Glossier: Embracing The Skin You're In

If you somehow haven’t heard of Glossier by now in 2018, STRAP. IN. This brand has literally been compared to a cult because of how strong the brand affinity is for it.

Before we talk about the brand, we have to talk about the brand before the brand, Into The Gloss. Into The Gloss is a blog created by Emily Weiss, who started it after graduating from NYU in 2007 and working for magazines like Vogue and W Magazine. After making connections in New York, she started her blog in 2010 by interviewing women she knew in the city about their beauty routines. After learning about so many people’s beauty regimens and what was missing, Weiss came up with the idea to start a product line of her own.

Cue Glossier in October of 2014; which started because of the inspiration of women who use beauty products. So, let’s break down the name “Glossier” what does that mean and how do you say it? “Gloss-” comes from the blog title and “-ier” at first seemed like a really French way to say “glossy.” While this may be interesting, and was my first hunch at breaking down the name because the French do have a very minimalist view on cosmetics and beauty, “Glossier” is actually a play on words of the word “Dossier.” W H A T ?

Dossier - noun

  1. a collection or file of documents on the same subject, especially a complete file containing detailed information about a person or topic.

So, what does that mean? Glossier Founder, Emily Weiss says in a 2015 POPSUGAR interview that Glossier “is building into a collection of objects that will hopefully will become … a larger beauty story.”

Glossier was announced on Into The Gloss with only four products all about enhancing the skin you’re in. Glossier released online only with no stores and would eventually be famous for their multiple pop-ups in major cities until they finally opened their first “Glossier Showroom” in NYC in 2017 and opened the second brick and mortar in LA a year later in May 2018.

In late 2014 after the first 4 products were launched, Glossier received $8.4MM in funding and I believe this was the first time I saw advertising for Glossier on the NYC Subway system.

For a cosmetics brand that was exclusively online it was an interesting play to do subway ads only, but I think their main goal was to have everybody in New York talking about it or curious at the least. These ads were eye-catching and definitely changed the game as far as makeup goes. At the time of these ads, the makeup trends were in the thick of mattifying powders and drawn on thick eyebrows. The ads, however, embraced dewy skin and minimal coverage makeup. Mind. Blowing. A lot of their copy or messaging says 1 of 2 things “SKIN FIRST. MAKEUP SECOND. SMILE ALWAYS” or, simply, “SKIN IS IN.”

Since then, Glossier has continued to run out of home ads, but I’ve also seen an ad this week for Glossier on Instagram which was a series of photos in a carousel with selfies of people of all different ethnicities, genders, ages, and religions.

Additionally, for a brand that mostly sells online and is known for their social media, user-generated content driven approach to marketing, Glossier does not pay for endorsements or sponsorships through social media influencers. However, they do have an ambassador program where bloggers, vloggers, and the like can promote products, offer their fans a discount, and get commission for their sales.

When releasing a new product, they are inspired by what people are saying about the brand on social media and post screenshots on Instagram stories of what people are saying. They also like to give a backstory on why each product is being make and how it solves the everyday skincare or makeup problem that we as consumers probably didn’t realize we had.

So, let’s move on to the packaging of the products. All of their products are aesthetically pleasing and Instagram-able, but the packaging tends to be pretty low-quality. I believe this is where they cut costs to help make good-for-you and higher-quality products affordable. This is a great effort to keep the price point down so more people can enjoy and treat their skin well. Glossier’s color scheme is white and millennial pink, and every single time you order from the brand you get a pack of stickers and a bubble-wrap material pink ziplock pouch for your new products. The stickers are a great way to personalize your things. I know most people put their stickers on products to decorate them, but I put them on my computer!

For naming conventions of the products, there’s usually three ways that they go. One is naming products that is related to the consumer as a group or as an individual: “Generation G", “Glossier You,” or “Body Hero.” Two is naming the product exactly what it is: “Lip Gloss,” “Soothing Face Mist,” or “Priming Moisturizer.” Three is naming the product based on what it is but with a clever twist: “Wowder,” “Milky Jelly Cleanser,” or “Invisible Shield.”

To get to the bottom of it all, Glossier is selling natural, individual beauty. The brand was founded after hearing the beauty experiences of women and everything from the ambassador program, stickers, and products embrace individualism and not covering natural beauty.

Thanks for reading! ✨🌴🌈
- Ariane
Find my podcast here!
Follow me on Instagram for more fun: @ariane_long