Glossier Founder Emily Weiss Growth Story From Intern to CEO

After graduating in 2007, Weiss worked briefly for W magazine before moving to Vogue, where she worked as a fashion assistant.

Emily Weiss

Getty/Patrick McMullan

Source: Fashionista

While working as a fashion assistant, Weiss set up her beauty blog, Into The Gloss, spotting a gap in the market for beauty product coverage.

Emily Weiss

Getty/Patrick McMullan

“I was surrounded by so much magic … All these models and makeup [artists],” she said in an interview with Fashionista in 2015.

“That was the inspiration for Into the Gloss, wanting to know more about these women who were so cool and interesting for all these different reasons.”

The blog quickly gained a following among beauty enthusiasts.

Into The Gloss

Instagram/Into The Gloss

These followers commented on posts to share their experiences with various products and make suggestions to other readers.

Weiss decided to leave her job to focus on the blog full-time.

Emily Weiss

Getty/Jennifer Graylock

She asked Nick Axelrod, a friend who had also worked in publishing, to become the editorial director.

Weiss re-launched the website and upped the number of posts; overnight traffic to the site tripled.

Emily Weiss

Getty/Charles Eshelman

As the blog scaled up, they started posting three to four times a day.

Product feedback on the blog laid the foundation for what was to come. Weiss was now armed with a wealth of information to create products that were directly tied to what readers wanted.

Emily Weiss

Getty/Lars Niki

In 2013, the company raised $2 million in venture capital funding. At the time, Weiss said the funding would be put toward eight to 10 new hires across editorial, tech, and design. 

Instagram influencers and celebrities spread the message, posting photos of themselves in Glossier swag. Glossier launched with four products: a facial mist, moisturizer, skin tint, and balm. These products were intended to give off a “no-makeup” look.

karlie kloss

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

A month after launching, Glossier raised an additional $8.4 million in venture capital funding. 

A key part of Glossier’s early success was Weiss’ commitment to the brand identity.



“Brand is really, really important. It’s kind of everything,” she told Insider in 2016.

Glossier has always been known for its signature pink hue, playful marketing voice, and images of diverse women with minimal makeup. 

In 2020, the tide turned. The COVID-19 pandemic led to store closures, and all of its retail staff were eventually laid off.


Jonathan Wiggs/Getty Images

Workers started to speak out about working conditions at the company toward the back end of the year.

In an open letter posted on Medium in August 2020, a group of former store workers said that managers had done little to intervene when they reported racially charged incidents with customers.

This echoed conversations Insider had with another group of former Glossier retail workers, who said that employees of color were often discriminated against by managers and customers.

These comments came out in the wake of the George Floyd shooting after Glossier announced that it stood in solidarity against systemic racism. Other startups such as EverlaneAway, and Reformation faced similar claims of problematic work cultures at that time. 

Glossier later apologized.


Sales dropped by 26% in 2021, and its Instagram fanbase started to dwindle.

Glossier store

Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In the background, several execs were worried that the company had lost its way and wasn’t focused on its core business of beauty.

Between 2018 and 2021, Weiss was reportedly set on building a digital social-media platform – similar to Instagram or Facebook, where customers could shop and chat with one another. 

In early 2022, she admitted that the company had gotten “distracted” from its core business.

Emily Weiss

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

At this point, 80 corporate employees, largely from its tech team, were laid off.

Weiss stepped down as CEO in May to become executive chairwoman. Kyle Leahy, formerly the chief commercial officer of Glossier, took on the role of CEO.


As of February, all 600 Sephora stores in the US and Canada began selling Glossier products. And according to The Times, we can expect to see new Glossier items being rolled out to the market every four to six weeks.

Inside the "wet bar" room of Glossier's flagship store in SoHo.

Glossier describes this room as the store’s “wet bar.”

Amanda Krause/Insider

“We started as a millennial brand,” Leahy told The Times. “We were founded as a direct-to-consumer business. We are beyond that. We are bigger than that because we can now resonate with Gen Z.”

Glossier now has 10 stores around the US and in London. Its New York flagship opened in Soho earlier this month.

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