Glossier is not quite a household name yet. In fact, unless one already happens to be one of the emerging beauty and lifestyle line’s devotees, the name usually doesn’t ring a bell. It’s even still referred to in media descriptions as a “cult” beauty brand, a “darkhorse” disrupter and “stealth strength center” in the rapidly expanding beauty category.
But Glossier is a growing concern for other beauty brands, and a rapidly growing one at that. Professional networking site LinkedIn — which keeps a running tally of the most disruptive firms of the year — rated Glossier “the fastest-growing company” on its list, with an employment growth rate of 257 percent.
That LinkedIn list — populated by the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Stitch Fix and WeWork, among others — is not exactly for slouches.
Yes, Glossier is certainly growing, and creating nearly ecstatic enthusiasm among its users in the process.
The news that the U.S.-based cosmetic firm would be launching it’s first U.K. pop-up shop event in London was met with the sort of viral enthusiasm that all brands covet, but few can actually manufacture. The team at InStyle U.K. commented it was “beyond excited” the brand and its “wonderful” CEO were “finally” physically hopping across the pond and setting up shop.
The feeling was apparently mutual.
“We’re overwhelmed by the reception Glossier has received in the U.K.,” said Emily Weiss, founder and CEO, in a statement. “British women are so engaged with Glossier — we’ve seen thousands of customers posting about their new Glossier products on Instagram in the past few weeks. We’re excited to continue growing our community in London, and look forward to bringing the Glossier IRL experience to the U.K.”
And the Brits are not alone in their excitement.
Glossier’s Dallas pop-up was described by one fashion blogger as a transformative experience, the ideal cosmetics shopping trip for the Instagram age and the home of “the perfectly curated aesthetic.”
It’s new flagship permanent location described in a one-word review?
And though it might be easy to write the praise off as the kind of hyperbole to which the era of social media is given, it is notable that that last — and arguably most glowing — review didn’t come from a fashion blogger or cosmetics Instagram celebrity, but from Architectural Digest.
So, how did Glossier manage to generate near-universal adoration in such a relatively short time on the market?
By its own description, the secret in the sauce is being “a new kind of beauty company that is rooted in content (Into The Gloss) and inspired by our community (you).” A heartening description, but one that isn’t all the informative at first glance. We rarely meet, greet or interview a firm that doesn’t mention at some point that its brand’s success has come from listening to, responding to or being aware of customer needs.
But “the rooted in the content” part is both informative and bigger than just the Into The Gloss blog to which it refers. Into The Gloss contains plenty of tips and tricks as marketing for its own products, but it also freely drops names and links to products outside the Glossyverse, even when those products compete with its own.
The Glossier mentality is that consumers have well-developed beauty routines of which the brand is simply a part, not necessarily the whole. It has built much of its success on becoming a fully integrated part of that routine rather than attempting to become the all of it.
But beyond the content the brand creates, Glossier is a uniquely mobile-age success story because of the content on which it collaborates with users and fans to create and disseminate. That’s visible in its ultra-minimalist, but very distinct and memorable packaging, its “whimsical” product naming and even in the designs of its structures.
“The space is — in the fashion of today’s brand-conscious eCommerce companies — not only a store but an ‘offline experience,’” Architectural Digest said in its review of the NYC flagship, noting how it both matches and exceeds the times. “This one, though, is truly experiential. Lush pink carpets with pops of magenta furniture and interactive mirror displays make it feel like something of a hybrid of a modern boudoir and a high-fashion funhouse.”
And though AD probably puts it most lyrically, the cozy carnival design concept runs like a line through all of the Glossier in real life (IRL) experiences, according to Weiss.
“I was really inspired by theater, performance art and magic shows when concepting the space,” she said. “Everything about the experience is unique, from the way the customers physically interact with the fragrance to how the editors talk to the customers. We’re excited to be bringing Glossier You to life offline in a totally weird and unexpectedly luxurious way.”
And, notably, a highly photographable way, as every review states the environment demands to be photographed and shared.