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Senior Lecturer Jill Avery prepared this case. It was reviewed and approved before publication by a company designate. Funding for the
development of this case was provided by Harvard Business School and not by the company. Certain details have been disguised. HBS cases are
developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of
effective or ineffective management.

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write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www.hbsp.harvard.edu. This publication may not be digitized, photocopied,
or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.

J I L L A V E R Y

Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital
Community

Forging personal relationships among people through the sharing of digital content was
foundational to Glossier, a digitally native, direct-to-consumer beauty brand. The company described
its strategy as “born from content, fueled by community,” and its community was squarely at the center
of everything it did. Its brand had emerged from a popular beauty blog, Into The Gloss, launched by
founder and CEO Emily Weiss, which provided data from 1.5 million passionate readers to help inspire
new products and an army of enthusiastic brand advocates to proselytize the brand.

Engaging Glossier’s growing community was on the minds of Senior Vice President of Marketing
Alexandra Weissa (HBS ‘15) and President and Chief Financial Officer Henry Davis as they debated
marketing strategy for the second half of 2018. The company, following multiple fundraising rounds
that had yielded $86 million from venture capital investors, had grown rapidly, with sales up 600% in
2017. Despite this success, Emily had even larger ambitions. She dreamed of using relationships to
fundamentally change the way women discovered and purchased beauty products—to create a social
brand sold via human-centered social commerce. She explained,

I think there is a massive opportunity. There is much more for us to continue to solve,
if we can truly create a new brand paradigm. How can we create the first socially driven
brand, the first beauty brand that involves its community in its creative process? We want
to do that by inserting people into the buying experience, so that we’re merchandising
people’s opinions and stories just as much as we are merchandising products. We’re
striving not for a breadth of assortment like Amazon, but rather for a breadth of human
connections.

Weiss and Davis were debating marketing strategies that recognized the opportunities and
challenges of managing Glossier’s rapidly scaling customer community, which had grown threefold in
2017. In February 2018, the company had closed an oversubscribed $52 million Series C round. This
gave them a lot of runway to think about new ways to acquire, engage, and retain customers, beyond
the company’s traditional reliance on owned and earned investments in Into The Gloss and Instagram
and direct-to-consumer e-commerce sales. Most of its growth had been organically derived from these

a Alexandra Weiss coincidentally shares a name with founder Emily Weiss, but the two are not related. For simplicity, Emily
will be referred to as “Emily” throughout the case, while Alexandra will be referred to as “Weiss.”

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millennial-friendly digital properties that allowed the company to pursue what Racked dubbed “no-
commerce commerce” and “marketing without marketing.” 1 As they looked to the future, the three
were considering whether the company’s next phase of growth would need to be fueled by a greater
emphasis on paid media and/or a more physical market presence. They were debating whether to
convert Glossier’s evangelistic consumers into paid peer-to-peer sales representatives, whether to
engage professional influencers, and how to continue to use the community to inspire new product
ideas as it diversified beyond early adopters. On the table was also a question of whether to expand
Glossier’s availability beyond the digital to physical retail.

Creating a Trusted Voice and Building a Community

Emily, a former art student and styling assistant at fashion magazines W and Vogue, had achieved
an almost mythical status. BuzzFeed dubbed her the “patron saint of dewy skin, no-makeup makeup.” 2
Forbes named her to its 2015 “30 Under 30” list when she was 29, just a few short years after she
launched Into The Gloss in 2010 at age 25. She recalled the impetus for its founding:

When I started Into The Gloss, I wanted to make beauty as much of an element of
personal style as fashion. As I interviewed hundreds of women, I became more aware of
how flawed the traditional beauty paradigm is. It has historically been an industry based
on experts telling you what you should or shouldn’t be using on your face. I wanted to
reinvent the beauty experience by creating a brand that celebrates you for who you are
today, and isn’t prescriptive about what you should or shouldn’t use in your routine.

She filled Into The Gloss with high-quality product reviews and comparisons, beauty how-to’s, and
intimate, behind-the-scenes tours into the daily beauty routines of inspiring individuals who opened
their medicine cabinets to Emily for private “Top Shelf” interviews (see Exhibit 1), dubbed by
voyeuristic readers as “medicine cabinet porn.” Participants revealed the products they used and spoke
candidly about their own issues and insecurities, from aging to acne. The series encouraged readers to
proudly share their own beauty routines, using the hashtag #itgtopshelfie (see Exhibit 2), something
that society had made women reluctant to talk about.

Entrepreneur described the blog’s writing as “cultivated but conversational, light but not silly; the
graphic design, sophisticated and inviting; and the photography, beautiful.”3 Emily declared, “Into The
Gloss’s beauty authority is bolstered by our access to industry experts and award-winning content. We
are the internet’s hub for quality beauty conversation.” Emily and a team of four were soon publishing
four stories per day and attracting 1.5 million unique visitors and 10 million page views per month.
Conversations were happening, with most posts receiving hundreds of comments from readers, who
shared their routines, swapped beauty tips, and provided product reviews. Recalled Emily, “Everyone
can be their own expert, their own curator . . . we’re encouraging everyone to build their own top shelf,
making active a whole range of women who were otherwise passive beauty consumers.”4

This activity kept advertisers like Lancôme, who used Into The Gloss to reach prospective customers,
happy. Advertising revenue soon reached $5 million. However, explained Davis, Into The Gloss was
much more than a platform for selling products:

Into The Gloss isn’t about product. It never really was. It’s about the person wearing the
product. It’s a way to discover products, but that influence comes from the story of a
person and an affinity that you have for them. Its sole purpose is to inspire and activate
people to talk about beauty and to bring them together. It’s about owning the discovery
piece of the funnel. We just want to have a conversation with you.

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By 2014, it had dawned on Emily that her intimate conversations with 1.5 million Into The Gloss
readers and her social media interactions with 200,000 Instagram followers and 60,000 Facebook fans
were yielding incredible insight into the current state of the beauty market. She noted,

There wasn’t one “aha” moment. I love all the beauty products I use and yet there has
not been a brand that has come to define my generation. I want to think about what beauty
means today . . . What do people want? What do they care about?5 Women today have
different needs than we have had in the past, but beauty companies haven’t necessarily
been the most reactive to that.6 There wasn’t a brand that spoke to women in an
approachable way, while delivering a luxury experience and encouraging beauty as a part
of an overall personal style . . . we set out to demystify beauty and create basics inspired
by the content and conversations from the beauty blog.7

She decided to create a new brand, Glossier, to house a curated and edited collection of products
to fulfill the desires of her community. She saw Glossier’s launch as an evolution of her initial mission
for Into The Gloss, but with an opportunity to turn her written content into tactile products. She said,

With years of insight on what women want and expect from their products, and having
tested and scrutinized countless products ourselves, we launched our vision of the
modern beauty essentials . . . Our editorial approach is the key ingredient to Glossier’s
success—we’re product experts, we’re content experts, and we’re experts at building our
community. We’re reinventing the beauty experience for girls who aspire to be proud of
who they are. We believe in democratizing beauty . . . having conversations, the power of
individuals, beauty in real life. Glossier will be a modern beauty brand made by editors
in NYC who “get” what works, inspired by what girls want in real life.

