Emily Weiss is that very impressive type of nerd. An example of where focus, work ethic and self-belief can get you.
You may not have heard her name and looking at her picture you could be forgiven for thinking she is your fairly run-of-the-mill glossy New Yorker. However, today she’s known for being a bit more than that. She is the founder and CEO of Glossier; a beauty brand which seems to have experienced that ‘overnight success’ start-ups dream of.
As I write this, the brand is reported to be worth over $34million, three years after its inception. Emily is the brains (and beauty) behind its creation and supercharged growth. So how did she get here? What secrets lie behind her success and how much dedication does it take to create a brand of that scale in 2018?
Her first appearance in the public eye was through a cameo in US reality TV show ‘The Hills’. Emily features in one episode in 2007, where she is described by a slightly intimidated Whitney Port as “super-intern”. She comes across as very committed to her role at Vogue and fairly confident. With little interest in being a reality star, she turned down a bigger role in the show, choosing instead to remain at the iconic magazine, first as an intern and then as a fashion assistant. Yes, she interned and was an assistant for years, which is an important insight into her work ethic and ability to think long term. You don’t get paid well as a Vogue Intern (approx. $1.5k per month). Its fair to assume that MTV had a lot more to do with funding Lauren Conrad‘s lifestyle than Vogue. On this period of her life, Weiss said “You have to be a sponge, you have to be respectful, you have to roll up your sleeves. I really earned my right to be there. I was just like, ‘Put me to work. I love work!’”
Over this time her interest in beauty grew leading her to launch an online blog titled ‘Into The Gloss‘ in 2010. She grew this over three years by getting up at 4am and writing for 2-3hours before going to work. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for socialising but paints a realistic portrayal of how much input is required to get a ‘side-hustle’ off the ground. Amy Astley, the former editor-in-chief who hired Emily at Vogue, described her as “an old soul” in a way reminiscent of other young and successful people such as Lena Dunham. Glossier launched in 2014, initially with 4x products and the blog became a platform to showcase the brand. As a key marketing tool, Glossier sent stickers out with products which consumers could stick on their belongings. This use of a badge created a cult like connection to the brand and allowed users to become walking advertisements, empowering them to spread product news. Describing the brand building process, Emily explains: “I wrote out, ‘Here are all the things we need to launch: website. Chemist. Office space.’ And then I just checked them off, one by one. Put all the balls in the air. Got pregnant with Glossier. Incubated. Gave birth to four beautiful products.”