the power of drive and determination. More than just a beauty brand with some aesthetically pleasing bottles for your cabinet, Weiss is selling a lifestyle with Glossier that doesn’t seem to be budging anytime soon.
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