How I Built This: Glossier: Emily Weiss

  • Emily started a fashion and beauty blog in 2010: Hundreds of thousands of readers became obsessed with hearing about other women’s skincare routines. As the blog grew Emily started to wonder: Could I create a cosmetics brand for my readers.

  • People often ask what amount of your success is attributed to luck: I believe in grit. Angela Duckworth’s book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is very good.

  • What was Emily doing before Glossier? I worked at Vogue before building Glossier. I wanted to be an editor-in-chief like Anna Wintour. That was incredibly inspiring to me. Your personality is influenced by the 3 to 5 people you spend the most time with. If you work with great, smart, and talented people then you learn a lot.

  • Beauty is the ugly step sister to fashion in media: It doesn’t make sense. Because all of the ad revenue [or a lot of it] comes from beauty. But if you are reading a fashion magazine there would only be a few pages about beauty. Such little air time dedicated to this topic that in many ways you are forced to deal with on a more fundamental level every day. [This observation could be applied to other industries to find new businesses to start]

  • How much did you invest to start Into The Gloss? [The precursor to Glossier]Less than $1000. I had a full-time job. It was a side hustle. I worked on it from 4 am to 8 am during the week. I would do the shoots and the interviews on weekends.

  • The vision for the blog: I’m going to start a blog that will give people a voice through beauty.

  • How did you make the transition from a media company to making products? I was working with all these beauty companies. Every big conglomerate. It’s a $450 billion industry. I was hearing [from doing these interview] about the disconnect between the customer and brands. Brands would know this if they listened to consumers instead of retailers. . . That is what led to the creation of glossier. Every beauty brand that I’ve ever known was built top-down. Glossier was built bottom-up.

  • Emily’s superpower: I am super curious. I just wrote a list on a whiteboard with the steps it would take to build this company. Then started working down the list.

  • The benefit of a direct to consumer brand: We can build a better product by having a direct relationship with people. We don’t have to make decisions for anyone other than the end-user. Being direct to the consumer also allows us to ask you a question: Are you happy with this? What should we make next?

  • How do you think about the competition: Beauty is not that competitive in my mind. No single brand can meet all of your needs when it comes to beauty. We just want to be a part of the conversation. 

  • Advice for people that wanted to build a company: The Phil Knight quote from Nike, Just Do It. Be curious and courageous.

  • Full podcast here.