Glossier’s Comeback Plan | BoF
New yr, new Glossier.
On Friday, the wonder trade darling will open a New York Metropolis flagship in SoHo, marking the model’s return to Manhattan after closing its downtown retailer early within the pandemic. The three,200-square foot area, long-established with subway tile mosaics, is three blocks from its prior location, which was notorious for its round-the-block, rain-or-shine traces of shoppers wanting to get a peek on the newest Balm Dotcalm lip salve.
The traces will virtually actually be again. However the New York retailer will arguably be overshadowed by Glossier’s subsequent massive transfer: beginning on Feb. 23, the model’s merchandise will go on sale at each Sephora within the US and Canada.
After eight years of tightly controlling its narrative and distribution, Glossier is for the primary time handing the reins to a different retailer. The strikes mark an inflection level within the model’s comeback, following a collection of modifications Glossier set in movement in 2022 amid flagging gross sales and a way that its go-it-alone mannequin was out of step with the present magnificence market.
In January 2022, Glossier laid off about one-third of its workforce. In Could, founder Emily Weiss stepped down as CEO, transitioning into an govt chairwoman function, changed by Kyle Leahy, a seasoned govt from Cole Haan and Nike. The Sephora partnership was introduced in July. Final yr, Glossier laid off a lot of its in-house tech crew, signing on with Shopify to run its e-commerce website, which constructed and operated the corporate’s in-house know-how and e-commerce platforms.
In some ways Glossier goes again to fundamentals: launching extra merchandise at a faster than ever cadence, opening a wave of flagship shops in metro hubs and, in fact, coming into Sephora. In different phrases, Glossier’s new plan is to lastly begin appearing like different magnificence manufacturers. And it has excessive hopes; based on a supply with data of the enterprise, Glossier is anticipated to hit $275 million in retail gross sales this yr.
“DTC is a channel; it’s not our worth proposition,” Kyle Leahy, Glossier’s chief govt officer, advised The Enterprise of Magnificence. “Being digitally-native is part of that story, however on the coronary heart of it, we’re a community-based magnificence model.”
Extra Merchandise, Extra Typically
An outgrowth of Weiss’ web site, “Into the Gloss,” Glossier was equal elements aspirational and no fuss. The merchandise had been fairly however uncomplicated and could possibly be purchased from the consolation of 1’s residence, a novel concept in 2014. “You Look Good” wasn’t Glossier’s model slogan, it was a way of life.
Glossier took a curated method to magnificence, with necessities like its Boy Forehead eyebrow pomade and Milky Jelly Cleanser. Whereas prospects liked the model’s no-makeup make-up look, they craved newness. Glossier’s self-made limitations hardly ever went past its core lineup and shade extensions.
Creating new merchandise is now the precedence. Leahy shared that Glossier will likely be unveiling new objects each 4, six or eight weeks throughout its core classes of make-up, skincare, perfume and physique.
The model’s deodorant that launched in January is seeing early success. A brand new scent dubbed Sandstone, offered out in 48 hours, and general gross sales exceeded preliminary expectations by 400 p.c, based on Kleo Mack, senior vp of worldwide advertising at Glossier.
She added that Glossier will proceed to launch limited-edition merchandise and generally convey this stuff again completely. That is what occurred with Wild Fig, a flavour of the model’s Balm Dotcom lip balm from three years in the past that simply grew to become a part of the road’s up to date lineup. In January, Balm Dotcom was reformulated to be vegan and petrolatum-free.
Regardless of the elevated launch cadence, the model will skip the TikTok development cycle and, as a substitute, supply merchandise that proceed to talk to Glossier’s “polished, naturalist” aesthetic, stated Leahy. There will likely be a brand new concentrate on constructing franchises round hero merchandise, just like the model’s You fragrance and Cloud Paint blush.
Discovering the Buyer
Glossier’s preliminary pitch to prospects was that it was constructing a direct, one-to-one relationship with each shopper. However by 2020, that DTC mannequin was displaying indicators of wear and tear. Past rising buyer acquisition prices and iOS updates, magnificence shoppers merely needed to buy the model as simply in shops because it might on-line.