Partnering with a chemist and a contract manufacturer, she developed plans to launch four
everyday essentials for which her readers were clamoring. She also began talking to Kirsten Green,
founder of Forerunner Ventures. Recalled Green, who provided $2 million in seed capital, “I see a lot
of beauty brands that are beautiful, but we’re trying to work with founders who are looking at the
entire thing holistically, from a unique viewpoint. What Emily was pitching was a multilayered vision.
She wasn’t out there pitching Glossier; she was really thinking differently.” 8 A few months later, the
products were ready for Glossier’s October 2014 launch. Into The Gloss’s readers were the first to hear
about it, via a friendly, personal blog post from Emily (see Exhibit 3 for excerpts).

Taking on Big Beauty
Glossier was operating on the forefront of an emerging, more democratic beauty paradigm, one

fueled by consumer-to-consumer conversations on social media that challenged the previous
hegemony of big brands. Emily described it as follows:

In the past, there was homogeneity in beauty. Women were told by the big beauty
companies what was beautiful and then aspired to achieve that image. There wasn’t a
plethora of options, there wasn’t a plethora of influence. Today, beauty is all about
individualism. It’s about making individual choices based on an endless array of beauty
content. It used to be that brands were the sole owners of opinion; that’s no longer the
case. Influence has been completely decentralized and now is in the hands of individual
consumers. You don’t have to listen to a brand, you can listen to literally hundreds of
people. Social media is the gateway to this transformation. Sixty percent of women say
that the #1 reason they are persuaded to buy a new beauty product is because of a peer’s

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recommendation. That doesn’t mean sitting across from each other in person. That means
finding peers on YouTube that you’ve never met who are creating videos or your friends
on Instagram from around the world whom you follow.

We learned a lot from listening to people. We realized that big beauty brands were
irrelevant to consumers. They didn’t know where products were coming from, they didn’t
know the brands behind them and what their values were, and they didn’t care. There
was product loyalty, but the products were becoming separated from brands. A woman
might say, “I love my Great Lash mascara, but I don’t really give a f*&% about
Maybelline.”

We want to reframe and create a new type of beauty brand, a new paradigm for what
a beauty brand can be to a generation that is really disconnected from existing brands as
a result of years of distancing. How can we make a beauty brand whose sweatshirt you
want to wear? Why, in fashion, are there cultlike followings, strong affinities, and tribes
forming around certain brands, but in beauty, products are just commodities?

Emily was taking on the $433 billion global beauty industry, projected to grow to $750 billion by
20249 and dominated by eight companies (see Exhibit 4). While big brands had ruled for decades, more
recently, niche brands were gaining ground. Over the past five years, the largest brands had lost market
share to smaller brands.10 Observed an investor in the category, “Beauty is a quarter-trillion-dollar
industry, and the majority of that market is comprised of products made by stodgy, slow, offline
competitors that sell through third-party retailers. These are companies that only hear from their
customers through focus groups and outsourced surveys. Product development is limited by shelf
space constraints and quarters-old sell-through data . . . Glossier is positioned to disrupt this.” 11

While over 80% of beauty and personal care products were still purchased through physical
retailers, direct-to-consumer digital brands were gaining traction. 12 Consumers were increasingly
fickle and easily swayed by peer influence, explained Adweek, “Whereas older generations of
consumers pledged loyalty to one of two department store beauty counters, today’s young women are
comfortable going on Sephora.com to purchase a product they only just learned about from a YouTube
vlogger.”13 Consumers were turning to peers for product recommendations, viewing YouTube video
tutorials and combing through celebrity influencers’ Instagram feeds. Explained Adweek, “It’s clear that
Instagram has replaced the magazine rack as the dominant platform for discovering, engaging with,
and buying beauty products.”14 As a result, all brands were leveraging social media and influencer
marketing to speak directly with consumers. Big brands were fighting back by launching incubator
and accelerator programs for nascent brands, acquiring brands currying favor with consumers, and
doubling down on research labs to search for the next wave of ingredients, technologies, or trends that
could drive growth.

Community Inspired R&D
From the start, Glossier used the information its community provided in daily conversations on Into

The Gloss as fuel for its research and development (R&D) engine, which was tasked with delivering a
continuous stream of new products—launching one, on average, every six weeks, produced by contract
manufacturer partners. By 2018, the company offered a carefully curated, edited line of 26 products
(see Exhibit 5), which ranged from $12 to $60, placing the brand at a higher price point than mass-
market and drugstore brands, but lower than most brands sold by specialty retailers or in department
stores. Emily explained, “We don’t offer 1,000 SKUs and 500 shades: we only make products that that
the Glossier girl wants and needs.”

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Glossier was riding trends for natural skin. Rather than covering up with cosmetics, consumers
were looking to show off their healthy skin, carefully contoured and highlighted to accentuate natural
features without appearing overly fussed over. A Google search for “no makeup” yielded over 5
million results, many of which were links to tutorials on using cosmetics to achieve a fresh-faced look.
New York Magazine described Glossier’s aesthetic as “makeup for people who are already pretty . . . It’s
the idea that peeling away artifice and pomp leads to an even more thrilling beauty: the real thing . . .
The makeup is for gilding your lovely lily, for people who reject the beauty-queen, done-face ideal.”15

Emily personally responded to comments as she asked Into The Gloss readers for their opinions on
every aspect of her company. For example, as she was considering developing a new facial cleanser,
she reached out via a blog post entitled “What’s your dream cleanser?” Nearly 400 comments helped
her shape the Milky Jelly face wash. Her direct and timely responses and friendly, conversational tone
made readers feel like they were talking to a real person rather than a nameless, faceless corporation.
As a result, customers “[felt] like the brand itself was a close friend—a friend who was maybe a little
older, and maybe a little cooler, who maybe moved to the city when you stayed in your hometown but
never lost her sense of humor or humility—more likely to cross her eyes in a photograph than make a
duck face.”16 The company initiated a Slack group and invited 100 of its top customers to engage with
company representatives. Top NYC customers were invited to Glossier’s office for pizza and rosé,
where they swapped stories and tested products alongside Glossier team members.

These activities stemmed from Emily’s belief that consumers were the ultimate authority on beauty.
She expressed, “It doesn’t really matter what Glossier says. Like who are we to say which products are
great? We are not an authority. Our voice is no more important than anyone else’s. We are a conduit
and an enabler and a creator and a listener. The more we can connect consumers to each other is what’s
important, not how much we connect them to us.” She continued, “The need for brands as bearers of
truth, as arbiters of taste, is kind of a thing of the past. I think beauty has become liberated,
democratized, and Glossier is just a brand built on those principles.” 17 Davis concurred,

What does it mean to be a Glossier customer? You’re a stakeholder in all this. We’re
listening to you. The brand, the products, everything we do reflects your input. We create
this type of brand-customer interaction that’s much more “brand as peer” versus “brand
as authority.” Think of what luxury brands do. They build this amazing temple and then
chisel off a tiny bit of marble and give it to consumers and expect them to feel good about
it because they get to own a small piece of something amazing. We’re building a temple
and inviting consumers to come inside and be an integral part of it. If you can create a
branded environment and experience for people where they can get that fix of “I just want
to be a part of this”—then, it’s not about buying things. It’s about belonging to something.

