By Eric Liaw, Roseanne Wincek and Louise Ireland
Today, IVP announced our investment in Glossier, a beauty and skincare brand that makes “beauty essentials for real life”. IVP is the lead investor in a $24M Series B financing, and we are thrilled to partner with Founder and CEO Emily Weiss and the entire Glossier team to build a next-generation beauty brand.
IVP is a leading later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA, and has been fortunate enough to partner with talented entrepreneurs to help build truly disruptive consumer-facing companies, including Dropbox, Dropcam, The Honest Company, Netflix, Snap, Supercell and Twitter. We think that Glossier is a truly exceptional company that is poised to become a household name. Let us tell you why.
Scoring a Hat Trick
Some time ago, IVP gathered as a group to remind ourselves of three themes shared across the most compelling consumer companies today. Early on as we were getting to know the Glossier team, we realized that the company was hitting our themes spot on.
Building Trusted, Authentic Relationships with Customers
Glossier started out of Emily’s blog Into The Gloss, famous for “The Top Shelf” interview series, in which women share their medicine cabinets, beauty routines, and favorite products. This blog was (and to this day is) a market research gold mine where Emily learned not only the products that women swear by but also the ones that women wish existed. Armed with this knowledge, Glossier created a brand for real life, for what women want right now. And since Glossier started selling their own branded products, the numbers say that they did just that – Glossier’s customers come back again and again, they tell their friends and turn them into devotees, they take cool pictures of the very Instagrammable packaging. Glossier set out to make the products that women love and want to use every day, and they’re well on their way to accomplishing their goal.
Riding the Shift to Mobile
If you don’t follow Glossier on Instagram or Snapchat, we highly recommend that you do. Glossier has done an incredible job of meeting today’s woman where she is – on her phone. Many companies talk about engaging fans on social media, but very few brands are born there, like Glossier. Instagram and Snapchat are a treasure trove of women tagging their friends, sharing product love, and giving real-time product feedback (as well as pleading for the company to ship overseas). Thousands of women tag the #glossierpink they find in the real world. There’s also a Slack group for Glossier to chat with their most devoted fans daily. Even while selling physical products, Glossier is a mobile-first company.
Disrupting Offline Incumbents
Beauty is about a quarter-trillion-dollar industry, and the majority of that market is comprised of products made by stodgy, slow, offline companies that sell through third-party retailers. These are companies that only hear from their customers through focus groups and outsourced surveys. Product development is limited by shelf space constraints and quarters-old sell-through data. Through their authentic branding and direct communication with their customers, Glossier is uniquely positioned to disrupt all of this – and it’s happening now, in real time. Just this fall, they completely overhauled their bestselling Generation G Sheer Matte Lipstick formula using feedback from thousands of customers. Soon their newest product, Priming Moisturizer Rich, developed through advice from over 1,000 comments, will be available for us all. Glossier knows not only where to find women, and how to ask them what they want, but also how to listen to their fan base.
Of course, all of these themes are wonderful, but they don’t mean much without the amazing women and men at Glossier. While Into The Gloss started with Emily typing alone in her apartment, today Glossier is a florishing company where each and every team member shares her passion for listening to their customers so they can build great products that everyone loves. Whether measured by love from the community or the hundreds of thousands of customers, what the Glossier team has already accomplished is highly impressive, and we share their belief it’s just the beginning. We are thrilled to partner with them as we celebrate real beauty for real life.
Eric Liaw is a General Partner at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA. Roseanne Wincek is a Vice President and Louise Ireland is an Associate at IVP.