Glossier makes global return to retail

The pioneering D2C beauty favourite is making a bricks-and-mortar comeback, with a ‘people first, product second’ mantra

After locking up its global fleet of bricks-and-mortar 15 months ago in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, digital-first beauty brand Glossier is preparing to make a return to the high street.

Chief Executive Emily Weiss took the decision on 13 March last year to “put public health ahead” of the brand’s needs, when just 1,660 Covid-19 cases had been confirmed in the US – the number of deaths in the US from Covid-19 now stands at more than 600,000.

But as the world begins to reemerge from months of lockdown restrictions, Glossier believes now is the right time to make its 3D comeback.

First to open of the all-new, permanent stores will be its Seattle shop, expected to welcome customers in August, followed by a Los Angeles destination in the autumn and a permanent London, UK, store, which will also be the brand’s first-ever international indefinite flagship.

Meanwhile, its New York shop, in Glossier’s hometown city, which closed with its counterparts in March 2020, will be revealed in 2022.

“Our first three stores are the culmination of everything we’ve learned from our prior offline experiences, and like these experiences, they look at each city through Glossier-coloured glasses,” said Weiss.

“Each of these stores is designed to inspire everyone to find joy and confidence in their personal beauty style, with a customer journey centered around self-discovery and belonging.

The retail experiences are said to be ‘people-centric’ with a “people first, product second” mantra; starting with its employees, who will be the focus of the new stores.

To ensure an optimal working environment for staff, Weiss has hired a Head of People for Retail, Hector Camacho, a HR veteran with 15 years of industry experience.

“After gathering and reflecting on all of our learnings, we committed to a plan of action that would reimagine our approach, from dedicated HR support, experienced store leadership, training on diversity, equity and inclusion and deescalation, a new code of conduct and more,” said Camacho.

“We developed a people-first employee experience philosophy, rooted in authenticity, integrity, inclusion, equity and empathy.”

Upon shutting its retail outlets, Glossier took the decision in August last year to cut all of its in-store retail jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Glossier’s staff were said to have been furloughed from June, and US employees were expected to receive 12 weeks severance pay and health care coverage until the end of October, UK staff at the London pop-up, who were hired through a third-party, were then compensated with the UK government's job retention scheme until 30 September, Glossier told Cosmetics Business .

Speaking about her brand’s return to retail, Weiss added: “We imagine a future where digital and offline experiences exist in harmony, all in the service of helping people connect more deeply with themselves and others.”

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