Since launching in 2014, the online beauty brand Glossier has achieved cult status with its minimal, feminine aesthetic, affordable makeup and skincare products, and engaging social-media presence. As of this year, Glossier is worth over $34 million and has 1.6 million followers on Instagram, which, for the brand, has been both a marketing platform and a forum for discussion among its millennial fans. For the design of the company’s first brick-and-mortar store in New York, founder Emily Weiss pulled together an all-female team to translate Glossier’s online identity into physical form: architect Miriam Peterson of Peterson Rich Office (PRO), a 2018 Record Vanguard pick; interior designer Christine Gachot of Gachot Studios; and lighting designer Sara McElroy of Silver Shoe Design.
According to Peterson, some of the design challenges were navigating the brand’s strong culture and creating a new type of retail space that focuses less on business transactions and more on social interaction. Visitors can test and purchase products at the store—they can also pick up online orders—but the intent was to create a place where the Glossier community could thrive and grow, enhancing the strength of its online platform.
With that in mind, the team designed spaces specifically for transmission on social media. The most prominent of these is the entry stair (“the most Instagrammable stair in New York,” says Peterson) that leads customers from a small foyer at ground level to the display area on the second floor, with a candy-colored resinous-quartz carpet and an ethereal light well at its apex. A room with mirrored walls is for rotating displays—but, fundamentally, it’s all about selfie-taking and sharing. Throughout, a color palette of pale pink and rouge evokes that of the products’ packaging, for an atmosphere that is distinctly Glossier.
In the two months since the Lower Manhattan store has been open, images of its interior have already been heavily circulated on Instagram, inviting those online to visit, albeit virtually. And while the new flagship won’t compete with sales online, which recently hit the $100 million mark, it is a testament that, in the age of social media, the best marketer is the customer.