With $80 million of fresh capital in the coffer, Glossier begins its brick-and-mortar push with a permanent store in Seattle after deciding to shutter its locations in March of 2020 due to the pandemic. This location will be followed by a Los Angeles outpost in fall and London in winter.
While Seattle may not be the first city that comes to mind when doing a retail rollout, Glossier tested the water in 2019 when it teamed up with landscape designer Studio Lily Kwong on a 1,100-square-foot pop-up in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The location reportedly had the highest conversion of the brand's physical locations at more than 70% compared to an average of 60% for other pop-ups and 50% for its permanent locations.
The brand's new retail strategy plays off the success of the pop-up, making Capitol Hill the home of Glossier's first permanent store. The 6,200-square-foot location marks its return to physical retail with one of its largest locations to date. The storefront is iconic Glossier, from the signature pink exterior to the "You Look Good" welcome on the floor at the entrance, while the interior represents the company's community-first approach, embodying a juxtaposition of nature and technology that is representative of Seattle.
Designed by Glossier's in-house creative team, the store celebrates the city's natural landscapes and innovative technology with futuristic, yet industrial elements. It features rolling moss hills, massive boulders, and floral and mushroom details throughout the terrarium-like space.
In 2019, over a million consumers visited Glossier retail locations, often waiting in lines that wrapped around buildings. However, pre-pandemic, 80% of revenue was still generated online. Despite closing all retail locations early in the pandemic, the company continued to grow in 2020, increasing year-over-year sales across all product categories.
When Glossier launched as a digitally native beauty company, we were an anomaly in our industry, which has been slow to innovate beyond brick and mortar," Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of Glossier, said in a statement related to the Series E funding round. "Now, nearly seven years into Glossier's journey, our strategy and the expectations of beauty consumers everywhere are aligned: beauty discovery increasingly begins online as people look for inspiration from friends and strangers alike, and customers want to move fluidly between immersive and personalized e-commerce and retail experiences. This is the future we've always been building for.
Glossier is setting the bar for post-pandemic beauty retail, meeting consumers' pent-up demand for offline experiences with a localized, immersive design.
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