With a serious cult following and an aesthetic to make any millennial swoon, Glossier is revolutionizing the beauty industry. What was born in 2014 from CEO Emily Weiss’s successful blog “Into The Gloss”, the direct-to-consumer brand has leveraged our social media fueled environment to connect with consumers and tap into their needs. It seems like everything Glossier touches turns into gold – or millennial pink, if you’re staying on brand – and in less than four short years, they’ve dominated their space by keeping a direct line to their customer. So what are some of the tactics they’re doing to keep women like me anticipating their next product launch?
They practice the authenticity they preach
The brand messaging behind Glossier is a no-frills, essential line for the every day cool girl. Their simple yet modern packaging and down-to-earth messaging goes against the sense of unattainability most beauty brands exude. They steer clear of heavily photo-shopped images and use models that look more like the every-day girl with looks that are easily attainable. The brand encourages women to celebrate the uniqueness of who they are, and their business model reflects this. Their line isn’t overwhelmingly saturated, and instead they release products slowly into the market with the help of their audience. They’re known to tailor a product to fit their shopper’s needs, and by staying so closely connected to their consumer, they’re able to fulfill a basic demand other brands may be overlooking. For example, they recently launched a sunscreen that doesn’t feel like sunscreen – something their market has been demanding for some time now. (Glossier if you’re reading this, this pale girl says thank you!)
Certified organic marketing
A brand created by an influencer already has a leg up on staying in tune with what influencers want to promote. Boasting a whopping 1 million Instagram followers, Glossier continues to leverage social media to its full extent. They’ve created a feed that speaks directly to what millennial women want to see, and utilize their platform to directly communicate with their audience’s wants, needs, concerns, and sometimes, participate in plain fun girl talk. They created a representatives program where influencers can sell Glossier products for commission. But unlike traditional beauty brands, Glossier has made their program feel more like an exclusive cool girl group rather than a side job – as if gaining a little extra cash is just a perk and not the motive to being a “Glossier Girl”. Reps of the brand are the first to receive notice of product launches, participate in exclusive feedback sessions, have direct access to Glossier’s team, and can host their own brand events. They also have their own pages on the Glossier website where they can promote themselves along with the product. But their “beauty in real life” philosophy makes it so that every product user can also feel a part of the brand, creating a desire for social media users to want to share their Glossier purchases with their followers. In 2016, 79% of their sales were from “organic and peer-to-peer and earned sources” – a number fueled by a loyal clan of social media obsessed consumers that Glossier knows how to leverage. It may sound crazy, but you try using their cleanser and not share it on social media. For us millennials, it takes a lot of willpower.
Although Glossier has dominated the online space; it doesn’t mean they shy away from the traditional retail experience. The brand toyed with the idea of a store location through pop-ups around America, tested several concepts, and officially launched a showroom in December of 2016. Shoppers can test out the products, speak with representatives (who are outfitted in millennial pink branded jumpsuits, of course), and don’t have to be waitlisted when a product is sold out online. By donning the walls with mirrors perfect for selfies and creating a room filled with Instagram opportunities everywhere you turn, they bring the online experience to their store, making it hard for their consumer niche NOT to share the space on their social feeds. Last year they launched their first fragrance “Glossier You” with a pop up experience next door to celebrate. Designed by big name talents that work with established competitors like MAC, the space had interactive mirrors where shoppers could push a button and a hand would pop out to spray you – truly what they describe their space being the “internet in real life”. The showroom is also located in the same building as their New York headquarters, circling back to their concept of keeping a direct communication line with their audience. They make a solid argument that offline retail can successfully survive in today’s Amazonian climate… they just need to find a way to evolve with their customer.
We live in an era where brands have never had better accessibility to their audience. Bred by their ideal consumer, employing their ideal consumer, and promoted by their ideal consumer, you would be hard-pressed to find a beauty brand that related more to their consumer than Glossier. Their social media tactics and spin on the traditional practices we expect from conventional beauty brands are shaking up the industry, and putting them in the same playing field as competitors with decades worth of notoriety. Glossier is even beginning to expand past their industry – selling $60 sweatshirts that were once only for employees, but after demand from their audience, were manufactured for the public. So outside of more experimental stores, desired beauty products, and innovative marketing, what’s next for the emerging brand? You’re going to have to ask their audience.