Brands, particularly luxury ones, have been baffled by the millennial generation. Post-crash, graduates of the University of Dire Economic Times, taking the path more sustained, shunning materialism, unable to afford, and therefore decrying luxury, they have been the toughest of generations for marketers to tempt. What do you do with elusive and impervious? In a word, Glossier.
If you’ve been anywhere on Instagram recently, you’ve probably seen one of the many ubiquitous, light pink photos from demi-luxury makeup startup Glossier. Their social media presence unfolds the lifestyle of a “Glossier Girl,” pitched perfectly at the social media generation, for whom aesthetics are everything—and, while Glossier certainly delivers in product quality, they succeed even more in their aesthetic. The Glossier logo, their single ‘g,’ has become so recognizable that they sell enamel pins as well as sweatshirts (which model Karlie Kloss was recently spotted wearing).
Similarly recognizable is their packaging: Each shipment comes in a reusable, zip top bubble wrap bag in their classic pale pink hue. So popular are these bags that Leandra Medine, of www.manrepeller.com fame, used one as a clutch during Paris Fashion Week. As if that weren’t sign enough, Jimmy Choo recently came out with a suspiciously similar looking light pink bubble wrap-esque bag, which retails for $950.
Despite its high fashion relevance, Glossier manages to offer this luxury experience at an attainable price. A set of 3 of their bubble wrap bags—free with any order, but also offered à la carte—costs $12; their makeup is similarly priced, ranging from $12 to about $30.
Despite its carefully curated, life-goal-worthy online image, these prices render Glossier cheaper than most luxury makeup lines. So where does their constructed sense of luxury come from? In part, it’s from the brand’s trademark aesthetic. And then, there’s the customer experience. Despite their fairly small, select line of products, the company often consults their customers. They offer a personalized shopping experience, showing on their online store, for example, how each shade of makeup looks on a variety of skin types and colors.
This customization is essential to the luxury experience, making the brand so popular that they often sell out. Imparting a sense of scarcity is a sleight of hand many luxury brands, in their efforts to scale, seem to have forgotten how to do. But for Glossier, wait-lists for their most popular products can get incredibly long, even if they don’t quite reaching Kylie Jenner Lip Kit levels of insanity.
Through a carefully curated social media presence and a higher level of engagement with the customer, Glossier manages to provide a luxury experience at non-luxury prices, offering a unique experience for millennials who have shown, in survey after survey, an innate resistance to buying luxury goods. That same demographic, however, responds to the type of social media empire Glossier has built. Not a surprise, therefore, that the brand has become something of a cult favorite.