Glossier: The Cult Beauty Brand Making Bank

 

startup creative x glossier

 

Boy Brow. Balm Dotcom. Haloscope. Body Hero. If you’re an Instagram-loving millennial, you’re probably familiar with these product names. If not, it’s about time we introduced you to Glossier; the cult beauty brand known for its millennial pink packaging, devout followers worldwide, and killer marketing campaigns that put big beauty brands to shame.

The aforementioned product names are four of the 20+ beauty products Glossier offers to its loyal customers. Boy Brow is a grooming pomade that promises to fluff, fill and shape your eyebrows, Balm Dot Com is a universal skin salve for lips and any areas requiring a bit of TLC, Haloscope offers enviable glossy cheekbones in the form of a highlighter stick, and Body Hero is a body wash duo that promises glossy skin to match your glossy face.

With a tagline “skin first, makeup second,” Glossier aims to highlight natural beauty rather than mask it. It’s a fresh and welcomed approach that goes against current trends and permits women to be comfortable leaving the house without a freshly contoured face, fake eyelashes and stenciled eyebrows (finally!)  But this simple and innovative approach to beauty wasn’t thought up by a team of suits sitting around a boardroom table. Glossier was thought up by one trailblazer alone – Emily Weiss. At just 15 years old the now entrepreneurial mastermind convinced her babysitter to get her an internship at Ralph Lauren. Safe to say she was destined to shake things up from the beginning.

Grit, poise, and tenacity saw Weiss go on to work for some of fashion’s most prestigious publications from W Magazine to Vogue in her early to mid-20s. It was there, while living in New York, that she worked on big campaigns with well-known models, stylists and beauty editors, which gave her intel on world’s most beautiful people and the beauty products they swear by. When model Doutzen Kroes let the ever-curious Weiss in on the secret to her natural tan, it sparked an idea that led her to start the beauty blog Into the Gloss. She recently told The Cut that when she first imagine Into The Gloss she wanted it, “to be about women and putting them and their narrative and their story at the forefront and giving them a voice and a platform and just really encouraging them.” The blog became an authority and she was granted access to the ‘top shelves’ of big names like Kim Kardashian and just this week, Goop founder and actress, Gwyneth Paltrow.

 

 

At the age of 28, Emily Weiss had dreamt up another idea. With all her contacts, the large following from Into The Gloss and industry knowledge, it was only fair that she launched her own beauty brand. But it didn’t come without its setbacks. Weiss had to raise $1million in order to launch the first four products. After 11 ‘nos’ from investors, she finally found the right fit, and was able to raise the money to launch Glossier in 2014.

Glossier is now a $34 million company, with new products launching semi-frequently – each one more desirable than the last. The formidable brand has managed to characterise the ‘cool girl’ feeling from the very beginning (something very few brands have ever done.) Glossier Girls are naturally beautiful and only require a flick of Boy Brow here and a swipe of Haloscope there. There are also products for those suffering from acne, or those wanting good sun protection – the only difference is they come in the recognisable millennial pink packaging with super simple branding, and stickers to put on the back of your iPhone. These subtle marketing techniques have made it ‘cool’ to look after your skin.

Glossier has nailed modern-day marketing, forcing an industry that has been monopolised by the same beauty brands since the mid 20th century into a bit of a shakeup. Firstly, the Glossier price point is quite reasonable. You’d expect something with such hype to cost an arm and a leg, but you can pick up the whole range for between $US 12-35 ($US 60 for their fragrance). I turns out luxury doesn’t always equal expense.  

But how does a brand create that ‘cool girl’ feeling? Well, social media marketing has a lot to do with it. Millennials are more in tune online than any other generation, and when Glossier launched in 2014 they offered something of an effortless yet curated, behind-the-scenes style brand that the Instagram age couldn’t get enough of. Glossier used images taken on iPhones in their marketing campaigns and it was hard to tell who was a ‘real girl’ wearing Glossier and who was a paid model, which meant anyone could be a Glossier Girl. Weiss took Into The Gloss’ concept of ‘real women’ sharing their beauty tips with her to Glossier, prompting customers to share their Glossier experience online so their friends would also want a piece of the action. It’s resulted in loyal customers who have a somewhat emotional connection to the brand.

Their marketing campaigns are also shining a spotlight on the outdated standards that we’ve come to accept in the beauty industry. One of their stand out campaigns includes the 2017 release of Body Hero. The campaign featured models of all ages, sizes, and shapes, who share at least one thing in common: glistening Glossier skin. Billboards featuring glowing, sexy curves of everyday women are plastered all around New York. There’s even a heavily pregnant woman showing off her gleaming skin in all its gestational glory. Glossier is championing the importance of removing beauty standards and telling women they don’t need to be a certain size, colour, shape, race to be beautiful.

A more recent release for Glossier was their fragrance, Glossier You. It promises a subtle scent that has one ingredient missing: You.

Here is an excerpt from the top-rated positive comment on the website:

“Glossier You is for that girl that always smells good but you can’t quite figure out what it is or why it just seems to draw everybody in. You is for that girl that is low key and minimal but gets ready with effortless style and purpose. You is that distinctive aura of a new classic.”

While Glossier doesn’t’ ship to Australia (just yet!) I would easily purchase the fragrance based on branding and reviews such as this. Call me a sucker for marketing, but hey! There’s no shame in wanting to be a ‘cool girl’.

Perhaps the brand’s most out there concept is their retail space, which Weiss estimates makes more sales per square foot than the average Apple Store. While Glossier is very much a brand for the digital age, the flagship store has a conversion rate of 65%. When other retailers are failing at the bricks-and-mortar level Glossier is reporting growth. Speaking to The Cut, Weiss said of the store, “It’s really, really, really weird in here! For you to go out of your house and make a pilgrimage somewhere, there needs to be a reason. And this. This is a new luxury!” So what sort of luxury is she talking about? Well, expect to see a lot of millennial pink, fresh flowers, uber cool team members wearing overalls, (again, in millennial pink) and potentially a sighting of a celebrity or two.

Here at Startup Creative we simply can’t get enough of Glossier and its #girlboss CEO, their game-changing campaigns, and their inspo-inducing Instagram account. The only thing we ask of (beg of) next is that Glossier graces Australian shores with its products. *crosses fingers and toes*

Our founder and Editor Kaylene Langford recently visited the store during her time in New York and was so incredibly inspired by the space, the products and the story behind Glossier that she teamed up with Anisha Sisodia to create this super sexy clip, super glossy clip. 

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