Other brands, such as ColourPop, were using big data to generate new product releases in a process
that replicated a fast fashion model to capitalize on of-the-moment trends in color, ingredients, or style.
Glossier preferred to listen, research, and release more slowly. Due to Emily’s commitment to
excellence, often a full year passed between the time Emily solicited input from the community and a
new product was available in the market. For example, she experimented with over 40 formulas for the
Milky Jelly product before she landed on a solution. Glossier’s community-inspired product strategy
was bearing fruit. Its initial products were an instant success and many subsequent products sold out
within days or weeks. By mid-2016, Glossier had 60,000 people on product waiting lists. When asked
if sell-outs were a scarcity tactic designed to generate additional buzz and demand, Emily ruefully
shook her head, answering, “It makes us so sad when we can’t give people what they want. Period.” 18

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As the team considered the future, they debated whether community input should continue to be
the driving force for innovation or whether the company should invest its resources in scientists to fuel
a R&D lab and exert more editorial control. Mused Emily, “You can learn what consumers want by
going to Google trends to see that contouring has gone up in the last 30 days. When you have the
volume of people we have on our platform, 50 million people, then we can look for trends within our
own ecosystem and ask ourselves ‘which ones should we follow?’ But perhaps, we should have the
final say as editors. Maybe we are approaching a time where we shouldn’t listen to the customer
because we have to trust our vision for the brand.” Weiss concurred, “Our customers have asked for
every type of product. We need to combine what we hear from them with our editorial instinct, which
helps us understand what will make it better and different from what is on the market.”

The Glossier community grew larger and more heterogeneous, attracting new customers beyond
the bicoastal millennials originally attracted to the brand. How could Emily keep up with listening to,
responding to, and incorporating feedback from the now hundreds of thousands of customer
comments that were coming in each week? Worried Davis, “I think authenticity is key and bringing
the customer along on the journey with you. That comes from being very close to consumers. It’s hard
to do if you’re a big company, but today, we’re small, we’re nimble, and we have lots of feedback loops.
So, how do we sustain that as we scale?” The team also wondered whether Glossier should
democratically listen to all of its customers or just a select few as it solicited new product ideas.

The team was conflicted about whether to focus new product development on hero products that
would create product loyalty or to think more broadly about how to create a fuller line that would
engender broader brand loyalty. Emily noted an increasing number of consumers buying multiple
Glossier SKUs. She saw potential in thinking beyond individual products to building holistic
consumer-brand relationships, noting, “We want to be more than just the company that makes your
moisturizer. I see Glossier as the first beauty lifestyle brand. I believe Glossier is more than just beauty
or beauty products. It’s a way of life.”

Building a Social Brand
As Emily thought about what she wanted her brand to be, she realized that, unlike other brands

that prospered by making women feel insecure about their appearance, she wanted her brand to make
them feel good about it. (Exhibits 6 and 7 highlight Glossier’s initial brand inspiration board, its
mission, and its brand proposition.) Emily envisioned her prospective customers as close friends and
developed a brand voice that reflected this aspiration. This was reflected in website copy that read:
“Trust us, we’re you. Geeking out over beauty is fun, and we’re lucky to have a community of
likeminded customers and readers who get it. We’re the beauty brand that wants to be friends with
you—mostly because we’re not so much a brand as we are real people over here just trying to rethink
the beauty industry and have a good time doing it.” Copywriters were given the following instructions:

Would you talk to your friends that way? We should talk about our products like we
talk about any product on Into The Gloss—thoughtful, informative, down-to-earth, and
fun to read. Typical branded copy can feel stiff, like there’s a hired agency machine behind
the words rather than an actual person who lives and breathes whatever they’re writing
about. When writing copy for Glossier, pretend you’re writing to a good friend.

The brand’s identity featured a simple logo, a curvy graphic G on a field of soft, washed-out pink
so distinctive that consumers began taking photos of it as it appeared in nature or in everyday life and
tagging them #glossierpink. The brand’s own photography featured diverse women, described by
Emily as “real girls that easily convey the Glossier spirit—hopeful, positive, natural, and inspiring. We

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select a mixture of posed and off moments . . . We embrace natural skin texture and actual product
payoff—shine, coverage, etc. Pores and blemishes are welcome.” Many were not professional models,
but rather Glossier consumers.

The brand was built to be social media–friendly. Minimalistic packaging and graphics were used
because they would photograph well. Explained Emily, “We think of things from a content perspective:
How would this show up in a user-generated photo?” 19 Each shipment contained stickers to
personalize products or festoon phones. Items were packaged in signature pink reusable bubble wrap
pouches to protect them during shipping, and which were also widely used by on-the-go consumers
to transport beauty essentials (see Exhibit 8). Weiss likened them to Apple’s highly visible ear buds:
“Our pink pouch has become like white AirPods, where you see someone with one of our pouches and
you just know that they are part of the Glossier community. Oftentimes, they spark conversation
among strangers because that pink pouch means you have a shared connection with them.”

After customers clamored for a Glossier sweatshirt worn by model Karlie Kloss in an Instagram
selfie, the team launched branded merchandise including sweatshirts, totes, headbands, and logo pins,
to “give our customers a way to incorporate Glossier into her life beyond the medicine cabinet,” said
Emily. She continued, “We aim to get you to be brand inspired and to have some relationship to our
brand. It should be because our brand is fun; it gives an extra layer of meaning to your morning ritual
and to your engagement with the product. That makes it no longer a commodity.” Added Davis,
“Many brands represent something that doesn’t get beyond the bathroom. They’re tools. There isn’t
that visceral response in the way that there is to a fashion brand. That’s what we’re aiming for.”

The Cult of Glossier
Consumers responded enthusiastically. Entrepreneur proclaimed, “Glossier inspires a kind of

devotion and intrigue unmatched in the traditionally fickle beauty space,” while BuzzFeed remarked
“the brand quickly ascended to cult status.” 20 Consumers acted like fan girls, posting incessantly on
social media (see Exhibit 9) and waiting feverishly for new product releases. The continuous flow of
products spurred them on; the six-week release cycle allowing time to order, use the product, share on
social media, and then move on to the next one. Explaining her obsession, customer and beauty editor
Tynan Sinks wondered, “Maybe it’s because Glossier feels inclusive, like any of us could be a Glossier
girl.” 21 Customer and beauty blogger Claire Carusillo proclaimed, “There’s something intimate and
cliquish, almost conspiratorial, about the brand. You’re part of this crowd and you don’t want to stray
from it too much.” 22 Emily defined Glossier as a cult brand rather than as a niche brand for a particular
sort of woman because it engendered a sense of belonging and a community for many different types
of people. She explained:

You build a cult brand by focusing on values. Think about how you pick your friends,
you gravitate toward people who share the same interests, beliefs, and ways of looking at
the world. I want people to say, “Oh, Glossier is a brand I want to be friends with.” I want
customers who I want to be friends with. It cuts both ways. That comes from a value
system that’s deeply embedded and trickles down to who we hire, how we involve
consumers, how we respond when they are happy and when they’re not. It’s a culture of
optimism, thoughtfulness, and inclusivity that creates a cult. What is a cult if not a shared
belief system and a way of living? So, a cult forms, it is not created. Like attracts like.

