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She started out as the super Teen Vogue intern-slash-nemesis to Lauren Conrad on The Hills, and since that seminal time Emily Weiss, 29, has proven she’s really a smart cookie, especially when it comes to digital media. The founder of Into the Gloss — an editorial beauty website she launched in 2010 that now boasts 188,000 Instagram followers — has used the power of social media to introduce web-savvy females to Glossier, her new direct-to-consumer skin-care brand.
On the day of the line’s debut, Weiss even helped deliver the first NYC customers’ product via UberRUSH to locales including Tory Burch‘s Manhattan headquarters. “I thought it would be a great idea,” she says of harnessing another digital platform. “So many of our Into the Gloss customers are in NYC and orders take several days so we figured let’s treat them. We got a lot of Tweets and comments on Instagram — pictures tagged #glossier from people who ordered at 9:35 a.m. and got it by 10:15 a.m. That’s incredible, you know? It speaks to the immediacy of Glossier; it’s about being present and quick.”
Glossier boasted 18K Instagram followers even before it officially launched, a sign of just how critical social media is to Weiss’ marketing plan for her new collection of goods, which officially launched Oct. 6 with four products: a dewy face mist ($18), $12 balm (named appropriately enough Balm Dotcom), priming moisturizer ($25) and skin tint ($26). The line also comes with “e-commerce visionary” lead investor Kirsten Green of Forerunner Ventures, who has worked with companies including Warby Parker, Birchbox and Bonobos, and helped Glossier raise a $2 million seed round of funding last year.
Part of Into the Gloss’ success hinges on the fact that it speaks to children of the ’90s and early oughts by featuring the people, places and things that were “trending” when ITG‘s now of-buying-age readership was still on the playground — think of Instagrams featuring Daria characters and film stills from Drew Barrymore’s Never Been Kissed, along with in-depth looks into the beauty bags of beloved childhood style icons (Linda Evangelista, for starters) along with beauty gospel from modern mentors, too (Rita Ora). Touching on the playfulness the site exudes along with its slickness, Weiss packaged her new line with stickers for a touch of adolescent nostalgia.
“The stickers came about because I love beautiful packaging but I also love a little whimsy and fun,” says Weiss. “I wanted to merge those two things so people could customize and personalize their own products.”
Plus, the stickers are super Instagrammable, like the influencers ITG made sure got the goods immediately. Bloggers including 4th and Bleeker and Fashion Toast and personalities such as Leigh Lezark of the Misshapes, model Emily Ratajkowski and Sailor Brinkley Cook (daughter of Christie) have already showed their affection via Instagram posts. Karlie Kloss posted a selfie wearing a Glossier sweatshirt weeks ago.
Nail-art star Madeline Poole snapped a G-themed manicure, while one fan showed off the jeans waistband on which she hand-embroidered Glossier’s emoji alphabet. She’s since been asked to personalize items for customers at Glossier’s NYC pop-up shop, now open through Nov. 2.
Glossier — currently operating under the same umbrella company as Into the Gloss, which counts “about 17” staffers, according to Weiss — gained its initial following by posting inspiration shots and photos that gave a peek into the process in the three weeks leading up to launch. There were also images of Glossier’s four models, whom Weiss cast off Instagram; there was some late-night Insta-stalking involved, she says. The girls represent many different ethnic backgrounds and the kind of exuberant spirit she wanted.
“A picture says so much for me,”says Weiss. “[This] is different from a brand where you only show the picture-perfect polished [final image]. Glossier is much more of an iterative brand — a start-up. We’re a technology company and I was interested in showing the buildup process, from us moving into an office and packing boxes to send to editors to the iterations of packaging design.”
Indeed, they’re taking product feedback and comments very seriously. Weiss says they’re fast-tracking their international capabilities based on the overwhelming demand they’re hearing for it. “It was really important to me to lift the veil and be really transparent about what all went into this rather than having a nice, shiny finished product,” she says. “Even now, it’s not a finished product — it’s hopefully constantly evolving.”
Glossier pop-up shop, 123 Lafayette St., New York, NY. Noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Sunday through Oct. 20, then Tuesday through Sunday until Nov. 2.
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