How Crowdsourcing Helped Set Glossier Apart

Connecting directly with your customers is beautiful.

by Kylie Wu

The beauty industry is not going anywhere, with projections that the sector will be worth $90 billion by 2020. With the popularity of 10-step Korean skincare routines, to the craze around Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits, the landscape of makeup and skincare brands is as cluttered as ever.

Rather than getting lost in this highly competitive space, Glossier, a beauty brand founded in 2014, has been able to build a passionate consumer base within the 2 short years since its inception, and has revenue forecasted to grow by several hundred percent next year.

Along with its effortlessly cool yet approachable branding catered perfectly for the female Millennial audience, founder and CEO Emily Weiss found another way to connect consumers directly with some of Glossier’s product offerings.

As told to Refinery29, fostering a real dialogue with consumers was always a core part of Emily’s strategy to build up Glossier’s community. This led to Emily publishing a post on her popular beauty blog ‘Into the Gloss’ in January of 2015 asking her readers “What’s Your Dream Face Wash?

Emily took the nearly 400 comments generated from the post, plus thousands more on Glossier’s social channels, to then inform the creation of Glossier’s Milky Jelly face cleanser — a truly crowdsourced beauty product.

Emily also noticed many readers on ‘Into the Gloss’ regularly complaining about the finish of moisturizers being too sticky or heavy, and Glossier’s priming moisturizer was a response to this feedback. Glossier plans to create other crowdsourced products in the future.

So why is this approach noteworthy? In the world of modern media culture, consumers have more resources than ever to influence their decision-making when considering beauty products to purchase. From beauty bloggers and Youtubers, like Estee Lalonde, Jenn Im and Teni Panosian, to the comments sections of Sephora and skincare subreddits, there is a mass amount of very honest opinions and reviews that can impact whether or not a consumer buys that next lip gloss or toner.

Rather than launch a product and wait for reviews to roll in, Emily recognized that she had access to a dedicated and vocal community of ‘Into the Gloss’ readers to leverage for Glossier, and flipped the script by giving consumers the power to help dictate how Glossier products are created.

This type of organic two-way conversation redefines the traditional relationship between a retailer and consumers, building trust and a deeper connection between Glossier and its customers than what typically exists with bigger beauty brands.

Whether you’re in the beauty industry or not, closing the communication gap with consumers is crucial in modern media culture. Especially as more information becomes available in the digital space, younger generations are not simply accepting advertising claims anymore, and it’s harder than ever to build a dedicated and loyal relationship with consumers.

As customer empowerment continues to grow, it’s increasingly important for brands to embrace transparency and find deeper ways to engage with audiences. Whether that’s taking a note from Glossier’s book with crowdsourcing, or exploring other engagement tactics to foster consumer relationships, the power of customer reviews cannot be ignored, and it’s up to brands to continue innovating how they approach this layer of the ever-changing modern media landscape.

Kylie Wu is a Brand Manager at Mistress.