When asked why Glossier consumers were so engaged, Jessica White, Executive Director of
Customer, cited the Customer Experience (CX) team. She elaborated, “Most CX teams are run like an
operations function, where all they care about is reducing cost per customer interaction. We flipped

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this principle on its head. We actually want to talk to our customers because we believe that talking to
you is valuable—valuable to you and valuable to us. So, we actively listen and care what you think.”

The company focused on empowering Glossier’s customers to share their passion for the brand,
outsourcing many marketing tasks to them. During the first year, the team spent little on paid
marketing; instead, it drove nearly 80% of its sales from owned and earned media. Emily recalled her
surprise when one month, the company sold what the team thought would be a full year’s worth of
inventory, all on the wings of customers’ peer-to-peer efforts. In the second half of 2017, customers
tagged @Glossier in over 50,000 Instagram posts, generating a reach of over 17 million. Recognizing
their power, she proclaimed, “[Each customer] has a microphone and she’s reaching 50, 500, 5,000, or
500,000 of her nearest and dearest friends and is able to talk about her preferences.”

More than 60% of customers were between the ages of 18–35. Seventy-two percent claimed that they
stayed in touch with friends on social media, and 48% said they sought opinions and inspiration from
people on social media. Most came to the brand following a friend’s recommendation; peer-to-peer
outreach accounted for 25% of new customers. Into The Gloss readers were 40% more likely to buy
Glossier products, although a large percentage did not purchase the products. Explained Chief
Technology Officer Bryan Mahoney, “[Into The Gloss] was, for a long time, older, more sophisticated,
while Glossier was targeted to millennials. There’s still tremendous opportunity for us to harvest that
community to Glossier.” The team declared that there was no archetype of a Glossier girl. Said Emily,
“Anyone can be a Glossier girl. Glossier girls have something to say about beauty. They’re our readers,
our editors, our friends. Beauty is one of their hobbies. They’re insecure some days, confident others.
They have freckles, pores, scars. Our girl doesn’t need our products, but she chooses them because they
make her feel great.”

Moving from Owned and Earned Media to Paid Media
Flush with cash from the Series C, Weiss and Davis were considering transitioning from a plan

dominated by owned and earned media to one fueled by paid media. They were evaluating four
proposals: a peer-to-peer sales representative program, a professional influencer program, a paid
media plan, and a customer loyalty program.

A Peer-to-Peer Sales Representative Program

Given that Glossier had amassed significant numbers of fans, some wondered if it was worth
converting these brand evangelists into paid salespeople, or “virtual Avon ladies for the digital age.”23
Some believed that they could lend legitimacy to Glossier’s brand messaging. Explained White, “Any
content the brand creates isn’t quite as authentic as what a customer is creating, even if we don’t
Photoshop our photos or we shoot them on an iPhone. The moment it goes through our brand, it loses
authenticity.” However, a test of a paid representative program was yielding mixed results. Only one-
quarter of the reps were creating social media content regularly and most generated fewer than 25
orders. As the team contemplated scaling the program, these results raised questions about whether to
invest significant resources into rep recruitment, training, and management programs and about how
reps could be utilized. White explained:

When we first started recruiting reps, we looked to our loyal customers. So we ended
up bringing in a lot of loyalists, but many people who were not interested in creating
content and not interested in talking to others about us. Each rep taps out fairly quickly.
First, not everyone wants to be a content creator or is not a good content creator. Some
people just want to be loyal customers. Through peer-to-peer, what we’re able to do is

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create hundreds of thousands of unique storefronts. Our customers can become our
channels of distribution out in the community. But, do we really want that?

We’re also thinking about how to mobilize them during the online shopping
experience. When you shop at retail, a saleswoman approaches you to ask if she can help.
And, most of the time, she just has a totally different style than you do, so you don’t really
trust her. But, what if we offer you access to lots of our reps—then we’re likely to find
someone who matches your style and you can choose who you want to assist in your sale.
Each rep can be a trusted resource to help customers make their decisions. Maybe, we
don’t even need them to make the sale—they just need to convert the customer to make
that decision. The actual making of the sale—we can handle that ourselves. This would
allow us to work with more types of people—because the skill set necessary for closing a
sale is very different from the skill set necessary for sharing with and inspiring your
friends.

She was struggling to find the right incentive program and was assessing various compensation
options, including in cash or in kind—offering store credit for reps’ own purchases, insider
merchandise not available to the public, or special access to Glossier events or to Emily. Choices
included:

• Compensating reps each time they created branded content or each time they created
content that garnered attention and/or engagement from desired consumers.

• Compensating reps each time they referred a customer to Glossier.com or each time a
customer they referred purchased from Glossier.com.

• Compensating reps each time they assisted in a sale on Glossier.com.

As she considered her options, White reflected on her experiences with the first group of reps:

Our customers are so passionate about our brand and so hungry for it. How can we
give them a piece of it? Reps care about access to us, they care about credibility within
their community, they care about people knowing that they know about beauty and skin
care. Right now, our reps have connections to the brand, to us as employees. How can we
foster connections between one rep and another, so that they can inspire one another?
Because of our small size, we’ve been able to create truly personal connections between
our reps and our employees and with Emily. But how do you keep this going as we scale?
Can we push that sense of connection back down to the community itself?

Professional Influencer Marketing Program

A second option was to expand the professional influencer program. Glossier had experimented
with influencers during the launch of Cloud Paint. In advance of the Oscars, they hired 10 makeup
artists to use the blush product on their celebrity clients and post about it on social media. Glossier also
used influencers for the launch of its face powder Wowder, collaborating with 14 prominent
YouTubers. Unlike the Cloud Paint campaign, which was clearly labeled as a Glossier “sponsored
look” promotion, the Wowder campaign utilized stealth marketing. The YouTubers were not permitted
to reveal the brand behind Wowder, but rather directed viewers to a landing page where the tie to
Glossier was not revealed but where consumers could leave their email to learn more about the

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product. b The company was contemplating future influencer partnerships. Professional influencers
could be paid according to several different types of metrics:

• Pay per post. A flat fee could be provided each time an influencer posted branded content.
Rates varied widely depending upon popularity; for example, Beyoncé charged $1 million,
Kendall Jenner $300,000, and Karlie Kloss $50,000 per post. 24 Micro influencers were much
less expensive: $83 per post for an influencer with less than 100,000 followers.25

• Pay per click. A fee could be provided each time a customer clicked through to the brand’s
website from an influencer’s content.

• Pay per view. A fee could be provided to compensate the influencer based on the size of their
audience. A CPM (cost per thousand) rate represented the price of reaching 1,000 followers
and could run from $15–50, with higher rates for top-quality influencers.

• Pay per sale. A commission could be provided to influencers when an affiliate link on their
content led to a customer order. Commissions ranged from 15–25% in the beauty industry.

Paid Media Spending

The team had also begun experimenting with paid media, including paid social on Facebook,
Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, paid search, outdoor advertising, and direct mail. The company
was spending around 20% of its revenues on marketing (including brand media, sampling, agency
fees, and more), which was generating a sizeable amount of its brand impressions; currently 30% were
derived from paid media, 20% from peer-to-peer efforts, and 50% from earned media.c Weiss and Davis
were wondering whether or not to increase this percentage by pouring more money into paid media
sources.

