Until 9 February 2020
Brands must dream of the kind of buzz that Glossier have generated at their London shop that opened on Floral Street, Covent Garden this week. Groups of young women bounce about a floral carpet, excitedly applying lipgloss and posing for selfies against maximal matching curtains. Products lie invitingly on island stations, waiting to be picked up and played with like pens in a stationery shop and as delicious-looking as sweeties in jars. Encouragement is everywhere – ‘you look good’ is written on the mirrors, and fresh-faced staff are engaging and chatty, clad in millennial pink boiler suits and Reebok Classics. It’s a sharp departure from the department store beauty concessions we’re familiar with where taut assistants wait to pounce; here music sets the tempo and there’s a sense that everyone’s brought their friends to the party.
Designed by Glossier’s ‘in-house experiential team’, the pop up space is big, with a series of different rooms opening onto one another, each decorated around a colour theme. It’s instagram click-bait with flowers everywhere (a nod to its position on Floral Street) and even has a ‘Glossier Rooftop’ installation at the very back, where people queue to take their picture amongst a pink London skyline.
It would be easy to dismiss this as gimmicky if it wasn’t for the fact that the products are just so brilliant. The names and design are appealing – think ‘Cloud Paint’ (blusher), ‘Zit Stick’ in a chunky marker pen and the new ‘Futuredew’ – that promises an irresistible dewy glow that lasts. But more than looking and sounding good they actually seem to work. Last year Glossier sold one Boy Brow every 32 seconds. We’ve been loyal devotees to their original wonder product – a sort of soft mascara wand giving a slick of colour for perfect eyebrows – for several years. Now there are 36 products that each follow the Glossier philosophy of ‘skin first, make up second’. Our favourites as well as Boy Brow are the Solution (an exfoliating ‘skin perfector’) and the lightly-scented You perfume, so-called because ‘it smells like you’.
Indeed, this emphasis on you – the Glossier customer – is at the heart of the brand’s success. Founded by 34-year old Emily Weiss in 2014 on the back of her hit blog, Into the Gloss, Glossier is all about community. Gone are the days of aspiration involving celebrities as ‘the face of the brand’, now it’s about inspiration: cultivating an exciting shopping experience and an active comments section online. And so, instead of inimitable red carpet glamour it’s about real people having fun. With shops in New York, LA, Miami, Seattle, Boston and Austin, and now Covent Garden, we’re glad to be a part of the family – until February at least.