After constructing a repute quickly after its 2014 founding because the model that would do no mistaken, Glossier grew to become a sufferer of its success. It initially stood out due to its branding, messaging and experiential retail, however struggled to develop with a restricted product vary and an absence of retail companions.
Glossier aspired to scale by opening extra of its personal shops. But it surely wanted cash to focus on prospects on-line with more and more costly adverts on social media. A reliance on lavish experiences and retail ideas to draw prospects offline additionally took up funds.
In 2021, Glossier raised $83 million in a deal that valued the corporate at $1.8 billion, placing its complete funding at $266 million. The corporate’s 2019 gross sales had been stated to be round $160 million. Glossier is anticipated to hit near $275 million in gross sales this yr, based on a person with data of the corporate’s enterprise.
Glossier had constructed a thriving neighborhood by way of person generated content material on Instagram, discussions on Slack and thru sought-after merchandise. But it surely struggled to convey that enthusiasm into the actual world. All people needed to be part of Glossier’s world, however with solely a handful of owned shops, most customers couldn’t expertise the model in actual life.
“The thought of buying make-up and skincare merchandise on-line was extremely novel,” stated Nabil Mallick, common companion at Thrive Capital, which participated in Glossier’s seed spherical and Collection A. “The thought of not with the ability to strive one thing on on the retailer was a loopy, loopy idea.”
Glossier’s personal shops preserve the picture that the model was identified for from its early days. On the new Soho flagship, there’s a product testing space, moist bar, lounge and merch room with unique black Glossier hoodies. Areas in Boston and Chicago are as a consequence of open this spring, for a complete of 11 shops.
“There isn’t a place that we are able to convey the model to life IRL higher than in our shops,” stated Leahy, noting that when Glossier’s Williamsburg retailer opened in November 2022, 600 folks had been in line by mid-day.
A DTC Model no Extra
On Feb. 23, Glossier will go from being stocked in zero third-party shops to about 600.
It’s headed to Sephora within the splashiest approach it may well: within the retailer’s home windows and entrance tables by way of its hero merchandise like Cloud Paint, with much more merchandise merchandised throughout six-foot gondolas with “You Look Good” selfie mirrors. Free samples of Milky Jelly Cleanser and After Baume can be found to any shopper who asks.
The partnership will likely be a primary of kinds for each events: it’s Glossier’s first retail companion and it’s uncommon for Sephora to take a position this closely in a longtime model. Usually, Sephora launches new or smaller, indie magnificence traces.
“Within the case of Glossier, folks actually know who they’re. The transfer to Sephora is just not one among a stale model that’s now going at low cost. It’s a matter of accessing extra prospects,” stated Jonah Ellin, chief product officer at retail analytics agency 1010data.
Carolyn Bojanowski, govt vp of US merchandising at Sephora, stated lengthy earlier than the partnership was introduced, Glossier was one of many prime searched manufacturers on the retailer’s web site. Virtually a decade’s price of Glossier’s buyer knowledge will inform how the retailer sells the model’s merchandise.
“Figuring out the information behind our purchasers who shopped on each channels … the happiest, probably the most loyal [shopper], she doesn’t care the place she will get it,” Bojanowski stated.
Going Again to the Group
Now that Glossier is one more magnificence model on a Sephora shelf, it has to work tougher at protecting — and connecting with new — shoppers.
On-line, Glossier will likely be relaunching its Era Glossier Affiliate Program within the coming weeks with 700 creators. It is usually re-engaging with Glossier Labs, the product growth suggestions loop with customers that started on Slack on the outset of the model’s founding. To that finish, its partnership with celeb Olivia Rodrigo that kicked off in April 2022 in a bid to lure Gen-Z ended late final yr.
“[The brand] nonetheless resonates and remains to be very related,” Manola Soler, senior director of shopper and retail at Alvarez & Marsal. “Glossier began with a neighborhood in a really literal sense and to today there’s nonetheless a neighborhood or a tribe … that determine strongly with it.”
That deep reference to customers was a big driver of Glossier’s early success, and Leahy is aware of it’s one thing that the model has to amplify.
“It’s about how we … concentrate on what makes us uniquely Glossier, however then evolve. It’s not the place we had been in 2014,” she stated.
With contributions from Rachel Strugatz