The average CPM ranged from a low of $5–$7 for search ads to $40–$50 for print and outdoor.
Consumers generally needed 7–9 branded touchpoints before making a purchase. Glossier’s customer
acquisition cost (CAC) on paid media had been decreasing over time and was currently hovering
around $52.50.d With an average order size of $57,c this was putting pressure on the company to be
more efficient. Making it more difficult, the online media environment was heating up. Fretted Weiss,
“One thing that made companies that came before us successful is that there wasn’t as much
competition in the online space. Advertising came cheap, there was less noise and everyone wasn’t
going after the same demographic. Now, we have a lot more competition.” Davis was apprehensive
about spending too much, stating,

We don’t want to take lots of VC money to put more fuel on the customer acquisition
fire. We want to build a forever brand, not a fast-growing rocket ship with no underlying
substance or value. We want to be around in 35 years. We’re not trading on a growth
multiple, we’re trading on the fact that we’ve captured the imagination of a customer.
That’s our value creation. Anyone can buy customers, not everyone can earn them.

Weiss worried that pouring more money into paid media could lead to diminishing returns.

b You can view one of the Wowder prelaunch YouTube videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t_vzQiR8ec.

c Note that Glossier’s marketing budget as a percentage of revenue and media impression breakdowns have been disguised. As
a private company, Glossier does not release these figures publicly.

d Note that Glossier’s customer acquisition cost and average order size have been disguised. As a private company, Glossier
does not release these figures publicly.

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We could spend double what we’re spending each month, but we wouldn’t get double
the customers. Our efficiency would go down, so maybe we’d get 1.7–1.8 times the
customers. The problem with spending more is that you’re starting to reach an audience
that looks less and less like the audience you already have. The audience we already have
is using our brand because they appreciate not just the product, but what our brand stands
for. They like being part of our community, they like being part of a brand that speaks
their language. The second you go outside of that and try to reach audiences that you
have to pay a little bit more to convince them to come in, you run the risk of not being
able to retain their engagement. They could transact that one time and then not want
anything to do with your brand again. They don’t want to be on your email list; they don’t
want to follow you on social; they don’t want to evangelize or recommend your brand.

However, Emily was pleased to see paid media generating buzz and hypothesized that spending
money on paid media might create earned media. She noted, “Girls take pictures of themselves with
the [outdoor] ads and tag us. Can you imagine that happening with, like, Ford Motors?” 26

Customer Loyalty Program

The team was also contemplating a loyalty program, where customers could earn benefits such as
discounts, free samples, early access to new products, and invitations to special events. Specialty
retailer Sephora, a leader in beauty retailing, successfully used its Beauty Insider rewards program to
enhance its relationships with customers. The program offered birthday gifts, free beauty classes and
makeovers, a private hotline, invitations to events, free products, and free two-day shipping. Explained
Weiss, “Thus far, our retention has been completely organic. We have an email program, but no loyalty
program, and we haven’t spent anything to try to retain customers. We know we need to build
something, but what? We want it to be ROI positive, so we want to get it right so that we actually get
incremental behavior beyond what people are already exhibiting.”

Moving from Digital to Physical
The team was contemplating its next moves regarding distribution. Now that funding had arrived,

they were ready to make significant investments. From its digital roots, the company had recently
moved to experiment with physical retail. They were also considering technological and community
investments. All would require significant capital investment, so tough choices would have to be made.

Retail Showrooms and Pop-Ups

The company’s first physical retail space, a small showroom (see Exhibit 10), opened in 2016 on the
sixth floor of the company’s offices in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. With no street level
presence and the need to ascend via elevator to the sixth floor, the space was less than ideal for
attracting foot traffic. White recalled its opening: “We had a lot of conversation about opening a retail
storefront. But, we didn’t know how to operate a retail establishment. I pushed very strongly to not do
that. I felt like we were biting off more than we could chew and suggested that we do a test
environment, which is what the showroom became.” She continued:

It was all about building an amazing experience where you would have the
opportunity to interact with showroom editors and other members of the Glossier
community. So, we built it so that we could facilitate conversation, not just with the people
who work there, but other people who are shopping. We wanted to build content

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519-022 Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community

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opportunities, so that content could be shared online with people who weren’t able to go
in person. It was all about bringing Glossier to life. It is like Willy Wonka meets Glossier.

The space was configured to showcase the brand as much as its products. Emily explained,

It provides an opportunity for us to meet our customers and for our customers to try
our products, to chat with our showroom editors, and to give us feedback and inspiration.
Our goal is to create spaces as Instagrammable as they are functional. Glossier showrooms
are more gallery-inspired than inspired by traditional beauty retail. They are places to try
new, unique ways for customers to test our products, with clear calls-to-action and
irresistible opportunities to create user-generated content. We aim to show not tell. Our
voice appears in architectural details to inspire content sharing and smiles. Through
lighting, we set customers up for optimal selfies. Our offline retail is highly experiential.

The tiny space performed well, generating sales per square foot higher than a typical Apple Store
and a 65% sales conversion rate. Those whose first Glossier purchase occurred in the showroom had
higher repeat rates than online-first shoppers. However, to Emily, that was beside the point; she saw
the showroom as a gathering space for her community to visit with the brand and with each other. She
reflected, “While the sales are through the roof and defy all odds, what’s more interesting are the girls
who come once a week because they want to feel the energy in the room, and I can’t say that about
large beauty retailers.”27 She mused, “I think a lot about the Apple Store. About creating hubs where
you can touch and experience a product, yes, but you can also connect with like-minded people.” 28 She
continued:

We would rather people come and stay than people come buy something and leave. If
Glossier can bring together like-minded women and give them space to—yes buy
product—but also learn and interact and contribute, I think that’s success for us.29 I
consider it as a brand marketing channel, not as a sales channel. You’re never going to be
able to get as many people in the door in a physical location as you are via a digital
experience. I see it as allowing consumers to make a pilgrimage. It’s a way of deepening
engagement.

As the team contemplated opening showrooms in other cities, Weiss pushed back, citing the high
costs of establishing a physical footprint.

I don’t think the showroom concept is sustainable, if we want to bring in new people
and have it be a new touchpoint as well as a reengagement touchpoint. The people who
come to our showroom now, they’ve already figured out the brand. How do we translate
that sentiment and feeling of creating community from our digital experience into a retail
experience? And then how do you take that access and bring it back to digital? It’s much
more scalable digitally than it is to have stores in 50 cities.

White agreed, “The idea was to build touchpoints, build credibility, and then move these people
online. The end goal is always to build a digital, not a physical community.” However, those who first
purchased in the showroom showed a proclivity to continue to prefer to shop there; only 30% of
showroom shoppers moved to e-commerce for their subsequent purchases.

Glossier also experimented with pop-up retail, its most recent for the launch of its fragrance. A
storefront in SoHo was leased for a few weeks. On the scene, New York Magazine described it as,
“upholstered in undulating waves of red, with a pink curtained ceiling, pink tinted mirrors, and—in a
slightly S&M touch—a leather-strap-bound pink pouf. Beautiful young women wearing red pantsuits

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Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community 519-022

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make deep eye contact and speak in whispery voices. ‘Welcome,’ says one as she lifts a bell jar, wafting
the odor about. ‘Do you like it? All that’s missing is . . . you.’ A hand in a red patent-leather glove
holding a jar of perfume emerges from a mirrored closet, spritzes, waves, retreats.”30

Emily explained, “I was really inspired by theater, performance art, and magic shows when
concepting the space. Everything about the experience is unique, from the way the customers
physically interact with the fragrance to how the editors talk to the customers. We’re excited to be
bringing Glossier You to life offline in a totally weird and unexpectedly luxurious way.”31 As the team
debated executing more pop-ups, Weiss considered, “It was not focused on bringing you in and
converting you, getting you to try the product. It was focused on an art-like interactive experience that
brought so much dimension to our brand, but was limited to a very small audience. So, we’re trying to
find the balance: do you do these types of experiences to try to make your brand stand out or do you
do more traditional retail to drive conversion? That’s the capital allocation decision.”

