Most people like to physically test a beauty product before they smear it all over their skin. Not necessarily so for customers of the beauty brand Glossier, whose founder Emily Weiss has used social-media marketing to create hype so strong that customers join months-long waiting lists for products they’ve never even tried. “[We’re] the first socially driven beauty brand,” Weiss says.
The company grew out of Into the Gloss, a beauty blog that Weiss started in 2010 while working as a fashion assistant at Vogue. She posed a question to readers: What would your ideal face wash be like? Based on the hundreds of responses, Weiss and her team designed the Milky Jelly Face Wash, still Glossier’s No. 1 most repurchased product. Many of their products, from lipsticks to moisturizers, have been created through crowdsourcing customer requests (after customers requested a rose-scented lip balm, the company made one), then marketed using real customers on their Instagram feed with more than 400,000 followers. “It’s a living, breathing brand,” Weiss, 31, explains. “We’re responsive in real time to our customers’ needs and the changing needs of women.”
It’s an approach that has brought Glossier $34.4 million in investor funding and strong social-media buzz. All the products cost between $12 and $35.
Weiss says she and her team design products as “tools” to allow women to look like the best version of themselves, not an aspirational version of someone else. To her, a tube of lipstick is more than just lipstick, it’s “sort of a talisman.”