Glossier. Glossier shows us what exclusivity and customer demand can do for a brand; the mimetic desire of ‘they have it, so I want it too’, or ‘I want it before everyone else has it’, or the inherent power the owner is struck with: ‘it is difficult to obtain, therefore to have it is a status symbol’.
Make-up is not necessarily narcissistic but, just like any consumer product, brands bring their own identity and weave it into our lifestyle choices. So, let me first introduce to you the Glossier brand. Their website is like Tumblr’s ~ soft pastel haze 3am thoughts ~ where the text is written in Courier or Garamond or Microsoft Himalaya, where half the photos posted have a film camera grain, and feature pink roses or any other pink flowers, and perfect blue skies. Now, if you click on their ‘free stuff’ (and sign-up to the mailing list) you get access to playlists, and an app-store link to the Glossier emoji-stickers (which have also been available as everyday stickers). Of course, they don’t leave out wallpaper backgrounds, on-brand with crystals, cake, ice-cream, and clouds via a website design made to look as if you’re browsing files on an Apple Mac. It’s like a maturing teen girl’s dream, think Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club—there’s youth and beauty and developing maturity. Glossier’s ‘about’ page even looks like it didn’t receive the update the rest of the site did, when they realized it was becoming a trend. But in that they’ve practically nailed the stylish minimalism of today. They work with what they have: starting from beauty editors, and with Century Gothic in bold and italics you have:
Personally, I don’t really wear make-up. When I was heading out of the tweenies and into the teens, my auntie on my father’s side gifted me make-up for my birthday, and my grandma on my mother’s side gifted my make-up in a Disney Princesses box for Christmas. It didn’t work. As I got older, the make-up gifts didn’t disappear. The founder and CEO of Glossier, Emily Weiss, shares my experience:
‘I’ve always been very specific about products. But I really did go through a phase where you couldn’t pay me to pick up makeup.’
In the past year I’ve seen a rushing rise in bloggers and vloggers getting their hands on this American-based brand, which hasn’t been available for UK shipping until rather recently. Do remember that Weiss only launched Glossier at the end of 2014, making for a remarkable launch into celebrity and public culture. I first noticed the subtlety of this make-up. You can see for yourself in the website images that the ‘no make-up look’ is a founding feature. However, this has led to criticism, pointing out that many of Glossier’s products are intended for people who already have a good base to work with. The idea is that the ‘perfecting skin tint’ will be your perfect concealer, but Glossier, themselves, say this about the product: “What won’t it do? Hide your freckles, spackle your pores, or erase any other evidence that you are, in fact, a real human being.” They label themselves ‘A Beauty Brand Inspired By Real Life’ and they’re not afraid to create products that reflect that. I feel an inner conscience asking ‘why spend so much money on something you can hardly notice?’ to which my deeper conscience responds – ‘because it’s such a pleasing brand, there to enhance what nature gifted you’.
Glossier’s minimalistic branding reaches to its packaging, of course. It is borderline basic in its approach, almost comparable to a supermarket’s ‘own brand look’. However, it’s very Glossier in using a lot of white, pastel pink, with hints of black, deep red, and metallic. If you’re in touch with your artsy-side, then Glossier plays into it.
I went to Glossier’s one week pop-up store in Marylebone to see for myself.
Example 1. Cloud Paint.
The cream blush. This packaging is a master of disguise! Be careful where you leave this product before it finds its way into your paint box. Do not worry about the potential disaster of replacing one Cloud Paint’s lid with another, for this crafty packaging matches the lid to the tube: a problem prevented!
Example 2. Haloscope.
The face highlighter. This nifty name plays on ‘helioscope’ – a telescope that allows you to view the sun without damaging your eyes. One of which people may require to glance upon your shimmering dewy cheekbones and any other region you choose. Reminder: place this product away from your glue sticks for this moisturizing crystal might find itself attempting to hold your designs together.
Example 3. Perfecting Skin Tint.
The lighter than tinted moisturiser. Is Glossier trying to deceive us? Beware this mind trickery. In five different shades: light, medium, dark, deep, rich. A warning to users: these are not your next marbling inks. These bottles are simple in their aim and simple in their design, but refuse their attempts to swindle you!
Example 4. Super bounce.
The Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Its scientific name aims to mislead you, for this is not an ink dropper. Its pipet and translucent potion is intended for your face, not your inner artist. Do not use in class unless you aim to have your serum taken by your lecturer and stored in their safety cupboard.
Glossier. Your brand is well thought out, you are aware of your target audience, from aesthetic to attracting new customers, to appealing to women with different skin tones, to modern and creative packaging, to embracing our natural selves. Glossier have birthed themselves from writers that test and evaluate products, which appears to be a major cause of their success. It is easy to see the shine and glisten of Glossier, but that is not to say that some products are not without fault.