Other Options

The team was also contemplating encouraging consumers to hold themed product parties in their
homes, an old-style Tupperware party for the digital age. White explained, “They would throw a party
for the Oscars and demonstrate our products at it. We probably wouldn’t let them sell them because
we don’t want them to be like salespeople checking you out on their phones. Once you try the product
at the party, you would go onto Glossier.com to shop that way.”

Lastly, retailers such as Sephora were inquiring whether Glossier would make its products available
via a wholesale model. Sephora, with over 400 retail stores worldwide and a robust e-commerce
business fueled by an assortment of over 300 brands, was a leading specialty beauty retailer, a channel
that accounted for 22% of the sales of color cosmetics in the U.S. in 2017. By comparison, internet
retailing accounted for 13% and department stores 17%, with most of the remainder occurring in mass
merchandisers (12%), drugstores (18%), and grocery (7%).32 Said White, “Sephora would love to have
Glossier in their stores. We would 10-fold our revenue, like overnight, but we’d have to give away
massive amounts of margin, potentially as much as 40–50%.”

She admitted, “It’s harder to reach customers on our own, rather than to just go to where they’re
already shopping. It would be easier to make the sale. The people that we sell to went through a ton of
effort to find us and buy from us. That’s a lot to ask of a busy consumer who has so many other choices.”
As she considered the wholesaling option, Emily mused, “All of the other direct-to-consumer brands
who only sell via e-commerce tend to cap out in terms of customer acquisition at a certain point. So,
they do a partnership with Target. At some point, you realize that you can’t be a contained ecosystem
any longer. You need to reach tentacles out. But I don’t necessarily believe that has to be true. The glass
ceiling for DTC brands just represents the diminishing marginal returns of acquiring customers online.
But, we think that’s a paradigm of e-commerce that doesn’t need to exist. How can we break past this
inflection point without leaving our own ecosystem?”

A New Kind of Social Commerce?
Emily dreamed of making Glossier fully “vertically integrated,” using the term to denote not a self-

contained supply-side value chain, but rather a self-contained demand-side value chain that reunited
the processes of discovery, purchase, and fulfillment. She envisioned creating relationships among
people through Into The Gloss, learning about their needs, translating those desires into products, and
creating an end-to-end discovery-to-purchase-to-fulfillment-to-consumption-to-sharing process that
enchanted and inspired consumers to connect closely with the brand and each other. She explained,

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519-022 Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community

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E-commerce has killed shopping. It’s made buying incredibly easy. It’s made
fulfillment an afterthought. But, it’s stifled discovery, which is half of a great shopping
experience. So now, consumers have a bifurcated shopping experience. Fulfillment is
owned by e-commerce, Amazon, Sephora, etc. And discovery has become the central
theme of social media; that’s where you actually discover stuff. How can we bring that
back together, because there’s something really magical about shopping and I think it’s
kind of dying. What we have to do is to build an incredible digital experience so that
maybe you don’t need a physical brand interaction. We want to create a digital party—
the equivalent of a party that has a line down the block to get in and people are talking
about it as a great party, not one that you have to pay celebrities to go to. Right now, an
e-commerce website is really just a party that you have to pay people to go to. We want
to build a shopping experience that is so great that people just naturally flock to it.

Echoed Davis,

Social commerce is a bit of a buzzword and I don’t think that’s what we’re thinking
about. But rather, how do you help people discover products in the way that they
naturally want to—by talking to others? But, e-commerce sites today are about driving to
purchase—everything is designed to eliminate any friction that reduces conversion. So,
how do you balance shopping with social? We think the answer is “You don’t.” The
shopping should be irrelevant. It’s something that falls out of the bottom, it’s not
something we should focus on or design for. If you accept the premise that it’s not about
selling stuff, then all of a sudden, all bets are off the table. 99.99% of e-commerce sites
fundamentally look the same, flow the same way. Ours doesn’t have to.

We question why no one is using the channel as the value proposition in and of itself.
By engaging people at scale online, what can you offer them that offline retailers can’t and
traditional e-commerce platforms can’t? This isn’t about getting you stuff cheaper or more
conveniently. This is about the experience. How do we offer you an experience that is
different, that makes you feel special, and makes you feel a part of something? How do
we create a different kind of loyalty? By bringing people together online, you can create
experiences that haven’t previously existed before. We’re the antidote to Amazon. The
more convenient and quick Amazon is, the more special and unique the online experience
we offer is going to have to be. Our competitive foil isn’t Clinique or MAC. It’s Amazon.
They’re the commoditization of brands and products. We’re the exact opposite.

Mahoney was on-board and pushing for digital rather than physical retailing investments. He
noted, “People think of Glossier as a beauty company, but we’re also a technology company. We have
almost 50 people in the tech department, so a third of the company is in technology. We built our entire
platform ourselves, unlike many other DTC companies who just use an off-the-shelf software. That
enables us to do things with our platform that others can’t do—to grow beyond the platform. That’s
the piece that’s going to let us do what hasn’t necessarily been done before.” He continued,

Emily has this vision for a new way of connecting customers; she’s reimagining the
channel. She wants us to build a new shopping paradigm to fundamentally change the
way people shop online. How can we connect you to someone who has similar interests,
to help you or just share your shopping experience? How can we allow you to harness
our community to enrich your shopping experience? We want you to come to
Glossier.com, go through product discovery, check out, and be completely surprised by
what happened along the way. You didn’t expect to interact with people in the way that
you did, but not only do you feel good about your purchase, you feel good about having

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Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community 519-022

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contributed to the conversation, to the community, and you’re eager to share with others
what just happened and just as eager to go back yourself, even if you just return to enrich
someone else’s buying experience.

Emily has a belief that you can combine an online community with an e-commerce
platform. She believes that people will want to hang out on Glossier.com just like they do
on Into The Gloss—that it won’t just be about shopping. No one else is creating a space like
this—where you’ll interact with a community one day and then the next day you’ll go
back and shop. The one thing we’ve always done well since our first days is that we create
wonderful content. We are great editors. That’s our competitive advantage. A lot of e-
commerce companies built their commerce platform first and then figured out that they
needed content to drive consumers to it. We came to commerce the other way around. We
were content editors first before we went into commerce. That matters.

