We’ve written endless stories about successful and innovative retail companies disrupting the industry here at Retail TouchPoints. Yet in my humble opinion, none of them quite compare to the cult-favorite beauty brand Glossier.
As a Millennial consumer, I’ve been a fan of Glossier — founded by 32-year-old Emily Weiss — since its inception in 2014, and not just for its uber-cool makeup and skin care products. No, it was the community Weiss built through the brand (as well as her original venture, a beauty web site and blog dubbed Into The Gloss) that really caught my attention.
- Forerunner Ventures led Glossier’s $2 million seed round in 2013;
- The company launched with just four basic skin care products that Weiss heard women asking for during her four years of running Into The Gloss;
- Glossier raised $8.4 million in venture funding led by Thrive in 2014 — six weeks after its launch;
- The company turned to social media to hear more about what women want from their cosmetics in an effort to develop products based on what they learned; and
- In November 2016, Glossier secured $24 million in series B funding to expand into physical stores and internationally.
Today, Glossier sells a range of 24 skin care and makeup products — plus branded merchandise such as sweatshirts and pins — online and inside a New York City “showroom” store that hosts a swarm of consumers daily (with lines around the block).
Learn From Glossier’s Success: 6 Takeaways For Retailers
Glossier has gained a cult-following by creating an online and social media community of like-minded individuals — all in its own unique way. Want to grab the hearts of Millennials and Gen Z? Take a cue from Glossier’s playbook:
Social Media Presence: Glossier doesn’t just post pretty pictures of models and celebrities wearing its products on social media (although there is plenty of that, too!). The company engages with consumers as if they were long-time friends — from replying to every comment with helpful tips and tricks to reposting consumer images and tutorials. With more than 700,000 Instagram followers and 40,000 Twitter followers, Glossier asks its fans what they want, which is customer-centricity at its finest.
Crowdsourcing: The brand’s social media channels and web site also act as a form of R&D lab. For example, the brand launched its Milky Jelly face cleanser in January 2016. The product was developed almost entirely via crowdsourcing; Weiss simply went on her Into The Gloss web site to ask “What’s your dream face wash?” and she received nearly 400 comments.
Advocacy: Because of its cult following, Glossier launched a representative program of people who share the brand’s value. Through the program, representatives get their own page where their friends and followers can purchase products. The reps receive a monetary commission and product credit with the purchases. Think of it as a cool, Millennial-friendly Avon strategy.
Showroom Shopping Environment: The Glossier store isn’t your typical brick-and-mortar. The general vibe reads more like a chic showroom where consumers can hang out, test and learn more about the products. The space feels less like an actual store and more like a gallery — there are hardly any aisles and shelves in sight. And consumers love it: it’s been reported that the store sees 800 visitors each day, with lines around the block!
Instagram-able Products: Glossier’s packaging is simple, with minimalist, baby pink and white design worthy of an Instagram post. There isn’t a single product that hasn’t been shared on social media dozens of times. Glossier also promotes personalization — every order receives a sheet of adorable, emoji-like stickers so customers can decorate their makeup and skin care products to match their personality.
Killer Content: Glossier’s YouTube channel features a series of videos of women (consumers, employees, makeup artists, you name it) getting ready in the morning with Glossier and non-Glossier products, called “Get Ready With Me.” Consumers are presented with new ways to use the makeup and skin care, as well as inspiration and sneak peeks of new products through the videos. The company also reveals new phone wallpapers of beautiful on-brand images for consumers to download — extending the brand to new areas of its consumers’ lives.