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Beyond London: The UK Gets Glossier with SpaceNK Partnership

Published May 8, 2024
Published May 8, 2024
Phoebe Magliocco

Expanding into a retailer can have uncertainties and risks for a DTC brand. When unicorn DTC Glossier stepped out into the wider world and formed a retail partnership with Sephora in 2023, many speculated how successful the relationship would be, questioning if an amplified retail strategy would jeopardize Glossier's exclusive, tight-knit community feel.

Despite these opinions, such a decision became arguably one of the best Glossier may have ever made. Within just six months of the partnership's debut year, industry sources predicted that Glossier's more traditional retail strategy had made them near $100 million in sales and contributed to a 73% year-over-year brand growth. Customer reactions were exceedingly positive, and within the first year, Glossier's debut fragrance, You, became the highest-selling fragrance among a plethora of prestigious names at Sephora. The partnership, which initially began in 600 stores across the US and Canada, expanded to international Sephora stores in the latter end of 2023, including Sephora's only two UK stores in London.

Hoping to reach an even wider audience, Glossier has announced a second retail partnership, this time with Sephora competitor SpaceNK. The BeautyMatter Future50 brand is preparing to make a positive wave across the UK, expanding to over 48 SpaceNK stores across England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland on June 8.

The expansion will allow consumers from all corners of the UK to experience Glossier, something that many have been calling for. Previously, the only way to shop in-store was in London, either at the brand Covent Garden flagship store or Sephora. "People in the UK know Glossier through social media, but so many customers in our regional locations haven't had the chance to try the brand before they buy it. We are eager to get the product into people's hands, and bring an exciting twist on Glossier in store and online," said Suze College, Head of Makeup at SpaceNK.

College, who described Glossier's launch in 2014 as "one of the most iconic moments in beauty in the last decade," believes that the brand has a strong potential to become a top seller at SpaceNK, joining Rare Beauty and Charlotte Tilbury. The Head of Makeup explained that 55% of SpaceNK's overall sales are in-store, with this figure rising to 61% for makeup sales and 59% for fragrance, setting a solid foundation for Glossier to begin its distribution through the retailer.

Kyle Leahy, CEO of Glossier, emphasized that growing the brand's retail presence outside of London is "a key goal as [Glossier] strives to meet UK customers where they are." The brand will be stocked in university-focused cities, including Bristol and Nottingham, reaching its target audience, which is now predominantly Gen Z after beginning as a Millennial-focused brand.

News of the partnership comes at a busy time for SpaceNK. The retailer, which has had a 30% sales growth for three consecutive years, growing two and a half times faster than the UK prestige beauty market, is set to add seven more stores to its current 74 across the UK—including two stores in Manchester where the demand for beauty retailers is rising. SpaceNK is also currently in talks of a sale after owner Manzanita Capital took on Morgan Stanley to consider its options and Raymond James as its banker.

The retailer has already begun to train its workers on all things Glossier and is planning undisclosed "unique product immersions" for customers. Partnering with SpaceNK allows Glossier to engage with its existing customer base and new markets, amplifying brand visibility and driving product demand. By leveraging the reach and resources of SpaceNK's channels, Glossier will continue to capitalize on additional sales avenues as it has at Sephora while continuing to cultivate its unique brand identity and community-centric approach.


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