21st Mar 2019
Just this week it was announced that darling of the beauty world, Glossier had reached a 1.2 billion dollar valuation. For a brand that has only been around for five years this is an extraordinary feat for it’s owner Emily Weiss.
Only this week they launched a new addition to their infamous Balm Dot Com lip balm family, a mango scented version that we can’t wait to get our hands on. Also this month they launched an entirely new branch to the business with Glossier Play, a more colourful and less low-key version of the Glossier we already know and love. But just how did this seemingly small, indie brand, with prices starting at just €6, skyrocket to success so quickly?
The ultimate millennial Girl Boss
Emily Weiss, previously a fashion assistant at Vogue, founded Glossier in 2014. Weiss was not new to the beauty world, or to having her own business. Creator of the ever popular blog turned website Into the Gloss, which garnered 10 million readers a month, she could see a gap in the market for a new beauty brand. She creating a small range of products that didn’t try to change, hide or disguise but instead enhance the skin we have. So Glossier was born.
However, Weiss has said in a recent Instagram post that she wasn’t always confident about her choices in the beginning; “Baby me in 2014 wasn’t sure if we could afford the next hire, didn’t know if anyone would like her idea for a beauty company”.
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We could wax lyrical about Glossier products all day, and to be honest we’ve already done a lot of that on IMAGE.ie, what can I say, we’re obsessed. Only recently, sitting in a digital meeting surrounded my women all my own age, we realised every single one of us was wearing at least one Glossier product. Never before (at least not since my Miss Sporty days) has my make-up bag been so dominated by one brand. Instead, as a beauty lover, I was always trying and testing anything new that caught my eye, but now Glossier are my go to for almost everything.
Another interesting shopping development is that they sell almost exclusively online. They have a couple of brick and mortar stores, as well as occasional pop ups but the large majority of their sales come from online. Something I love to do when buying make-up is to see the texture and consistency of a product, how it looks on my skin, how it catches the light.
If you had told me a few years ago that I would be buying most of my make-up without actually seeing it in person 0r swatching it I wouldn’t have believed you, but I am. Now, if Glossier opened a store in Dublin tomorrow (build it and they shall come) I would shop there, but not having one does not put me or seemingly anyone else off from buying their products without seeing them first, a real testament to the popularity of the brand. Weiss herself has said that “a huge number of women are shopping for beauty products based on recommendations from friends, and we really look to be that friend”.
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The pricing is also extremely reasonable, making it available to as large a consumer pool as possible. A highlighter will set you back €21 and their mascara just€16. For a non-luxury brand to reach the billion dollar valuation so quickly, at these prices shows the phenomenon Weiss has created. She has always been transparent about pricing and never wanted it to go down the luxury route; “Making a bougie, expensive beauty brand wasn’t helping the mission or very fun for me. We can all be united by that $12 coconut balm. You don’t need to charge an arm and a leg.”
Never before has a brand so perfectly captured the zeitgeist of a generation. Us millennials differ from all those before as we engage with brands on social media, which Weiss and her team tapped into straight away. Glossier customer service goes beyond the norm, and they engage with customers online like friends, leaving you heart eye emojis under the tagged picture of your latest purchase. This level of casual engagement creates a feeling that this is a brand created by, and for our peers – we are on the same level. Not to mention how fitting it is that their brand colour is millennial pink, and their Instagram, advertising as well as their office sofas are drenched this sugar frosted colour.
Only last month Kylie Jenner was dubbed the world’s youngest ‘self-made’ millionaire, earned mostly through sales of her make-up brand. There are a lot of issues surrounding the word ‘self-made’ but that’s a discussion for another day. Jenner’s brand of lip-kits, although not particularly ground breaking, have gone on to make her number 27 on Forbes’ list of Self Made American Women in 2018.
Perhaps that’s why the announcement of the Glossier billion so soon after Kylie’s is such a happy thing, as it feels that it’s tied to hard work and perseverance all when the beauty world really felt it didn’t need another beauty brand. As it turns out, we did, and what Glossier had to offer is something truly original that has been successful at selling make-up without damaging the confidence of women. Often labelled as ‘no make-up make-up’ Glossier is the complete antithesis of Kylie Jenner’s lip kits, which are all about creating plumped up pouts that look great on Instagram.
The fact these brands have both managed to reach such a milestone at the same time is interesting, as both brands are selling to the social media generation, but both to wildly different consumers. Here at IMAGE, we are excited to see what’s next for Weiss, as given the excitement surrounding Glossier Play, it’s clear she’s set to continue her beauty world domination.
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