People never ask her ‘where’s that lipstick from’ or ‘what foundation do you wear’ - she takes it as a compliment. The Glossier girl is not vexed by the skin complaints of a normal person. Once upon a time, she may have had acne but then she discovered Glossier Solution, which nixes any complexion flare-ups before Instagram notices. Naturally, she now relies on a diet of Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, Into The Gloss newsletters and constant sweeps of Boy Brow so you never really know when she’s wearing #nomakeup. It’s like a ring light hovers over her at all times.
Like Avon ladies before them, the Glossier girl is a friend-to-friend marketer. Avon ladies may make money, but she makes social media connections, which in 2018 essentially amounts to the same thing. She wields her influence silently scented by Glossier You, knowing her not-so-secret coolness is funded by a Glossier addiction. Ever since the UK Glossier launch, she has been the arbiter of beauty among her friends. People trust her knowledge and come to her with complex questions about what retinol and hyaluronic acids. Her pastel-hued, peonies-strewn Instagram feed is her business card, it shows she knows how to convey luxury and elegance with a mere shelfie.
God-like leader and founder Emily Weiss with her low-key 374K followers is the rubric for this business model. She’s funny, she’s beautiful, she’s the quintessential ‘cool girl’. Where Weiss shines the torch her ardent fans follow, for instance, this woman essentially made pink boilersuits a fashion item and now the likes of Ganni, Madewell and ASOS can’t keep them in stock. When discussing shying away from traditional marketing she told The Cut, ‘Sometimes iPhone photos get the point across better…It’s more us.’
There’s no doubt that Weiss and her band of photogenic followers speak the language of millennials – both visually and literally. They know the right fonts and filters to use and how to deploy them with the same ease it takes to cover up spots with Glossier’s Stretch concealer.
The Glossier girl is the 2018 manic pixie dream girl - a visual representation of ironic taste (in pink and girliness) with a reflective and intellectual understanding of (beauty) culture. She’s a UX and PR dream. She has you doubting if millennium pink is really ‘ovah’ and whether this snowflake generation is only as sensitive as the bubble wrap pouches she receives from Glossier. She’s the brand’s secret sauce, if you will. They don’t need to be beautiful, but they just happen to be.
Like the Avon ladies of yore who sat in people’s living rooms showing off their wares, these Glossier girls know when to deploy intimacy and when to shy away from oversharing. They don’t go full-Kardashian but have no shame showing you their current cosmetic collection, which could keep Sephora afloat for a year. Avon is fully aware its market’s being pinched, writing in their Beauty Broadsheet the company said, ‘there’s a reemergence of peer-to-peer selling as a vital beauty sales tool – something Avon is clearly perfectly placed to execute. According to the US channel Fashion Network, brands like Glossier and Beautycounter have built upon the success of using peer marketing networks, which Avon founded. Glossier, for example, recently opened a pop-up in San Francisco and tasked 500 Representatives to market the brand through their social circles.’
This peer-to-peer selling is far cooler than any advertising splash in a glossy magazine. It hides the machinations behind unmotivated recommendations. Fashion magazines strive to be the voice of your best friend, your sister even your (agony) aunt, but this goes one stage further by infiltrating news feeds without making you spend a penny. Now that the cosmetic company has branched out into beautifying red carpet guests - like Taraji P. Henson and Allison Janney at the 2018 Oscars - the brand has traditional influencers in their pocket too.
The beauty company prides itself on being makeup for people who don’t like makeup. Critics say it’s for the already beautiful, those that don’t need to gild their lilies. But, if Glossier’s sales and global expansion suggest anything it’s not a business to be doubted.