clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Emily Weiss wants Glossier to own the online beauty conversation

“The shopping experience is even more broken and lacking for beauty products than what we initially believed.”

Glossier CEO Emily Weiss
Glossier CEO Emily Weiss
Keith MacDonald for Vox Media

When people are deciding which mascara to buy online, they’re not looking at how fast the mascara will be delivered, according to Glossier CEO Emily Weiss. Cracking the online beauty business isn’t as simple as “building tools that cross-sell, upsell and get things to you faster,” she said.

“The shopping experience is even more broken and lacking for beauty products than what we initially believed,” Weiss said at Recode’s Code Commerce conference today in New York. “You have e-commerce — as a definition, pretty much synonymous with Amazon, since it’s 50 percent of U.S. e-commerce. It’s all about the breadth of product. What you don’t have is an e-commerce experience that’s focused on depth of connection.”

That’s why Glossier focuses on customer engagement rather than simply selling makeup.

“It’s an emotional category,” she said, where “simply seeing a picture of ... a fashion product isn’t enough.”

To that end, the company is exploring ways for its customers to engage directly with Glossier. “It’s about listening to users and the direct relationships we can have with every single person.”

“We’re trying to own that conversation of beauty online,” she said.

In lieu of a Glossier-owned social network, users reach out to the company through Instagram DM; Weiss said the company receives five DMs a minute.

“We spent four years cultivating this direct-to-consumer relationship that’s enabled us to ... respond to customers very fast,” Weiss continued. “Yet we still outsource our engagement to other platforms. We don’t outsource our distribution, but we do outsource our engagement.”

And there’s still a great deal of room to grow.

“This is a massive industry,” Weiss said. “This is a $450 billion global market set to be $750 billion in six years. So it’s growing 7 percent faster than the developed world’s GDP. It’s not chump change.”

Watch the full interview here:

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.