You’ve probably never heard of Emily Weiss, but it’s very likely that you’ve come across the Instagram page of Glossier, the beauty and skincare brand of which she’s founder and CEO. Such a thought after, harmonic and inclusive – in terms of race, gender and size – page is the final and more immediate manifestation of a reality that Weiss has started from scratch.
Emily Weiss, 34 years old, raised in Connecticut, has always been interested in fashion, and after a degree in studio art at New York University she started an internship at Teen Vogue, W Magazine, and later at Vogue, where she became the assistant of the style director Elissa Santisi. It’s 2010, a period in which the attention towards the beauty and make-up world was definitely present but not as consistent and important as it is today: thus Weiss decides to open a blog dedicated to beauty and skincare, Into The Gloss. The young entrepreneur understands that by traditional media beauty and make-up are still considered shallow and silly topics, while Weiss knows that women want to share and talk about their skin issues, they want to exchange tips and advice on how to improve it, simply, they really want to address this subject. Weiss knows that her blog can become that unique and unprecedented platform the female audience had been waiting for. Emily works on the blog every day, from 4 to 8 am, before going to Vogue, persistent and focused on her goals. In a very short time Into The Gloss grows exponentially, creating a loyal and passionate audience. One of the most popular columns of the blog is The Top Shelf, where actresses, models and celebs share their beauty routine and their habits and tips. Karlie Kloss, guest star in one episode, made history because for the first time she openly talked about her struggle with acne. When the blog reaches 10 million views per month, Weiss decides to quit her job at Vogue to work full time on Into The Gloss. With the help of Kirsten Green, founder of Forerunner Ventures, Weiss is able to raise $2 million dollars in investment required to tackle a team of collaborators and, above all, to give life to a line of products that are both high-quality and affordable. In 2014 Glossier was born, with an offer of products with prices ranging between $14 and $35. A fundamental factor in the success of the brand is definitely the community that Weiss was able to create with her blog, a community that is ready to follow her and with whom she has a direct relationship: in this way Emily can know first hand the needs and the demands of her audience, and starting from this data she can design the most suitable products. Glossier’s motto is Skin first, makeup second, a philosophy perfectly in line with the zeitgeist. The message Glossier is trying to convey is the result of a trend focused on body positivity that is particularly popular on Instagram, for which it’s more important to have healthy, hydrated and glowing skin, rather than sporting a thick and at times cheap make-up, of which the Kardashian-Jenner are the prime example. The key element of Glossier’s strength is probably the visual, aesthetic and communicative aspect of its products. The packaging is catchy, Millennial Pink colours every item, the Futura Bold font used strikes immediately, everything about Glossier is fresh, young, contemporary. And then there’s the Instagram profile, today with almost 2 million followers, characterised by curated and selected images. The social network allows the brand to keep the direct relationship with its audience, started with the blog: followers are asked about the effectiveness of the products, on their needs and demands. Glossier’s audience answers promptly, the Millennial community is active and responsive and is not afraid to define Glossier products as miraculous.
Right now Glossier has two physical stores, in New York and Los Angeles, elegantly decorated spaces that perfectly reflect the aesthetic and the taste of the brand, therefore super Instagram-friendly. Glossier’s e-commerce network is the main sales channel of the brand, which ships in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Danmark, France and hopefully Italy very soon.
Last year Glossier’s revenue reportedly topped $100 million, a second line was created, Glossier Play, and, according to the latest reports of Wall Street Journal, the brand is now valued around $1.2 billion, an even more impressive figure if we think that the initial investment for Into The Gloss amounted to $700. Moreover, the influential publication speculated on a potential public offering of the brand anytime soon. In these years there have been many speculations about the acquirement of the brand by giants of the industry like Estée Lauder and L’Oréal, but Emily Weiss has repeatedly expressed her intention to remain independent.
The results that Emily Weiss has achieved in just five years are extraordinary and are proof not only of her intellect and intuition but show also how the direct relationship with the audience has now become a key element in the success of a brand. Weiss has found the right equation to turn her blog readers into the buyers of her products, giving life to a greatly independent brand, able to compete with the giants of the industry.