As Glossier enters a new phase of its business, it’s updating its flagship store to reflect its maturity as a brand.
On Thursday, Glossier opens a new 7,000-square-foot flagship store in SoHo, following the permanent closure of a previous version that opened in 2019 and closed at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Its predecessor was roughly 5,500-square-feet across a two-story ground-floor retail space with 3,000-square-feet of shopping space. The new store is a block away from the last location. It offers 3,100-square-feet of shopping space, including a 500-square-foot lounge.
The news comes following Glossier’s considerable restructuring in 2022. That included laying off its tech department in a pivot away from a vaguely understood community-focused platform; introducing a new CEO as founder Emily Weiss stepped down; naming its first celebrity brand ambassador, Olivia Rodrigo; and selling select products through discount store TJ Maxx.
The new flagship opening is being framed as a “homecoming,” said Kleo Mack, svp of global marketing for Glossier, referring to the company’s physical re-entry into its hometown.
“We like to say that, if Glossier were a person, this [store] would be their home. It’s about connection and community, [and our] products are about emotion and feeling. We’re tying in a lot of what is unique about Glossier,” said Mack. “Our focus post-pandemic is bringing Glossier to more people.”
In early 2023, Glossier began selling products through Sephora.com before moving into the retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores. On Feb. 23, every Sephora in the United States and Canada will be decorated in millennial pink, with posters of Glossier’s Cloud Paint liquid blush taking over all front windows, to announce the brand’s entry into the retailer. With the SoHo opening, Glossier now has nine locations, including in Atlanta, D.C., London, Los Angeles and Miami. In spring, Glossier will open stores in Boston and Chicago.
“What continues to set us apart and why this omnichannel approach works for us is that it’s moments like [events] that allow us to continue to celebrate what was in that blog post [announcing the launch of Glossier] of Emily Weiss’s, which is joy and freedom in who you are today,” said Mack. “You can come and sit in a store and experience a great event or connect with friends on what we like to call the ‘boyfriend couch’ or the ‘dad couch.’”
Compared to its prior storefront, the new flagship has a more sophisticated and mature design. While Glossier helped define the “millennial pink” aesthetic, which was reflected in its original New York flagship, the new interior features more red accents than before, as well as taupe stucco walls and white subway tiles. As a nearly decade-old brand that first targeted millennials, its customer base has grown up. According to SimilarWeb, approximately 37% of Glossier’s website visitors are 18- to 24-years-old, followed by nearly 31% who are 25-34 and 14% at 35-44.
A new brand website is scheduled to go live in April, and an undisclosed number of products will debut this year every four to six weeks. In January, Glossier launched its first deodorant in three scents and notably formulated as vegan and aluminum-free. It sold out in 48-hours and exceeded sales expectations by 400%, Mack said. According to The New York Times, Glossier reintroduced its $14 Balm Dotcom in February with an updated, Gen Z-friendly vegan formula and a new applicator tip. It sold $1 million worth of balms in the first week. Glossier has received $265 million in venture-backed funding, with a valuation of $1.8 billion. In 2018, the brand stated it earned $100 million in annual sales.
Much like Aesop is known for reflecting the locale of individual stores in its stores, Glossier stores also integrate local communities into their designs. The new flagship features a mix of city, industrial and subway details, including brown wooden benches and subway tile mosaics. The MetroCard machines in five nearby subway stations will dispense Glossier-branded cards printed with red lipsticks. OOH subway ads have also been present since early February throughout New York. On Friday, store and corporate employees will hand out pink roses to subway riders at the Spring Street station.
“On the whole, we want customers to feel a sense of belonging when they enter the space,” said Marie Suter, svp and executive creative director for Glossier who oversaw the SoHo store design. “With this flagship, we really wanted to inspire a ‘choose your own adventure’ feeling, offering visitors the possibility of different experiences. For example, we know that many people are keen on product discovery and testing, which is why we created 15-foot-long testing tables.”
There are also novel, youthful decorative touches. Customer can play a carnival claw machine game and win G-shaped cookie cutters and hair clips, among other items. The store also sells merch, both current and of years’ past, like a limited-edition 2022 beach bag previously only available at the Miami store.
“Glossier was born on the internet. Long before we were omnichannel, we recognized the importance of making space for physical, in-person connections,” said Suter. “Immersive, in-person retail has always been one of our favorite ways to bring the brand to life.”