Emily Weiss on the Meteoric Rise of Glossier

"I want to be the beauty version of Nike."

Blue and Green Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


Even with a slew of buzzy beauty launches, much-hyped expansions, and a massive millennial following, Glossier still makes time for fun in the sun outside of their New York HQ.

“Fun is one of our core values,” says Glossier founder Emily Weiss as she leans up against a beach cabana and surveys the stretch of sand below, where members of her growing beauty empire are playing tetherball in bubblegum-pink swimsuits and passing around pastel cones of cotton candy.

Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


Clad in gray company sweatshirts or Wet Hot American Summer–inspired Camp Glossier tees and slathering on Invisible Shield (this season’s new serum-like sunscreen), Team Glossier exudes an infectious sense of cool-girl (but not too cool to talk to you) camaraderie.

“We work really hard, and a lot of us spend more time together than we do with our spouses,” Weiss adds, as staffers reminisce about one recent “Gloffice” happy hour that evolved into a karaoke-style lip-syncing battle. “It’s really important for us not to take ourselves too seriously.” 

Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


Such was the reasoning behind Camp Glossier, an annual all-staff summer off-site gathering, which sent shock waves across social media last August with its epic games of human bubble soccer and personalized Bruna Malucelli maillots. But this July, Glossier will take its third out-of-office outing up a notch with a three-day trip to Cedar Lakes Estate in upstate New York—a lot less rustic than last year’s sleepaway camp with no-frills bunk quarters and freezing showers.

glossier team Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


Associate manager of team and culture Cherie Camacho and “head of people” Lynley Flanagan (Weiss dislikes the outdated concept of human resources) channel the witty, conversational tone of Glossier’s newsletters when they emphatically declare there will be no more brutal bubble soccer this summer, alas. But count on more carefully curated, aesthetically driven Color Wars, s’mores by the campfire, and a few go-rounds of Secret Past, which is Weiss’s favorite icebreaker to play with new hires. (Her own secret past? She once babysat JonBenét Ramsey. Just try and top that.) 

Not to mention, the team will be customizing 2017’s summer merch by designing everything from retro bucket hats and sew-on patches to Camp Glossier lettered tees in-house. “Everyone kills it when it comes to our swag,” says Weiss. 

Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


Indeed, the company’s collateral—be it the gothic ‘G’ logo or the sheet of emoji-like stickers tucked inside every pink bubble-wrapped pouch bearing Boy Brows and Balm Dotcom—is arguably as vital (and, no doubt, as brilliantly branded) as the actual beauty products.

Pink and Purple and Taupe Outdoor

photography by MEI TAO


Take Glossier’s SoHo showroom, a minimalist wonderland with sleek stations of wait-listed creams and cleansers (“We wanted to create the polar opposite of Sephora”), oversize mood boards collaged in cutouts of super-shiny cherries and glistening glazed doughnuts, and a coterie of down-to-earth editors in those Glossier-pink (which happens to be Pantone 705-C) jumpsuits. They scouted the showroom staff on Instagram and, like many members of a full-time team, offer gigs to those die-hard fans preaching the “Glosspel.” 

Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


“We’re the first digital beauty brand out there,” Weiss explains. “And we’re also the first beauty products that girls are ‘passing up’—meaning that we’re seeing daughters recommend Glossier to their moms, rather than vice versa.” 

The three-year-old company’s disruption of the beauty industry is already undeniable, and though Glossier’s following may be cult, it’s certainly not niche: It grew by 600 percent in 2016. “I want to be the beauty version of Nike,” explains Weiss, remarking how the barrier to entry for beauty is much more attainable, and mass-marketable, than higher-end luxuries like fashion. “I plan to, you know, like—just ‘dew’ it.” 

Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


And with their long-awaited launch in the U.K. this fall (50 percent of the brand’s followers are international), a signature fragrance on tap, more than 282 new job openings, along with a move into new West Village headquarters, the Glossier girl army is, well, just getting started.

Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


In this image, from left:
Melati Diran, 
Junior Digital Designer, @illumelati 
Morgan Von Steen, Executive Assistant to the CEO and COO, @mvonsteen
Kim Johnson, Community Manager, @kimjohnson._
Emily Weiss, Founder and CEO, @emilywweiss
Emily Ferber, Senior Editor at Into the Gloss, @emily_ferber
Kelly Mittendorf, Associate Manager of Influencer Marketing, @kelly_mittendorf
Ali Weiss, SVP of Marketing, @alexandramweiss
Umaimah Sharwani, Head of International Operations 

Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


In this image: Adriana Deleo (left), Head of Design, @kindalatetothegame; Morgan Von Steen (right), Executive Assistant to the CEO and COO, @mvonsteen.



Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


In this image: Jordan Verrilli (right), gTEAM Supervisor, @jordanbelle

Seen throughout: Sunglasses by Moscot, Warby Parker, and stylist’s own; Glossier Sweatshirt, $60; Glossier Soothing Face Mist, $18; Glossier Pink Pouch, 3 for $12; Bright Pink Favor Container, Party City, $1.49; Amado Beach Towel, Matouk, $65; Beach Umbrella, Basil Bangs, $450; Cotton Candy courtesy of Fluff+Fluff.

Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


In this image, from left:
Helen Steed, VP, Creative Director, @hesteed
Emily Ferber, Senior Editor at Into the Gloss, @emily_ferber
Umaimah Sharwani, Head of International Operations 
Emily Weiss, Founder and CEO, @emilywweiss
Henry Davis, President and COO, @henrydavis1
Jan-Niklas Kokott, Head of User Experience, @jankokott
Cherie Camacho, Associate Manager of Team and Culture, @cheriecamacho


Blue Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


In this image: Umaimah Sharwani (left)Head of International Operations; Emily Ferber (right), Senior Editor at Into the Gloss, @emily_ferber.

Say Anything
Every week, the Glossier team gets a fun questionnaire in their inbox from the hip happiness-in-the-workplace startup, Know Your Company. A few sample questions: What’s the best costume you’ve ever worn? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What was your favorite band 10 years ago? If you could teach a class, what would it be?

Blue and Green and Yellow Portrait

photography by MEI TAO


A Brief History of  Camp Glossier

2017
Location: Cedar Lakes Estate 
Team Bonding: Group Go-kart racing (we hear...)

2016
Location: Camp Mah-Kee-Nac  
Staff Highlight: The Train concert at Tanglewood

2015
Location: The Arnold House 
Main Sporting Event: Whitewater rafting

Pink and White Studio

photography by MEI TAO


Tiny Bubbles: The story of the Pink Pouch
A hit among the street-style set and an ideal plane-packing companion, Glossier’s pink pouch was inspired by anti-static bubble bags—then re-created in a very particular shade of pink (designer Adriana Deleo went through many rounds to nail the exact hue). Finished with a cherry red zipper, this pouch has pop. 

Published on June 29, 2017 - 7:00am EDT

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