Self Sells: How Glossier Is Delivering Beauty IRL
Emily Weiss, Founder and CEO of Glossier, has built an incredibly successful beauty brand around the idea of community and engagement with “her girl.” From the humble beginnings of a blog that started in Weiss’ apartment, Into the Gloss has since gained a cult following. More than a blog, the brand is a community and resource for beauty information from real women. After years of working in the fashion media industry, Weiss saw an opportunity for superior storytelling around beauty. She didn’t want ITG to be another blog for selling beauty products. As a consumer, Weiss wanted something more.
“I just love beauty products and I always have. While I was working at magazines, I noticed that beauty was really underrepresented in the books. I thought that was really interesting because I think beauty is a part of your overall look. I was just really curious to explore that and give more air time to beauty,” Weiss said.
Instead of relying on beauty “experts” to make decisions about our faces, Weiss started Into the Gloss with the idea that women could listen to other women in a “non-salesy” way to find out what works for them. Weiss wanted to create a space where explorations and mistakes in beauty would be viewed as treasures, and the reception has been phenomenal.
“With this era of technology, you can go online and read dozens of product reviews before you go to Sephora. We wanted to express present values around demystifying beauty. Beauty should be fun.”
The focus on cultivating a community for Into the Gloss has been equally successful with Weiss’ beauty brand, Glossier.
“We have a really vibrant community now of girls that have joined this Glossier movement that are contributing to the future of the company,” Weiss said.
The number of comments on the Into the Gloss site is unprecedented compared to traffic on other beauty sites. Weiss attributes those stats to their efforts to really involve the audience.
“I think a lot of companies spend a lot of time in marketing brainstorming ways to make their customers feel involved, but it’s not really to any end. We don’t want to make customers feel involved, we want them to be involved,” Weiss said.
Into the Gloss and Glossier take feedback seriously and customer involvement goes beyond reading and replying to comments. Glossier Inc. takes the feedback they get from their target customer, “their girl,” and puts it right back into the product.
“We like to think of all of our channels, including IntotheGloss.com, as social channels and an opportunity to get feedback.”
Feedback also comes in the form of UGC. User generated content is incredibly valuable to Weiss and the company. With the #ITGTopShelfie Instagram hashtag, ITG has received incredible content from their own readers – content that has only further elevated their brand and brand relationship with customers.
A goal of the company is to create a better beauty shopping experience. The experience of the beauty counter is still based on the old idea of an expert salesperson. Weiss wants to change that, and Glossier is exploring offline through their own in-office showrooms. The modular space is used for launching products with community members – not for press.
Women today want something out of the beauty industry that it hasn’t yet provided. In the past, the storytelling around beauty products was about perfection and personas. These movie star aspirations to become someone else aren’t relevant anymore. Weiss wants to celebrate this idea of freedom and appreciating yourself instead.
“Today I don’t think women want to become someone else, they want to become the best version of themselves,” Weiss said.
In response to what Weiss sees in her customers, Glossier operates off of the mantra, “Self Sells.”
“What we’re proposing is more than a product. It comes through from everything. From the packaging to the content we create – there’s this huge response to Glossier because it’s this friendly, accepting, chilled out beauty brand.”
— Becca Silvas (@beccasilvas) March 12, 2016
With the recent announcement that IntotheGloss.com would no longer have advertisements on the site, Glossier is more user, reader and customer focused than ever, and Weiss is not about turning Into the Gloss into the next BuzzFeed.
“It was a really tough decision. I think media is at a really interesting time right now. I started Into the Gloss in my apartment… it was a vigilante, fun project. I don’t think Into the Gloss has ever been set up to be a content generating machine. To be a really successful media company now you need numbers, you need massive volume. I think Into the Gloss is a little bit different.”
In the future, Weiss sees Glossier growing up alongside “their girl.”
“I want our customer to grow up with us, and I want to continue to make products that we actually want and use.”