What happens when a blog aimed at giving women the internet’s best beauty tips, makeup tutorials, product reviews, and techniques from industry leaders, turns into a multi-million dollar skincare and makeup company?
Ask Emily Weiss, the founder and CEO of Into The Gloss, a beauty blog that rose to cult-like status by using social media and digital content creation to establish a global community. Weiss’ empire grew from blog to company when she decided to turn her passion for makeup and skincare into something all women, with varying skin issues and bank accounts, could be a part of. Insert Glossier, in less than five years, and with just 24 products that range in price from $12 to $35, the startup has become one of the industry’s biggest disruptors.
So How Did A Beauty Blog Turn Into One Of The Biggest Disruptors In The Beauty Product Industry?
Into The Gloss launched in 2010, producing incredibly compelling, and surprisingly personal, content. In “The Top Shelf” columns, Weiss would interview women who were rich and famous, with bathrooms filled with pricey products. Even so, they were extremely candid with their skin insecurities.
After a year of being online, Weiss was averaging 10 million page views a month. She quickly realized she tapped into something special, the relatability factor of beauty. Women were united in this assurance that everyone has struggled with acne, hair loss, and a myriad of other issues. Weiss also noticed some major flaws in the beauty product industry: the corporations that traditionally dominated were exploiting the lack of self-confidence in some women in order to sell expensive products.
They weren’t listening to their customers; and before our current era of YouTube beauty vloggers and Instagram influencers, the $250-billion industry wasn’t very accessible, or affordable for the average consumer. Weiss wanted to do things a little differently by making beauty more affordable and a lot more fun.
The result was a site that brought a sense of vulnerability to beauty routines previously unseen by consumers. She wanted women to feel good about themselves, and so she set out to create an accessible brand that inspires two-way conversation and creates a kinship between customers.
Her mission was to have women construct their own idea of beauty, utilizing products that were both attainable and affordable for the average consumer. In 2014, Weiss launched Glossier’s first four products on Into The Gloss, “[the company] is about living in—and embracing—the now, not the past, and not the future. It’s about fun and freedom and being OK with yourself today.”
It Started With Great Product Design
The packaging itself allows for creativity, as the products are intentionally simple and each order comes with a sheet of stickers. This childhood throwback invokes a sense of playfulness that Glossier has encouraged customers to share with each other in real life and on social media. It all relates back to the idea of a community that the beauty brand has been able to nurture. If you refer a friend by email who proceeds to make a purchase, you get $10 off your next order.
Growing Glossier With Social Media
Social media was integral to Glossier’s mission to create a community and generate demand, as sales were to be made mostly by web on the company’s website.
Weiss’ first digital marketing decision was creating the company’s Instagram account. Even though Glossier wasn’t commercialized yet, it gained millions of followers due to smart marketing geared towards the right demographic: Glossier was directly aimed at millennial women who were interested in a low-maintenance approach to skincare and beauty.
Weiss knew her customer base was ever-present on Instagram, so when the company received over $8 million in Series A funding weeks after their launch, the money went to investing in technology and data analytics in order to study the sharing photo app along with other social channels. Weiss wanted to see how posts and products performed and what users engaged with. Instagram subsequently became Glossier’s main marketing platform.
The company also has a representative program with over 500 reps promoting Glossier on their personal social media profiles for monetary commission and product credit. While compensation depends on the number of sales made per month, reps are interested in the program because it means they’re a part of the company. When there are openings for positions within the company, Weiss will do weekly posts on her personal Instagram account, referring to it as “Recruitment Monday”.
As mentioned above, Weiss wanted her company to truly connect with its customers. Glossier hasn’t disappointed yet, they are continually fostering engagement with the community they created. The customer service team, along with the editorial and marketing teams, still respond to each comment and direct message, making customers feel heard. Glossier prides themselves on their interaction with their community, they’re continuously creating polls or publicly answering frequently asked questions or concerns.
Building Through Blogging
Weiss’ blog Into The Gloss is still thriving as a communication platform for customers who want more information on all things skincare, makeup, and Glossier itself. The Glossier HQ section of the website is constantly integrating the brand with the blog with news and reviews about the company.
It may seem as though Glossier has mastered online marketing, but they’re constantly experimenting with new ways to grow their brand, making the most of the technology they have at their fingertips. Their advertising campaigns on the High Line in New York City and on Los Angeles construction barriers are still online-oriented, as women continuously share pictures of themselves with the ads on social media. The company also has the skillful approach of putting out a new product every six to eight weeks in order to keep customers interested and excited for what’s to come.
Giving The People What They Want
From new colors to travel sized items, the beauty brand listens to the comments and tweets of their followers. You ask — Glossier delivers. Literally, since most of their sales are made online other than their two storefronts in New York and Los Angeles. This ongoing interaction with the community it created is what keeps Glossier growing.
The company’s popularity is the outcome of one thing: Glossier truly cares about its customers. As Weiss told Entrepeneur, “Conversations are really important. What choice do you have but to ask your customer what they want?” Creating this relationship between brand and consumer is essential in having people feel as though they’re part of your company’s story, and therefore will want to continue to grow with you. Through engaging design and a personable presence on social media, you can create a successful business.