Capital Allocation Decisions
As the team prepared their marketing strategy recommendations to discuss with Emily, they

laughed that sometimes things seemed easier when money was scarce, because then there were fewer
strategic options on the table. How should Glossier spend the $52 million it had just raised? The money
could be used to develop a more sophisticated R&D organization that was less reliant on consumer
input. Or, it could be used to launch a sales representative program or a professional influencer
marketing program. And, investors certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see the company invest it in
paid media. It could go a long way toward opening new showrooms, hosting more pop-ups,
encouraging at-home peer-to-peer selling, or moving into Sephora. Or, it could fund a reimagination
of social e-commerce. But, it couldn’t do it all and the team needed to focus on strategies to best achieve
Glossier’s short- and long-term goals. Emily’s recent musing inspired them as they debated the options:

I’ve spent my life relying on light bulb moments and just jumping in full force. That’s
fine when you’re making something on your own, but not fine when you’re 150-plus
people and there are a ton of stakeholders, as well as knock-on effects of pretty much
every initiative we take on . . . I’m learning to assess before deciding, and just be a bit more
thoughtful about goals and consequences when it comes to making decisions. As a
startup, we are moving at lightning speed and there are a lot of interesting options for
us—lots of great opportunities . . . and right now, it’s so important to have focus. 33

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Exhibit 1 Into The Gloss “Top Shelf” Features

Source: Company documents.

Exhibit 2 Example of Consumer-Generated “Top Shelfies”

Source: Company documents.

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Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community 519-022

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Exhibit 3 Excerpts from Emily Weiss’s Into The Gloss Blog Post Announcing Glossier’s Launch

There’s so much pressure to edit oneself to a T, to flesh out who you are and then attempt to capture
exactly who that is on an iPhone camera, in 140 characters, or in a series of emoji’s and clever hashtags.
The problem with this depiction of your ‘real life’ is, of course, that it’s not very real at all. It’s how you
want to appear to the world. It’s nearly impossible to show what’s real because your actual identity is
a moving target. Or, at least, I think it should be.

Freedom and confidence are two different things, in my book. Confidence is overrated—it can be faked,
whereas freedom is fearlessness. Freedom is being more or less okay with wherever you’re at, at any
given point in your life or your day or your hour, be it really sucky or really great or somewhere in
between (and there are a lot of in-betweens.) The single guiding principle that I try to follow, assuming
blindly that the rest will fall into place, is to operate squarely in the present. I think it’s one of the most
difficult things for anyone to do. Glossier is a celebration of that freedom.

People say that truth sets you free. I think that having fun sets you free. Laughing at your own jokes,
getting nostalgic over something you liked in high school, and generally channeling your inner nerd is
fun. Geeking out over a beauty product is fun. What I don’t think is fun is editing yourself, aspiring to
finally arrive at some idea or picture of perfect, untouchable ‘glamour?’ ‘defining your style’ or racking
your brain trying to decide the ‘right time’ to do something. For the most part, there will never be a
right time. Just go for it.

Glossier 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’s about being nice to people and knowing that a
smile begets a smile. Snobby isn’t cool, happy is cool.

Our credo is to follow our gut and rethink products, creating exactly the items that we want to see.
Who are we? We are you, listening to everyone, absorbing all of this information over the years, and
trying to get at the core of what beauty is—and needs—in 2014. Glossier begins with YOU, which is
why our first products are all about letting your personality shine through . . . glowy, dewy skin.

We’re laying the foundation for a beauty movement: one that celebrates real girls, in real life. . . . It is
the beginning, I hope, of a new way of looking at beauty.

Source: Company documents.

For the exclusive use of J. Li, 2022.

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Exhibit 4 Eight Companies Dominate the Global Beauty Market

Source: “8 Companies that Own the Beauty Aisle,” CB Insights, https://www.cbinsights.com/research/top-beauty-
brands/, accessed 07/31/2018.

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Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community 519-022

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Exhibit 5 Glossier’s Product Line

Product Description Price Point

Skin Care:
Milky Jelly Cleanser Conditioning face wash $18
Priming Moisturizer Buildable hydrating crème $22
Balm Dotcom Universal skin salve $12
Solution Exfoliating skin perfector $24
Soothing Face Mist Rosewater spray $15
Priming Moisturizer Rich Luxurious face cream $35
Invisible Shield Daily sunscreen + $25
Mega Greens Galaxy Pack Detoxifying mask $22
Moisturizing Moon Mask Soothing treatment $22
Super Pure Niacinamide serum $28
Super Bounce Hyaluronic acid serum $28
Super Glow Vitamin C serum $28

Makeup:
Lash Slick Film form mascara $16
Lidstar Glistening eye glow $18
Cloud Paint Seamless cheek color $18
Boy Brow Grooming pomade $16
Generation G Sheer matte lipstick $18
Stretch Concealer Flexible coverage $18
Perfecting Skin Tint Sheer skin enhancer $26
Haloscope Dew effect highlighter $22
Lip Gloss Crystal clear shine $14
Wowder Finishing powder $22

Body:
Body Hero Daily Oil Wash Oil-froth body wash $18
Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream Glowy, dewy hydration $22

Fragrance:
Glossier You Perfume Solid Fragrance compact $22
Glossier You Eau de parfum $60

Source: Casewriter, compiled from information in company documents.

Note: Glossier also sold kits that contained multiple types of products. For example, the Glossier Phase 1 Set contained three
daily skin essentials—Milky Jelly Cleanser, Priming Moisturizer, and Balm Dotcom—for $40.

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519-022 Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community

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Exhibit 8 Glossier’s Packaging

Source: Company documents.

For the exclusive use of J. Li, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Jia ye Li in MIS 441 – Global E-Commerce-1 taught by Richard Johnson, Washington State University from Jan 2022 to Jun 2022.

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Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community 519-022

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Endnotes

1 Wischhover, Cheryl (2017) “Glossier Is Going After New Customers With an Army of Reps,” Racked, July 7, 2017,
https://www.racked.com/2017/7/12/15949530/glossier-international-shipping-canada-uk, accessed 08/01/2018.

2 Tiku, Nitasha (2016) “Inside Glossier, The Beauty Startup That Just Happens to Sell Makeup,” BuzzFeed,
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nitashatiku/inside-glossier-the-beauty-startup-that-just-happens-to-sell, accessed
12/1/2017.

3 Giacobbe, Alyssa (2017) “How Glossier Hacked Social Media to Build a Cult-Like Following,” Entrepreneur, August 15, 2017,
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/298014, accessed 12/1/2017.

4 Sunnucks, Jack (2016) “Woman Made: Emily Weiss,” Violet Grey, https://www.violetgrey.com/violet-files/cover-
story/emily-weiss, accessed 12/01/2017.

5 Sherman, Lauren (2015) “Emily Weiss: Blogger to Social Brand Builder,” Business of Fashion, September 4, 2015,
https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/glossier-into-the-gloss-beauty-brand-emily-weiss, accessed
12/01/2017.

6 Bazilian, Emma (2016) “These Direct-to-Consumer Brands are Disrupting the Beauty Industry,” Adweek, February 8, 2016,
http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/these-direct-consumer-brands-are-disrupting-beauty-industry-169435/#/,
accessed 12/01/2017.

7 Shatzman, Celia (2016) “Emily Weiss on Glossier’s New Makeup, Why She Launched Into The Gloss & Desert Island Beauty
Staples,” Forbes, March 14, 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/celiashatzman/2016/03/14/emily-weiss-on-glossiers-new-
makeup-why-she-launched-into-the-gloss-desert-island-beauty-staples/#758fe8534b69, accessed 08/13/2018.

