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Glossier: From Beauty Blog To Billion-Dollar Brand

New York-based beauty brand Glossier has joined the ranks among the growing list of startup unicorns.

What started as a beauty blog by then Vogue fashion assistant Emily Weiss, is now valued as a $1.2 billion company after recently raising $100 million in Series D funding led by Sequoia Capital, according to the Wall Street Journal. Now founder and CEO, Weiss has grown the company to $100 million a year in sales, double the revenue from the year prior.

Her beauty blog “Into the Gloss” launched in 2010 and quickly amassed an impressive readership of 10 million views a month. Weiss observed her readers had not developed brand loyalty and decided to create a direct-to-consumer beauty brand with messaging that would resonate with today’s Millennial and Gen Z customers. Enter Glossier.

In an industry that historically pressures women to seek unattainable standards of beauty, Glossier pushes back against these norms and promotes a “less is more” approach, inviting women to enhance their assets rather than hide them. Since its launch in 2014, Glossier has expanded its offering to cosmetics, skincare and fragrances and is unofficially regarded as the “no-makeup” makeup brand. The company touts itself as a “casual and uncomplicated” beauty brand for “real life.”

Glossier has succeeded with Millennials and Gen Z by reaching them through their favorite medium: social media. Their ads feature women (and men) of all ethnicities, shapes and sizes, and offer compelling, high-resolution content showcasing their beauty products in tangible ways. Glossier perfected the social outlet for beauty with visual content and a simple product design aesthetic.

Glossier is also among the rapidly growing digitally native brands that have gone into brick-and-mortar retail with locations in New York and Los Angeles and temporary pop-ups in between. The physical stores embody the brand with body positive messaging and swaths of pearly white and millennial pink décor. Pink jumpsuit-clad employees armed with iPads provide a friendly and seamless shopping experience that mirrors the ease of their online experience. In other words, the store is designed to be highly Instagrammable. At the month-long San Francisco pop-up, a Glossier product was reportedly sold every 20 seconds on average, indicating the brand has plenty of runway for continued growth.

With the recent launch of their second beauty line, Glossier Play, and a shiny new billion-dollar valuation, this direct to consumer brand appears ready to take on the beauty giants.

By Neil Stern

Neil Stern for Forbes


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