Glossier: “What’s Your Dream Face Wash?”
What started out as a beauty blog is now a cult beauty brand with over $34m in funding. In 2010 during her time at Vogue, Emily Weiss launched beauty blog Into the Gloss. ITG quickly grew into a hugely popular blog with a loyal following. Leveraging the following and insights at ITG, Weiss launched Glossier in 2014. She quickly caught onto the fact that beauty product consumers knew what they wanted, but no one was truly listening.
Products for the Glossier Girl by the Glossier Girl:
Weiss believed that beauty companies followed outdated methods in creating and marketing products. Two years in, ITG developed into a truly strategic blog that listened closely to its readers and created content that kept them engaged in conversation. Using the content that users generated on her blog Emily launched a beauty line that caters to her readers’ needs. Many readers for example complained about how moisturizers felt too thick or sticky. Glossier’s response: Priming Moisturizer “light and buildable moisture for a dewy, smooth canvas”.
The user generated content on the blog was the key to creating the perfect products. Glossier reversed the traditional beauty product development process. Rather than developing the product and refining based on reviews, Glossier took the feedback first and created products custom designed for its customers.
Crowdsourcing Through Open Communication:
Every comment is a data-point. Glossier as a company is incredibly engaged and obsessed with its customers. Connecting with its clientele through social media in a fun and playful manner while paying close attention to comments and feedback has allowed the company to please the crowds with every product release. Glossier’s advantage definitely stems from the fact that it sells directly to its customers and can maintain a direct connection to the people actually buying the product, unlike major companies that are separated from customers by retailers.
“What’s Your Dream Face Wash?”:
In early 2015 Emily asked her ITG readers to describe their dream face wash. At the time Glossier was struggling to develop the perfect cleanser, so Weiss turned to her readers for help. Glossier took the 385 comments on the post to their chemist, the result: Glossier’s Milky Jelly. This was the company’s first every completely crowdsourced product, and needless to say it was a sucess. The company plans to repeat the process for future products.
On her blog Emily updated the readers on the product development process listing the final criteria:
“Here’s what we learned you wanted, which we also realized we wanted:
- removes makeup
- stronger than Cetaphil but non-stripping
- balm-like texture but no oily residue (“because that really defeats the purpose of cleansing”)
- soothing, conditioning natural ingredients (“more Tata Harper, less Neutrogena”)
- travel-friendly pump
- no added fragrance
- no mineral oil, parabens, alcohol, silicone, nut oil, tea tree oil, or soap (whew)”
- 1.5m+ ITG unique monthly visitors
- 60% of Into The Gloss readers return “almost every day”
- Year supply of products sold out in 3 months, 10,000 person waitlist
- Near 600% growth in 2016
- 450,000 Instagram followers, 100 comments on average per photo
Clearly Glossier has won the crowdsourcing game. Whether through direct crowdsourcing (face wash) or indirectly through engaging in two-way dialog with customers. Crowdsourcing information can be incredibly powerful in product development. In traditional industries where major players have lost touch with customers, lending an ear to the crowd can be an instrument for disruption.