Since it launched in 2014, Emily Weiss’s back-to-basics beauty brand, Glossier, has never gone the traditional route with anything. With a direct-to-consumer game plan, a starting lineup of only four skincare-focused products (which has grown slowly ever since, and will so more this Monday with the launch of its first foray into makeup, Phase 2) plus a be-yourself message that turns the table on aspirational beauty, Glossier is consistently reinventing the wheel on what it means to be a modern beauty brand — both for millennial women and the industry at large. After hearing the 30-year-old founder and CEO speak at an interview at SXSW Interactive today, it seems like the brand’s break-the-mold vision doesn’t stop there. On the horizon for Glossier: IRL retail outposts that might totally change the way you shop for beauty.
“One of Glossier’s missions is going to be to really create a better beauty shopping experience. It hasn’t been updated in a long time. If you think about retail stores or department stores or big beauty stores, they’re all kind of oriented around this idea of an expert salesperson and I want to think about it much more from the perspective of a total experience that inspires and brings the community together and allows people to actually talk,” Weiss said. “Often if you think about going into places like Duane Reade or Sephora, most of the time you’re kind of just like, ‘I don’t want to talk to anyone’ — you just want to get in and get out.”
Weiss said Glossier has been experimenting with its retail concept at product launch parties it holds at the Glossier HQ showroom, which focus on bringing together “community members” versus top editors to get a first look. It’s a factor that has turned the resulting experiences, as she described, into something more hands on, more social and more chill.
“We would rather people come and actually stay than people come buy something and leave,” Weiss said about the concept, using a public Glossier showcase from this past summer as an example. “We had girls who were masking on a roof deck for 45 minutes just hanging out with their friends while their phones charged at a station inside. And for us, that’s success. That’s really fun. Someone’s coming to hang out with friends or get to know other people or give us some feedback about the products she already owns,” she said. “And the same thing happened at our Milky Jelly showroom when it came out in January. It was open to the public for a long weekend and we had 100s of girls come up this elevator to the sixth floor off the street and I’d say a third of them had already purchased the product. They just wanted to come to see what we had erected and what we had created […] and I think that kind of behavior is really cool. If Glossier can bring together like-minded women and give them space to — yes buy product — but also learn and interact and contribute I think that’s success for us.”
No word on when the first official Glossier store may pop up, but we’ve already got our girl gang on speed dial for opening day.
(Photos via Glossier)
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