I came across Emily’s story after listening to an episode of another favourite podcast of mine, How I Built This with Guy Raz. Guy conducted an in-depth hour long live interview with the Glossier founder and uncovered how she created a multi-million dollar company after successfully building a solid customer base from her blog, Into The Gloss.
Whilst working as a fashion assistant at Vogue in 2010, Emily came up with the idea to launch her own beauty blog after receiving a fake tan recommendation from a model she was working with at the time. She distinctly told Guy how ecstatic she felt after trialling this product herself and how much she wanted to shout its praises from the rooftop. Hence, Into The Gloss was born.
Her blog made her audience feel part of an exclusive club as she gave them an insight into some of the beauty routines of the world’s fashion elite. She didn’t realise it at the time, but her articles acted as the perfect slingshot into attracting a following of devoted readers, who would then in turn be her customer base for her brand, Glossier.
After paying attention to her readers, she realised there was a gap in the market for a fresh, millennial-focused beauty brand. One that focused on feeling comfortable in your own skin, using make-up to ‘never cover you up, turn you into someone else, or overcomplicate your routine’.
She shared that she had no previous business experience, no MBA but a focused vision on simplicity. With her grit, industry experience and blog in hand she managed to win over venture capitalist, Kirsten Green, and began building her brand in 2014. After finding the perfect chemist she launched Glossier with 4 beauty products: Glossier’s Soothing Face Mist, Priming Moisturizer, Balm Dotcom salve and Perfecting Skin Tint foundation.
What can we learn from Weiss’ meteoric success to Unicorn status? Simple, her direct-to-consumer strategy. Glossier has only 2 in-person stores, California and NYC and cleverly uses pop-up shops to build product hype. Glossier also leverages Into The Gloss and its picture- perfect Instagram page to mass target its audience of millennials.
The lesson we should take from this is that no two rises to success, even within the same industry and for the same audience, are the same. Emily leveraged her industry experience as well as her mass following to find out what her audience really need. Not just want, need.
With talks of a potential IPO in the near future, I for one will be sitting at the edge of my seat to see how Weiss keeps on top of industry trends to mould Glossier’s branding strategy for the future!