The Cult of Glossier

Glossier; the ‘skin first, make up second’ brand achieved enormous success promoting imperfect realist beauty, attracting Millennials all over the globe. Established in 2014, Glossier has a net worth of $1.2 billion with a social media following of over 2 million. What’s more impressive? The brand began from a blog. Emily Weiss started her career at the age of 15 as an intern at Ralph Lauren. From here, Weiss worked as an assistant for Conde Nast and even appeared in the reality television show ‘The Hills’. In 2010, Weiss decided to start her own beauty blog while working as an assistant for Teen Vogue and launched her brand in 2014. In an interview for The Cut, Weiss stated, “I had no idea what I was doing…I was 28 years old. I didn’t have an M.B.S. I went to art school.” 

To launch her brand, she needed an investment of $1 million. Although Weiss was initially turned down from 11 venture capital firms, she received endorsement from venture capitalist Kirsten Green. True to the brand’s ideology of natural beauty, vowing to “never cover you up, turn you into something else, or over complicate your routine”, the brand launched with four products; Glossier smoothing face mist, Priming Moisturizer, Balm dotcom salve and perfecting skin tint foundation. 

But how did this natural brand fight its way to the top of the beauty market, competing with heavy makeup brands? The answer is Weiss’ direct-to-customer strategy. The brand utilizes social media to spread the brand’s image. Packaged in minimalist, millennial pink, the brand’s undeniable instagrammable image spread across social media platforms to create a buzz for the product. The brand also used the original blog as a focus group to develop new ideas and to interact with consumers. 

The brand combined its social media marketing strategy with a two brick and mortar retail format. Before Glossier’s pop up stores, the brand was online only. Online accessibility meant customers no longer had to rake through Sephora or department stores but had their products at the tip of their fingers. Consumers could get their products as they wanted them, and when they wanted them.

Glossier’s success continues. The brand doubled revenue from 2018 and added 1 million new customers over the past year. The brand has also launched Glossier play; a bold makeup range that appeals to new customers outside of their natural skincare brand. Alison Gaither, an analyst for Mintel’s U.S. Beauty and Personal Care Reports, stated; “By going bold, they are officially competing with major players such as Pat McGrath and NARS — brands that have pro makeup artists at the helm. It will be crucial for Glossier to compete at the same level or risk losing customers.”

Glossier is one of the first female-founded and female-led cosmetic lines to celebrate who you are. As for what is next for the brand, we do not know. When asked about a public offering, Weiss responded: “We are certainly in a position where…we are able to do that”.



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Alethea Farline

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August 2022
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