8 Larocca, Amy (2018) “The Magic Skin of Glossier’s Emily Weiss,” New York Magazine, January 8-12, 2018, p. 87.

9 Editorial Team (2018) “Glossier Raises $52 Million,” Happi, February 22, 2018,
https://www.happi.com/contents/view_breaking-news/2018-02-22/glossier-raises-raises-52-million, accessed 01/01/2019.

10 Westervelt, Amy (2019) “Small Cosmetics Brands Make Over the Beauty Market by Targeting Millennials,” The Wall Street
Journal, April 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/small-cosmetics-brands-make-over-the-beauty-market-by-targeting-
millennials-11556296365, accessed 04/26/2019.

11 Liaw, Eric, Roseanne Wincek, and Louise Ireland (2016) “IVP Just Got Glossier,” IVP.com, November 30, 2016,
https://www.ivp.com/news/blog/ivp-just-became-glossier/, accessed 12/01/2017.

12 Euromonitor International (2019) “Where consumers shop for beauty and personal care,” Euromonitor International,
January 18, 2019.

13 Bazilian, Emma (2016) “Beauty’s new wave,” Adweek, February 8, 2016, http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/these-
direct-consumer-brands-are-disrupting-beauty-industry-169435/#/, accessed 07/19/2018.

14 Schiller, Geoff (2018) “Beauty is in the eye of the Instagram beholder,” Adweek, March 5, 2018,
https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/can-traditional-beauty-companies-compete-with-disruptors-dominating-
instagram/, accessed 07/19/2018.

15 Larocca (2018) “The Magic Skin of Glossier’s Emily Weiss,” p. 34.

16 Larocca (2018) “The Magic Skin of Glossier’s Emily Weiss,” p. 34.

17 Sunnucks (2016) “Woman Made: Emily Weiss.”

18 Tiku (2016) “Inside Glossier, The Beauty Startup That Just Happens to Sell Makeup.”

19 Fast Company Staff (2017) “These Five Fashionable Brands Have Mastered Content that Sells,” Fast Company, March 2017
Issue, https://www.fastcompany.com/3067477/these-five-fashionable-brands-have-mastered-content-that-sells, accessed
08/13/2018.

20 Tiku (2016) “Inside Glossier, The Beauty Startup That Just Happens to Sell Makeup.”

21 Tiku (2016) “Inside Glossier, The Beauty Startup That Just Happens to Sell Makeup.”

For the exclusive use of J. Li, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Jia ye Li in MIS 441 – Global E-Commerce-1 taught by Richard Johnson, Washington State University from Jan 2022 to Jun 2022.

519-022 Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community

26

22 Tiku (2016) “Inside Glossier, The Beauty Startup That Just Happens to Sell Makeup.”

23 Larocca (2018) “The Magic Skin of Glossier’s Emily Weiss,” p. 34.

24 “The Top Highest Paid Celebrities on Instagram,” Mediakix, April 12, 2017, https://mediakix.com/blog/highest-paid-
celebrities-endorsement-rates-on-instagram/, accessed 01/01/2019.

25 Henderson, Gary (2017) “How Much Does Influencer Marketing Cost?” DigitalMarketing.org, December 11, 2017, accessed
01/01/2019.

26 Giacobbe (2017) “How Glossier Hacked Social Media to Build A Cult-Like Following.”

27 Griffin, Erin (2017) “The Next Generation of Retailers is Using Physical Stores for Branding, Not Selling,” Campfire Capital,
May 17, 2017, http://campfire-capital.com/retail-innovation/sales-channel-innovation/next-generation-retailers-using-
physical-stores/, accessed 12/02/2017.

28 Oppermann, Cait (2016) “The Beauty Upstart with a Radical New Way of Talking to You,” Wired, September 28, 2016,
https://www.wired.com/2016/09/emily-weiss-glossier/, accessed 12/01/2017.

29 Puhala, Kate (2016) “Why Glossier Might Totally Change the Way You Shop for Beauty,” Brit + Co, March 12, 2016,
https://www.brit.co/glossier-stores-emily-weiss-sxsw/, accessed 12/01/2017.

30 Larocca (2018) “The Magic Skin of Glossier’s Emily Weiss,” p. 34.

31 Keller, Hadley (2017) “Glossier Unveils a Fabulous New Brick-and-Mortar Space,” Architectural Digest, November 3, 2017,
https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/glossier-unveils-a-fabulous-brick-and-mortar-space, accessed 12/01/2017.

32 Euromonitor International.

33 Sherman (2015) “Emily Weiss: Blogger to Social Brand Builder.”

For the exclusive use of J. Li, 2022.

This document is authorized for use only by Jia ye Li in MIS 441 – Global E-Commerce-1 taught by Richard Johnson, Washington State University from Jan 2022 to Jun 2022.

  • Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community
    • Creating a Trusted Voice and Building a Community
    • Taking on Big Beauty
    • Community Inspired R&D
    • Building a Social Brand
    • The Cult of Glossier
    • Moving from Owned and Earned Media to Paid Media
      • A Peer-to-Peer Sales Representative Program
      • Professional Influencer Marketing Program
      • Paid Media Spending
      • Customer Loyalty Program
    • Moving from Digital to Physical
      • Retail Showrooms and Pop-Ups
      • Other Options
    • A New Kind of Social Commerce?
    • Capital Allocation Decisions
    • Exhibit 1Into The Gloss “Top Shelf” Features
    • Exhibit 2Example of Consumer-Generated “Top Shelfies”
    • Exhibit 3Excerpts from Emily Weiss’s Into The Gloss Blog Post Announcing Glossier’s Launch
    • Exhibit 4Eight Companies Dominate the Global Beauty Market
    • Exhibit 5Glossier’s Product Line
    • Exhibit 6The Original Glossier Brand Inspiration Mood Board
    • Exhibit 7Behind the Glossier Mission and Core Values
    • Exhibit 8Glossier’s Packaging
    • Exhibit 9Customers’ Instagram Posts Tagged with #Glossier
    • Exhibit 10The Glossier Showroom
    • Endnotes

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/ENU (Use these settings to create Adobe PDF documents best suited for high-quality prepress printing. Created PDF documents can be opened with Acrobat and Adobe Reader 5.0 and later.)
>>
/Namespace [
(Adobe)
(Common)
(1.0)
]
/OtherNamespaces [
<<
/AsReaderSpreads false
/CropImagesToFrames true
/ErrorControl /WarnAndContinue
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/IncludeSlug false
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(InDesign)
(4.0)
]
/OmitPlacedBitmaps false
/OmitPlacedEPS false
/OmitPlacedPDF false
/SimulateOverprint /Legacy
>>
<<
/AddBleedMarks false
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/AddCropMarks false
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/AddRegMarks false
/ConvertColors /ConvertToCMYK
/DestinationProfileName ()
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/Downsample16BitImages true
/FlattenerPreset <<
/PresetSelector /MediumResolution
>>
/FormElements false
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/MultimediaHandling /UseObjectSettings
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/PDFXOutputIntentProfileSelector /DocumentCMYK
/PreserveEditing true
/UntaggedCMYKHandling /LeaveUntagged
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/UseDocumentBleed false
>>
]
>> setdistillerparams
<<
/HWResolution [2400 2400]
/PageSize [612.000 792.000]
>> setpagedevice

error: Content is protected !!