Glossier Venture Check

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I hate to admit it, but I got influenced 💅💄

I rarely make impulsive purchases. But when one of the few lifestyle influencers in my feed reviewed the Glossier’s Futuredrew serum I got curious. This was probably the first and only product I purchased right off social media (at least that I can remember). 

Glossier was one of the first D2C beauty brands that grew off social media. From an entrepreneurial point of view they are definitely an interesting case to study and understand. Which is why we took a more detailed look at their business model in thai week’s venture check.

💻 Today’s venture: Glossier

🧩 Category: Beauty & Skincare 

🚀 Founded in 2014 by Emily Weiss

🤑 Financials: Glossier was valued at $1.8 billion in 2021 and was expecting € 275M in sales in 2023.

📦 Their business model: Direct-to-consumer beauty brand leveraging community-driven marketing and social media engagement.

💜 Why we love them: 

  • …because they offer simple, high-quality beauty products that enhance natural beauty.
  • …because they excel at building a strong, loyal community through innovative, digital-first marketing strategies.

What customer is Glossier targeting?

Young, socially-engaged women who prioritize natural beauty and self-expression, from:

  • From the student who saves up for their favorite product.
  • To the millennial who values minimalistic routines and authentic brands.

 

Customer Segments:

🌍 Geographically: 

  • Primarily located in urban areas across the U.S.
  • Expanding presence in international markets like Canada and the EU

 

⚧️ Demographically:

  • Predominantly women aged 18-45.
  • Middle to upper-middle income brackets

 

🛒 Behavioral:

  • Frequent users of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
  • Regularly purchase beauty and skincare products online.
  • Active participants in beauty and skincare communities, both online and offline.

 

🧠 Psychographic:

  • Value authenticity and self-expression.
  • Interested in minimalistic and effective beauty routines.
  • Environmentally conscious and prefer brands with sustainable practices.

How could a typical Glossier customer persona look like?

🧘🏽‍♀️Carmen is a 33-year-old yoga instructor in Encinitas, California, embracing a health-conscious lifestyle infused with her Latin American roots. She prioritizes sustainability and authenticity, seeking products and brands aligned with her values. Carmen’s active social life and stable partnership complement her vibrant personality, while her online presence on platforms like Instagram and TikTok reflects her engagement with like-minded communities. As a conscious consumer, she gravitates towards eco-friendly products and values social responsibility in her purchases.

What JTBDs, Pains & Gains do Glossier‘s customers have?

⚙️ JTBD (Jobs to be Done):

  • Find sustainable and healthy beauty products 
  • Find, read or give product reviews
  • Simplify the everyday skincare routine
  • Achieve a natural, effortless makeup look
  • Enhance natural beauty
  • Understand the ingredients and their benefits

 

😍 Gains:

  • Glowy and healthy-looking skin
  • Enhanced natural beauty
  • Time saved in the morning
  • Confidence in product choices
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Peace of mind with sustainable choices

 

😓 Pain Points:

  • Complex skincare routines
  • Confusing product ingredients
  • Lack of product transparency
  • Time-consuming makeup application
  • Overwhelming product choices
  • Difficulty finding effective products

What is Glossier‘s value proposition?

📦 Product Features:

  • Curated but effective portfolio of essential products (Skin care, Make-up, Body, Fragrance)
  • Multi-purpose make-up products
  • Light, buildable products
  • Custom 4-step skincare bundle 
  • Cruelty free, clean and sustainable
  • Transparent ingredient list + benefits
  • Transparent Reviews
  • Glossier Goods (Merchandize)
  • How to use instructions for each product
  • Educational beauty content (blogs, tutorials)
  • Personalized product recommendations
  • Online community engagement
 

💝 Gain Creators:

  • Hydrating skin care and nourishing make-up products
  • Light, buildable makeup formulations for a natural look
  • Uncomplicated skin-care routine and make up products to save time
  • Clearly visible customer reviews empower customers to make informed decisions
  • Emphasis on enhancing natural features boosts self-confidence by promoting individual beauty
  • Commitment to eco-friendly packaging and formulations
 

💊 Pain Point Solvers:

  • Custom skincare bundle option to compile a simple but custom 4-step routine
  • Clear key ingredient list outlining the benefits of each one
  • Transparent presentation of each product with ingredients, benefits, application, and reviews
  • Easy-to-use and in part multi-purpose products with simple application techniques
  • Curated product selection focused on essential beauty needs
  • Effectiveness tested and reviewed by other customers

🏆Unfair Advantage:

Originated in the “Into The Gloss” beauty blog with 2-3M unique monthly visitors + brand strength (“a brand that people would also wear”) + first mover advantage as a social media brand.

💬Their hero message could be something like this:

“Feeling overwhelmed by complex skincare routines? Discover simplified beauty solutions that enhance your natural glow. Clean, effective skincare for busy women embracing simplicity and self-care.”

How does Glossier make money?

🤑Revenue Model

  • Direct-to-consumer product sales
  • Retail partnership (with sephora)

 

💸Pricing Model

Value-based pricing:

  • Accessible price points
  • Affordable yet quality products

How is Glossier acquiring and locking in customers?

🍝 Their Secret Marketing Sauce:

 

Online Community First:

  • Origin as a Blog: Started as “Into The Gloss” with 2-3M unique monthly visitors.
  • Engaged Community: Leveraged reader feedback for product development.
  • User-Generated Content: Encouraged customers to share their own beauty routines and product reviews.
 

Few but Viral Products:

  • Focus on Hero Products: Invested in creating standout products that quickly gained a loyal following.
  • Boy Brow: Cult-favorite eyebrow product that drove brand recognition.
  • Glossier Serum: Glow-inducing serum that became an instant hit.
 

Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Model:

  • Strong Online Presence: Built a robust e-commerce platform for direct sales.
  • Customer Data: Used customer feedback and data for continuous product improvement.
  • Social Media Marketing: Heavily relied on Instagram and other social media platforms for customer engagement.
 

Retail Partnership with Sephora:

  • New Strategy Under CEO: Expanded reach by partnering with Sephora.
  • Increased Accessibility: Made products available in physical stores and on Sephora’s website.
  • Brand Visibility: Leveraged Sephora’s established customer base and marketing channels to attract new customers.

Where are their strength & weaknesses and what are opportunities & risks?

😣 Weaknesses:

  • Limited Product Range: Smaller product portfolio compared to competitors.
  • Niche Market Focus: Strong focus on a specific demographic could limit broader appeal.

 

💪 Strength:

  • Strong Brand Identity: Cult-following and clear brand positioning.
  • Community Engagement: Highly engaged online community and user-generated content.
  • Product Simplicity: Focus on easy-to-use, multi-functional products.

 

🚨 Risks

  • Celebrity Competition: Increasing competition from celebrity beauty brands.
  • Image Damage: Workplace controversies (Outta the Gloss)
  • Customer Loyalty: Potential risk of losing loyal customers with aggressive expansion.

 

🤩Opportunities

  • Product Expansion: Regular new product launches to attract diverse demographics.
  • Retail Partnerships: Growth potential through partnerships with retailers like Sephora and Ulta.
  • New International Markets: Expansion into global markets to increase market size.

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